Liverpool claim Carling Cup triumph

PA Sport
Steven Gerrard (centre) and Anthony Gerrard (right)
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Steven Gerrard (centre) and Anthony Gerrard (right)

Cardiff's Anthony Gerrard, cousin of Liverpool captain Steven, missed the crucial penalty as the Reds won the Carling Cup final shoot-out 3-2 to lift their first trophy for six years after the score was drawn at 2-2 after extra time.

Dirk Kuyt thought he had won it for the Merseysiders in the 108th minute as he followed Martin Skrtel's goal on the hour as they came from behind to lead but Ben Turner forced penalties with just two minutes remaining after Joe Mason had opened the scoring in the first half.

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

Steven Gerrard and Glen Johnson came closest to threatening Cardiff's goal in the first half, while the Bluebirds created two better chances and, crucially, converted one.

Having snatched at a shot from Don Cowie's clever movement and backheel, 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 appearance after 58 minutes 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. Stewart Downing's 60th-minute corner was nodded on by Andy Carroll to Luis 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.

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, penalties were scored by Kuyt, Dowing and Johnson for Liverpool, Cowie and Peter Whittingham for Cardiff.

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