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Penalty Kicks: Anthony Gerrard misses, and LFC has won the Carling Cup.
Penalty Kicks: Johnson scores.
Penalty Kicks: Cardiff ties the score at 2-2.
Penalty Kicks: Downing buries his kick. The goalkeeper dove the wrong way.
Penalty Kicks: Gestede hits the post and the shoot-out is tied.
Penalty Kicks: Kuyt scores low and to the left.
Penalty Kicks: Cowie scores to give Cardiff the 1-0 lead.
Penalty Kicks: Adam misses his kick high and wide.
Penalty Kicks: Miller drove his spot-kick off the post.
Penalty Kicks: Gerrard took the first penalty, and Heaton dove to his right and saved.
End of extra time: Now comes the penalty shoot-out. It’s a matter of nerves and character at this point.
Cardiff has won two of these en-route to the final.
120th minute, 2-2: The Reds are applying all the pressure, but they cannot break down the Cardiff City wall.
This game is headed to penalty kicks to decide the winner.
119th minute, 2-2: Turner has just tied the game for Cardiff City.
It came off a corner kick that was headed to the far post. It fell to Turner, who was jostling with Kuyt.
Kuyt fell and Turner was able to slot his shot past Reina to send Cardiff fans into hysteria.
114th minute, 2-1 Liverpool: Players on both sides are spent, but the task is not complete.
LFC has bunkered in since the goal, and done a professional job of repelling everything Cardiff throws their way.
108th minute, 2-1 Liverpool: Dirk Kuyt scores, and the Reds are close to lifting the cup.
He drove up the field toward the area, sliced his initial shot, but it came back to him after a mis-hit clearance.
Kuyt was falling over as he hit the rebound, but he generated enough power to fire it past Heaton at the near post.
107th minute, 1-1: Gerrard sent Kuyt down the right, and the Dutchman sheded his marker.
His cross got all the way to Suarez, but the LFC striker wasn’t able to get his shot off before the defenders converged on him.
106th minute, 1-1: McNaughton leaves the game, and Blake takes his place.
It’s Cardiff’s third, and final, substitution.
105th minute +1, 1-1: Johnson gets back into the attacking act, with a low shot that whistles wide.
105th minute, 1-1: Bellamy and Kuyt combine in the area — though they were 15 yards apart. The Welshman drives his shot too hard, and it flies over the bar.
103rd minute, 1-1: Carroll heads LFC’s umpteenth corner of the game just wide of the top corner.
It’s his last bit of action on the day, as Kuyt replaces him.
98th minute, 1-1: Anthony Gerrard is coming on for Hudson, who was a titan in the defense for Cardiff in this final.
Gerrard is the younger cousin of the LFC captain.
98th minute, 1-1: Bellamy was fouled from behind by Kiss, and grabbed the young midfielder by the collar.
91st minute, 1-1: Suarez is trying to single-handedly deliver the cup to LFC.
He had a shot from distance saved by Heaton. His header off the ensuing corner was cleared off the line by Taylor.
End of regular time: The Carling Cup final is headed for 30 minutes of extra time.
92nd minute, 1-1: Gerrard fires his shot high after Johnson set him up at the arc.
It would have been a story-book ending for Gerrard, but it was not to be.
88th minute, 1-1: Miller found space in the LFC area, and nearly won the game on his own.
But he got too excited and blasted his shot over the bar. Credit goes to Carroll for reacting first and applying the pressure to the veteran striker.
Miller hurried his shot and the game remains tied.
87th minute, 1-1: Carragher has come into the game for Agger.
The Danish defender was wincing and grimacing as he ran off the field.
85th minute, 1-1: Adam tests Heaton at the other end, after Suarez found the LFC midfielder at the top of the area.
83rd minute, 1-1: Turner’s header nearly gives Cardiff the winner, but it looks like it took a deflection off Enrique.
78th minute, 1-1: Downing cuts in from the right and drives a left-footed shot on goal.
Heaton dives to his left and makes the save.
