Craig Bellamy advanced his case for winning the coveted "Signing of the Season" award Wednesday. The Liverpool winger delivered another top performance, scoring the deciding goal in Liverpool's Carling Cup semifinal triumph over Manchester City.
The veteran attacker was showered with praise by fans, teammates and coaches during the celebrations following the game. His name appears on the scorers' list, but that was only part of the enormous impact he had on the result.
He manned the right side of LFC's attack and caused City problems with his speed, movement and overall attacking menace. Whenever the visitors pushed forward and looked to be assuming control of the game, it was his presence and ability that swung the momentum back in the Reds' favor.
But the goal he scored in the 74th minute will make all the highlight shows, as the Welsh wizard finished off one of Liverpool's best team moves of the season.
Dirk Kuyt passed to the marauding Glen Johnson on the right side of the City area. The LFC fullback played a quick one-two with Bellamy that opened space for Bellamy to shoot. He cooly slotted his shot under the outstanding goalkeeper Joe Hart.
The goal put Liverpool up 3-2 on aggregate, and LFC held on to finish the job at Anfield.
"Bellars" only joined Liverpool (for the second time) from City in August. He switched clubs on a free transfer, and stood out in a game that included hundreds of millions of pounds worth of talent.
LFC manager Kenny Dalglish joked about his good fortune in bringing the 32-year-old Bellamy back to the club he supported as a boy. City had been looking to offload him for some time when Liverpool took Bellamy off its hands.
"He was unbelievable," Dalglish told Sky Sports. "If Man City have anyone else like Craig that they don't want to keep, they know where we are.
"He's been like that since he came in the door and it is fantastic to have him here."
Club captain Steve Gerrard said it was Bellamy that tipped the balance of play in LFC's favor.
"Craig was the difference," Gerrard told Sky Sports. "His pace was always a threat and we know that if a chance falls to him he can finish. It's a big thanks to him."
In an era where players switch teams in multi-million dollar deals, it was the shrewd addition of a City castoff that has put Liverpool within arms' reach of its first honors in nearly six years.
Review all the action from Wednesday's game in our Liverpool Live Blog.
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