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Sunday, February 26, 2012
Dalglish hungry for more

Kenny Dalglish celebrated the end of Liverpool's six-year trophy drought and stated his intention for it to be the start of another glorious era for the club.

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• Gerrard left with mixed feelings

Less than 14 months after Dalglish answered the SOS call of owner John Henry, he guided Liverpool to a Carling Cup triumph over Cardiff at Wembley.

That they had to come from behind before drawing 2-2 and then survive the shock of failing to convert their first two penalties in a shootout that saw them squeeze home 3-2 matters little. Silverware is back on the sideboard and Dalglish intends it to remain there.

"Although we have won something today, that is not us finished," he said. "We don't want to stop here - we want to keep going. It (Liverpool) means an awful lot to a lot of people.

"All we do is try to make them as happy as we possibly can. Today we have been able to do that. Hopefully it makes up for some of the days when we have not been able to."

After Martin Skrtel had levelled Joe Mason's surprise opener, Dirk Kuyt thought he had won it in extra-time, only for Cardiff to bravely rally as Ben Turner took the contest to penalties.

Steven Gerrard was amongst those to miss but the fact his cousin Anthony failed at the at the last to give Liverpool the cup made it a bitter-sweet occasion for the Reds skipper.

"The game had to be settled some way and we feel for Anthony Gerrard, who missed the vital one that meant we won the trophy," Dalglish said. "We are delighted to have won the trophy. Throughout the whole competition, we have deserved it. We have played well and come through some really hard games."

Dalglish refused to take personal credit for the transformation in Liverpool's fortunes since he replaced Roy Hodgson and, whilst he accepted the euphoria at winning a trophy could inspire his players to more, the Scot insists nothing will be achieved without a strong team ethic.

"I don't think anyone who has ever won a trophy has come away from it saying they didn't enjoy it," he said. "If you do something and you enjoy it, you are going to want more of it. It is logical. The idea six years ago was not to go six years without winning a trophy.

"We are where we are now because of the work everyone has done, not just me. The owners, the supporters, the players, everyone has chipped in. We have said that all along. The closer we are, the stronger we will be together."

Cardiff manager Malky Mackay refused to dwell on the bleak outcome. Instead he heaped praise on his own players for the defiant manner of their display.

"The boys are disappointed but they have lost with dignity," he said. "We had belief we could win this game and to take one of the top teams in England to penalties makes me very proud of that group of players."

Mackay reflected on the moment two minutes from the end of the game when Kenny Miller turned to shoot inside the Liverpool box but missed as the point when he thought the cup was won. Instead, Cardiff had to drag themselves through an additional half hour, and the mentally draining pressure of penalties, and now must pick themselves up for a Championship promotion fight.

Whilst it would be tempting to suggest Cardiff's hopes may suffer as a direct result of their disappointment at Wembley, Mackay does not feel that is a fair assessment.

"Maybe if we had been beaten five or six, the question would have been valid," he said. "As it is, I don't think it is. We can take a lot of self-belief from getting to the final of a 92-club competition and taking a team at the top of the Premier League to penalties.

"We have 14 games to go and we are among 10 teams who can get into those play-off positions. We will patch up our squad and give it the best shot we have got from now until the end of the season."




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