76th minute, 1-1: We’ve reached a pivotal point in this final, as the game is tied and facing the prospect of extra time.
Dalglish can make two substitutions, while Cardiff can make three.
It seems both managers are waiting to make any changes, so they can react to situations on the fly.
74th minute, 1-1: The Reds have maintained their possession advantage, and just won their 10th corner kick of the game.
Skrtel struck a volley from the ensuing delivery, but the goalkeeper made a comfortable save.
68th minute, 1-1: Liverpool continues to mount waves of attacks in search of the go-ahead goal.
Suarez has come to life in the scond half. The LFC talisman is taking on defenders and causing havoc in the Cardiff area. However, that final ball hasn’t found a teammate in a scoring position.
60th minute, 1-1: Skrtel has tied the game, and brought the travelling LFC supporters some joy.
Downing’s corner kick found Carroll’s head on the six yard line. The big man headed it toward goal, but Suarez (who was standing closer to the goal) intervened and headed it off the post.
Skrtel was there to to pounce on the rebound and slot it through a forest of legs into the back of the net.
60th minute, 1-0 Cardiff City: Bellamy has taken up a wide position on the left, and Downing has moved over to the right.
58th minute, 1-0 Cardiff City: Bellamy comes on for Henderson, and is greeted by warm applause from both sets of fans.
Cardiff fans then boo him when he takes his first touch. All is fair in love, war and soccer.
57th minute, 1-0 Cardiff City: The second half has been an end-to-end action up to this point.
But neither team has been able to fashion a clear-cut chance.
52nd minute, 1-0 Cardiff City: Henderson is cautioned for a rash challenge on the goal scorer, Mason.
50th minute, 1-0 Cardiff City: Suarez pounces on a loose ball in the Cardiff area, and tests the goalkeeper from wide.
Carroll wasn’t there to pounce on the rebound and the Bluebirds clear the danger.
49th minute, 1-0 Cardiff City: Adam committed a foul in the midfield a minute ago, and Cardiff has LFC under a bit of siege.
It only stops when Miller fires his shot wide, but three or four aborted clearances created the opportunity for Cardiff.
Halftime 1-0 Cardiff City: The whistle has blown, and the Reds trail at the end of the first half.
Despite dominating play, the Reds head to the locker room with a lead to overturn.
Their approach has been good enough, but their concentration let them down in that one moment when Miller found Mason.
Dalglish may want to add a bit of sparkle to his attack in the form of Bellamy. The LFC attacker said the final was a dream come true for him. Who better than to fulfill those of Liverpool fans?
44th minute, 1-0 Cardiff City: Agger heads Gerrard’s free-kick, but it goes straight at Heaton.
No need for Cardiff to worry. Skrtel was offside and the goal would not have counted.
39th minute, 1-0 Cardiff City: The Reds keep creating chances, this time it’s Gerrard.
Downing, who has been so effective down the left, turned his man inside out and delivered a low cross into the area.
Henderson whiffed on the kick, and the trailing LFC captain blasted it over the bar.
37th minute, 1-0 Cardiff City: After 35 minutes, LFC desperately needs Suarez to emerge from the surrounding pack of Cardiff defenders.
The Uruguayan has found so little space in the final third, it’s been hard for him to make an impact.
Carroll is often the most advanced LFC attacker, and Suarez is playing underneath him.
32nd minute, 1-0 Cardiff City: There were shouts for a hand-ball in the Cardiff area, but the referee ignores the shouts of LFC players. Taylor was the culprit.
29th minute, 1-0 Cardiff City: LFC’s pre-halftime response will tell loads about the character of the team. If it can maintain its composure, and keep applying the pressure LFC fans should remain confident.
The longer Cardiff can hold the lead, their belief will keep growing. In a one-off game like this, a team’s edge in self-confidence can cancel out an opponents advantage in quality.
25th minute, 1-0 Cardiff City: Talk about a dramatic twist that this game just took. The goal will surely fill Cardiff with the belief that it can pull off the greatest shock in this competition since … last year.
