Liverpool win Carling Cup after gripping penalty shootout

Cardiff 2 Liverpool 2 (after extra-time, Liverpool win 3-2 on penalties)

Liverpool's six-year wait for a trophy was ended by a Gerrard but it was Cardiff's Anthony, cousin of Reds captain Steven, who had the decisive involvement.

The 26-year-old, on as a substitute in extra time, missed the penalty in a shoot-out which gave the Merseysiders' a record eighth League Cup.

It was cruel not only on the defender - who was consoled by his cousin at the end - but the rest of his team who had seen their early lead overtaken but remained resilient and found the strength to snatch an equaliser with two minutes of an absorbing final remaining.

Joe Mason had given the Bluebirds a first-half lead but goals from Martin Skrtel and, in extra time, Dirk Kuyt had put Kenny Dalglish's side within touching distance of the trophy before Ben Turner pegged them back.

So it went to spot-kicks, where Liverpool had lost only two in 12 previously, and although the early efforts were poor, Glen Johnson scored the fifth and Gerrard missed.

 

Their first visit to Wembley in 16 years was eventually worth the wait and the hope at Anfield, and among fans, will be that this cup will be the start of another era filled with silverware.

Over the last 40 years the Reds have won a trophy early in the decade and gone on to add to it.

In Dalglish they certainly have someone who knows plenty about accumulating cups of every kind and this victory put him alongside Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho as the only managers to win all three major domestic competitions.

They also equalled Manchester United's record of 15 domestic cup wins.

Things looked like they would go to plan for Dalglish's side when the Cardiff crossbar was rattled inside two minutes.

Steven Gerrard raced 60 yards on a quick counter-attack but Johnson's shot which beat goalkeeper Tom Heaton and came back off the crossbar, with Gerrard blazing over the rebound, was the closest they came to threatening Cardiff's goal in the first half.

The Bluebirds created two better chances and, crucially, converted one.

Having snatched at a shot from Don Cowie's clever movement and backheel Kenny Miller did not make the same mistake twice.

The former Rangers front man was afforded all the time and space he required in the 19th minute when he picked up the ball just outside the area.

When Daniel Agger eventually closed him down Miller slid a pass into the space behind the centre-back where Mason collected and fired beyond Jose Reina.

The rest of the half saw Liverpool dominate but rarely trouble Cardiff.

Stewart Downing was their most creative outlet with a succession of crosses from the left but the Bluebirds dealt with them well enough, relying on Liverpool's over-complication and profligacy.

Charlie Adam flashed a low drive narrowly wide of Heaton's left-hand post while late in the half Andy Carroll was denied a clear close-range shooting opportunity when Cardiff captain Mark Hudson's outstretched leg hooked the ball away.

Liverpool fans tried to evoke memories of their second-half comeback in Istanbul in the 2005 Champions League final with a rendition of You'll Never Walk Alone at the break.

The situation was not quite as dire as that night but certainly Dalglish's side needed to find more composure and their clinical side.

Luis Suarez was starting to have more of an influence and drew the first real save from Heaton with an angled shot and was denied by Kevin McNaughton's perfectly-timed intervention just as he was about to unload from close range.

The appearance of former Cardiff striker and boyhood fan Craig Bellamy for the ineffectual Jordan Henderson brought, probably for the first time in cup final history, a standing ovation from both sets of fans.

Liverpool's salvation, however, was to come from an unexpected source.

Downing's 60th-minute corner was nodded on by Carroll to Suarez whose header came back off the post and Skrtel showed the composure in front of goal unbefitting a centre-back by taking a touch and slamming home the equaliser.

Turner had a chance to be Cardiff's hero with six minutes to go but planted his far-post header into the side-netting.

Miller should have won it for the Bluebirds in normal time when a quickly-taken free-kick caught the defence napping but the Scot, in acres of space in the penalty area, shot over with the goal at his mercy.

Barely a minute into extra time Andrew Taylor cleared Suarez's header from a Bellamy corner off the line before Anthony Gerrard finally got the chance to square-up against his more illustrious cousin when Hudson was forced off with cramp.

Three minutes into the second period of extra time Liverpool took the lead when Kuyt drilled home the rebound from his own cross.

The Dutchman then headed a shot off the line but got himself in a tangle at the resulting corner to allow Turner to force penalties.

In the shoot-out which followed Steven Gerrard and Adam missed for Liverpool, Miller, Rudy Gestede and Anthony Gerrard for Cardiff.

PA

News
Denny Miller in 1959 remake of Tarzan, the Ape Man
people
Arts and Entertainment
Cheryl despairs during the arena auditions
tvX Factor review: Drama as Cheryl and Simon spar over girl band

News
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
news
News
i100Exclusive interview with the British analyst who helped expose Bashar al-Assad's use of Sarin gas
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Angel Di Maria celebrates his first goal for Manchester United against QPR
Football4-0 victory is team's first win under new manager Louis van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
art
News
newsIn short, yes
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script
tv'Thomas comes right up to the abyss', says the actor
Arts and Entertainment
Calvin Harris claimed the top spot in this week's single charts
music
Sport
BoxingVideo: The incident happened in the very same ring as Tyson-Holyfield II 17 years ago
News
Groundskeeper Willie has backed Scottish independence in a new video
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor poses the question of whether we are every truly alone in 'Listen'
tvReview: Possibly Steven Moffat's most terrifying episode to date
News
i100
Life and Style
Cara Delevigne at the TopShop Unique show during London Fashion Week
fashion
News
The life-sized tribute to Amy Winehouse was designed by Scott Eaton and was erected at the Stables Market in Camden
peopleBut quite what the singer would have made of her new statue...
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week
The fall of Rome? Cash-strapped Italy accused of selling its soul to the highest bidder

The fall of Rome?

Italy's fears that corporate-sponsored restoration projects will lead to the Disneyfication of its cultural heritage
Glasgow girl made good

Glasgow girl made good

Kelly Macdonald was a waitress when she made Trainspotting. Now she’s taking Manhattan
Sequins ahoy as Strictly Come Dancing takes to the floor once more

Sequins ahoy as Strictly takes to the floor once more

Judy Murray, Frankie Bridge and co paired with dance partners
Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Alexander Wang pumps it up at New York Fashion Week
The landscape of my imagination

The landscape of my imagination

Author Kate Mosse on the place that taught her to tell stories