Kenny Dalglish declared that Liverpool’s League Cup triumph can be the catalyst for a successful new era.
Dalglish expressed his delight at ending the club’s six-year trophy drought and is hopeful that the team can now 'kick on' from winning the 41st major trophy in Liverpool’s history.
“I’m absolutely delighted at our first trophy in six years,” said Dalglish in his post-match press conference. “It was a very good day for us and we will continue to work hard and go for trophies.
“We didn't think six years ago that it would take this long to win our next trophy. We have won it, we will really enjoy it and it will give us a flavour to come back and do it again.
“We will go back to work after the internationals and see if we can kick on from here. I think this will inspire the players. I don't think anyone has ever won a trophy at Wembley, the Millennium [Stadium] or Europe and not come away without enjoying it. It must give you a taste for more. That doesn't mean to say it's going to happen but it can have an impact. If you enjoy it you want more of it.”
Amid emotional scenes at Wembley, Liverpool beat Championship side Cardiff City 3-2 in a penalty shoot-out after a thrilling game finished 2-2 at the end of extra time.
The manager said: “Throughout the whole competition we have deserved the trophy. We have come through some hard games and today we have won a hard game.
“It was a difficult game for us. Cardiff represented the football club extremely well. They tried everything. Even in extra-time they were very tired but dug down deep enough to get an equaliser.”
Dalglish was keen to how emphasise how the club’s first silverware since their FA Cup triumph over West Ham United in 2006 was a reward for taking the competition seriously from the early rounds and making use of the entire squad.
“Right from the beginning of the competition at Exeter we said we were going to treat the competition with respect,” he said.
“Every member of the squad has contributed to win this trophy. Every member of the squad apart from Fabio [Aurelio] had a game. We have a strong squad. We have got here because the players are good players. We will stick together and work hard to continue this.
Liverpool’s shoot-out victory was clinched when Cardiff substitute Anthony Gerrard – the cousin of Anfield captain Steven Gerrard – shot wide with Cardiff’s fifth and final spot-kick. Earlier, he had failed to clear Dirk Kuyt’s initial shot before the Dutchman put Liverpool 2-1 up.
Dalgish said: “We feel for Anthony Gerrard, who missed a penalty that could have won a trophy. Every footballer feels for that.”
The Liverpool boss, who revealed afterwards that Daniel Agger was substituted with a suspected broken rib, was delighted that Stewart Downing won the official man-of-the-match award although he did not feel the midfielder was the only Liverpool candidate.
“I think we were spoilt for choice,” he said. “It was great to see Stewart coming in and getting a bit of recognition for his performance.
“The most important thing was we won the game. We don’t need to sit here and go through every individual performance.”