The Reds must maintain their composure and stick to the game plan, as there is plenty of soccer left to play.
22nd minute, 1-0 Cardiff City: That goal was the very definition of one scored “against the run of play.”
Cardiff hadn’t had a passing sequence of more than three passes all game, but finally manage to do so near the LFC area. The Liverpool defense wasn’t moving as a unit, and it was punished.
It was Miller’s perfectly weighted through-pass that opened set up Mason.
19th minute, 1-0 Cardiff City: Mason gives the Bluebirds the unlikeliest of leads.
He beat the LFC offside trap, and slotted it between the legs of an advancing Reina.
14th minute, 0-0: LFC has taken a steady and patient approach to its build-up play.
The team is working its way up the field, but Cardiff is sitting deep in its own end, and looking to hit the Reds on a direct counter-attack.
11th minute, 0-0: Miller found some space in the LFC area, but couldn’t direct his shot on target.
Third minute, 0-0: It’s so important for LFC to take control early of the match. Johnson’s strike made it known that the Reds will be pushing forward against their Championship opponents.
Second minute, 0-0: Johnson almost tears the roof off of Wembley with a curling drive that rattles the crossbar.
Pregame: The moment has arrived and the teams are set and on the field.
Carroll, Gerrard and Suarez are starting together, and the Reds will look to their “iconic” trio to put the Bluebirds under pressure early.
10:30 a.m.: Here are the lineups:
Pepe Reina (25), goalkeeper
Glen Johnson (2), right back
Martin Skrtel (37), center back
Daniel Agger (5), center back
Jose Enrique (3), left back
Charlie Adam (26), midfielder
Jordan Henderson (14), midfielder
Steve Gerrard (8), midfielder
Stuart Downing (19), midfielder
Luis Suarez (7), forward
Andy Carroll (9), striker
Doni (32), goalkeeper
Jamie Carragher (23), defender
Martin Kelly (34), defender
Jay Spearing (20), midfielder
Maxi (11), forward
Craig Bellamy (39), forward
Dirk Kuyt (18), forward
Tom Heaton (22), goalkeeper
Kevin McNaughton (2), right back
Marc Hudson (5), center back
Ben Turner (25), center back
Andrew Taylor (3), left back
Don Cowie (8), midfielder
Peter Wittingham (7), midfielder
Aron Gunnarsson (17), midfielder
Joe Mason (20), forward
Rudy Gestede (15), forward
Kenny Miller (9), striker
David Marshall (1), goalkeeper
Anthony Gerrard (6), defender
Lee Naylor (18), defender
Filip Kiss (4), midfielder
Darcy Blake (23), midfielder
Craig Conway (11), midfielder
Robert Earnshaw (10), striker
12 a.m. ET: Liverpool FC can lift the 2011-12 season’s first major trophy on Sunday. The Reds take on Cardiff City in the Carling Cup final at Wembley Stadium.
Kenny Dalglish took over as LFC manager less than 14 months ago. The club legend has guided the Reds to a cup final in his first opportunity. It’s a clear marker of how far Liverpool has progressed under his leadership. But the journey will be bittersweet if the Reds don’t defeat Cardiff.
The Cardiff City Bluebirds have made the unlikely run to Wembley. The Championship (second division) club looks to upset its heavily favored opponent to complete a fairytale of its own. Veterans Kenny Miller and Peter Wittingham have provided the scoring punch for much of the season, and will be the focal points of the attack.
Liverpool has approached the tournament (and its preparations for the final) with the utmost respect. Dalglish has fielded strong squads throughout, and Sunday will be no different. Luis Suarez, Steve Gerrard and Andy Carroll could spearhead the attack. Cardiff native and one-time Bluebird Craig Bellamy should play a major role in the outcome.
The Reds are one step away from winning their first trophy since 2006.
Join us right here at 11 a.m. ET for all the action from the Carling Cup final.
Photo via LiverpoolFC.tv
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