Liverpool Set For Wembley After 16 Year Wait


Get In Bellers!...
Liverpool booked their place in the League Cup final at Wembley on Wednesday night after beating Manchester City 3-2 on aggregate. It was a fantastic tie for the neutral as City took the lead twice at a boisterous Anfield but the home side were the better team over the two legs and Craig Bellamy's 73rd minute goal made sure the Reds would be fighting for some silverware next month.

Liverpool haven't been to Wembley in 16 years, which is quite hard to believe considering the caliber of the side. Kenny Dalglish was visibly delighted after the final whistle, the teary eyed manager showed the world what it meant to him to be back managing Liverpool and helping them get back to winning trophies.

Dalglish chose not to start Andy Carroll but instead Dirk Kuyt up front. Craig Bellamy as expected though was more of a forward than a winger for this one, the Welshman wasn't expected to start due to his knee problem that usually prevents him from starting two games in a row but the Anfield faithful were delighted to see him.

Mancini had no Balotelli but didn't opt to start the troublesome Aguero to the shock of many. A shaken up defence too due to the missing Toure and Kompany was another bonus for Liverpool fans.

Liverpool started the match in great fashion, the possession stats said City were the ones with the majority of the ball but it was the Reds who were forcing Hart into save after save whilst Pepe Reina was left relatively jobless.

The first goal of the game was very much against the run of play. City managed to break but it wasn't Silva or Dzeko about to spoil the party, it was an off balance Nigel De Jong. His goal was sublime and left Reina with no chance. City had now levelled out the aggregate and were well and truly back in the game.

The fact also that away goals would count at the end of a possible extra time also boosted City's confidence. They certainly didn't deserve to be in the lead and i can't have been the only Liverpool fan at this stage thinking "it's going to be one of those days."

We had chances a plenty but we couldn't convert them, thankfully though this wasn't due to a lack of accuracy but due to another superb performance from Joe Hart.

Liverpool ideally needed a goal before half time and the chance came after Phil Dowd awarded the Reds a penalty.

Some are saying this was harsh, others that it wasn't a penalty at all, i personally think it was. Micah Richards slid in for the challenge, the ball deflects off his foot and hits his arm. I understand the point people are making about being unable to go to ground with your arms by your side but at the same time you don't need to wave them at head height and towards an oncoming shot. Split second to think or an hour, you should know as a defender in the box that arms that high are going to cause trouble.

It was Steven Gerrard once again who would step up to face Joe Hart, just like he did in the first leg. Gerrard is one of the most reliable penalty takers in football but it doesn't stop you from getting nervous does it?!

The number 8 confidently put the ball into the back of the net and Liverpool were now 2-1 up on aggregate.

At half time Mancini had realised what the majority of fans had noticed in the first leg; that Savic is terrible.

The defender literally looked frightened at oncoming Liverpool attacks, none more so than when Craig Bellamy was running rings around him. Savic was replaced with Aguero.

Just after the hour mark Man City got themselves back into the game. This time it wasn't as surprising because although Liverpool were still playing well, Man City were finding a small foothold and beginning to attack.

The close range goal from Edin Dzeko put City 2-1 up on the night and level on aggregate. For Liverpool fans the tension was unbearable. It's no secret that the Reds have been struggling to score of late and we needed a goal.

Thankfully we found one.

Craig Bellamy was nothing short of phenomenal on Wednesday night. For a 32 year old who apparently has constant worries about a dodgy knee, he was fantastic, exactly the type of performance you would wish to see from everyone in a Liverpool shirt.

The Welshman produced shot after shot all night and it just felt as though that goal wasn't going to come but being Craig Bellamy, he never gave up.

Dirk Kuyt i must point out was excellent in his efforts to get the ball through to Bellamy.

Craig kept immense composure to curl his effort into the back of the net and the Kop End went absolutely mental.

All Liverpool had to do now was hold on. At 2-2 and 3-2 on aggregate all City needed was another goal to send this to extra time.

To combat this Dalglish made use of his substitutions and brought on Kelly to shore things up even more so, Kenny's tactics over both legs were brilliant and by the final whistle it was clear how much it meant to him.

Liverpool are going to Wembley!!!

There are some fans pulling out the old "it's a mickey mouse cup" line and the fact that it's a nothing competition but when your club haven't been to Wembley in 16 years and you beat Chelsea and Manchester City to get there, how can you possibly maintain these views?

The feel good vibe will resonate throughout February but the Reds now must try to replicate their fantastic performance against City in the league and also they have the small matter of Manchester United in the FA Cup on Saturday...

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