Liverpool won the 2012 Carling Cup after a 3-2 penalty shoot-out win over Cardiff City at Wembley with Anthony Gerrard’s penalty miss proving decisive.
The victory ended Liverpool’s six-year spell without a trophy as Kenny Dalglish’s men lifted the season’s first major piece of silverware.
Cast your minds back to one year ago; the exact same stadium in the exact same competition. With extra-time just seconds away, Birmingham City goalkeeper Ben Foster made a routine punt upfield which the Arsenal defence comically fail to deal with.
Substitute Obafemi Martins could hardly believe his luck as he steered the ball into an empty net to grab the winner for Birmingham as Arsene Wenger’s team of chokers blew the chance to win their first cup since the 2005 FA Cup final.
The Gunners would then subsequently go on to crash out of the UEFA Champions League, the FA Cup all within weeks of their Carling Cup heartache, before collapsing miserably in the Premier League as they limped home to fourth place.
The catalyst? You got it, that cup defeat when victory seemed ‘inevitable’. Liverpool could have found themselves in the exact same position – albeit minus the European football – but still, in a catatonic state nevertheless should, for example, Kenny Miller have put away that chance at the death or the lottery that is penalties been kinder to the Bluebirds.
Much of football is psychological in nature and with the margins between success and failure ever dwindling, Liverpool’s win, or better put, Anthony Gerrard’s miss, may, in one dramatic Sunday afternoon, turned around the future fortunes of coach Kenny Dalglish upon his second return to his spiritual home.
Gone is the proverbial ‘monkey on the back’, happy is the feeling that the Merseyside outfit once again are lifting silverware, and determined will be ‘King Kenny’s’ resolve to win more.
With FA Cup success also very achievable and a place in the top four firmly in sight, Sunday’s Carling Cup win over a dogged Cardiff City side might just be the extra boost the Reds need to make Dalglish’s second season at the helm a dream one.
The situation his men find themselves in is similar to that of Manchester United in 2006 when after two potless seasons, Sir Alex Ferguson guided United to Carling Cup success as they dismantled Wigan 4-0 ironically enough in Cardiff.
Having tasted victory that afternoon, the desire for cups grew within the United dressing room and the Premier League title made its way to Old Trafford some 12 months later.
The question now is whether or not a similar outcome will occur this time around with the Red Devils’ great North-West rivals after their latest cup triumph.
Not impossible mind you. So with the League Cup bagged up, how does the FA Cup and fourth place to boot sound to all the Liverpudlians out there?