Liverpool FC lifted the English League Cup for the eighth time in their history after overcoming Cardiff City AFC following extra time and penalties in a dramatic final at Wembley Stadium.
A courageous Cardiff side refused to give up and despite falling behind to a Dirk Kuyt strike with 12 minutes of extra time remaining after Martin Škrtel had cancelled out Joe Mason's opener, Ben Turner forced a penalty shoot-out with two minutes to go. Liverpool then squandered their first two spot kicks, but Anthony Gerrard’s errant attempt proved to be Cardiff's third miss and ensured there would be no fairy-tale ending for Malky Mackay's men.
Liverpool began well and were unfortunate not to take the lead in the second minute when Glen Johnson cut in from the right and sent a curling shot against the far post from 20 metres. Kenny Dalglish's charges continued to dominate without being incisive, but it was Cardiff who took the lead with a well-worked move against the run of play. Kenny Miller slid a pass into the area for Mason to rifle low past Pepe Reina.
Charlie Adam might have levelled soon afterwards with a drilled effort that flew just wide, but the Premier League outfit were fortunate not to be two down when Miller fired off-target following good approach play by Peter Whittingham. The Reds soon began to swarm forward, though, and were worthy of their equaliser when Luis Suárez glanced Andy Carroll's header onto the far post and Škrtel arrived first to fire in the loose ball.
Thereafter, both teams conjured chances in normal time, the best of which fell to Miller with three minutes left, only for the Scottish international to blaze over with just Reina to beat. Dirk Kuyt must have thought he had won the match when he scored from the edge of the area at the second attempt against a side struggling with cramp, but Cardiff provided the late drama when Turner prodded Whittingham's corner over the line from close range to take the contest to penalties.
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