Liverpool Club Focus – Reds make hard work of Cardiff as Dalglish eyes continued success

After 120 minutes of play and a tense penalty shootout, Liverpool secured their first piece of silverware since 2006 as they edged past a determined Cardiff City side in an incredible Carling Cup final. The Reds, who had been overwhelming favourites to claim the trophy, made life difficult for themselves throughout the encounter, but in the end it was Kenny Dalglish who was able to celebrate his first major success since returning to manage the Merseyside outfit just over a year ago.

That Liverpool could only manage a draw after 90 minutes seemed to tell the story of their season so far. More than a third of the Reds’ results in the league this term have been stalemates (9) – only Aston Villa have drawn on more occasions. One of the main reasons why Dalglish’s cup heroes have claimed just a point in so many fixtures this campaign has been because they have failed to finish off their chances. This was also the case at Wembley on Sunday.

According to BBC Sport, the Anfield outfit managed an incredible 39 shots against the Bluebirds, including 19 that were on target. While Cardiff defended very well throughout, many would have expected Liverpool to make the most of their several opportunities. In the end, they scored just two goals in as many hours.

However, for Reds’ fans, winning the Carling Cup will be the most important thing at this moment in time. Dalglish believes that Liverpool’s Wembley triumph will spur them on to more success in the future. He told the post-match press conference: “Although we’ve won something today, that’s not us finished. We don’t want to stop here – we want to keep going. The best chance we have of doing that is to continue to do what we do best, and that’s to stick together.” Dalglish added: “The idea six years ago was not to go six years without winning a trophy! We’ve won it, we’re going to really enjoy it and we know how much they (the fans) have really enjoyed it. It gives you a wee flavour to come back and do it again.”

One man who impressed for Liverpool was winger Stewart Downing. The costly summer signing, who has been the subject of much criticism for his performances so far this term, put in a number of terrific crosses during the clash and was named as man of the match for his display. Dalglish will be hoping for much of the same from the former Aston Villa star for the remainder of the season.

The Reds could return to Wembley very soon, if they beat Stoke City in the quarter final stage of the FA Cup. Meanwhile, the Anfield outfit are also fighting for a top-four finish in the Premier League. However, in order to succeed in either of those aims, the Merseysiders will have to start converting more of their chances. But for now, Liverpool can celebrate winning their first trophy in over five years.

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