Can dramatic cup success revive Liverpool’s fortunes?


Story highlights

Kenny Dalglish says Liverpool's League Cup win can be a springboard for more trophies

Liverpool beat second division Cardiff City on penalties in Sunday's Wembley final

The dramatic win clinched Liverpool's first trophy since the 2006 FA Cup

It is the first success for the club's American owners, who took over in October 2010

CNN —  

Manager Kenny Dalglish is determined to use Liverpool’s first trophy win in six years as a catalyst for future success, following Sunday’s dramatic penalty shootout win in the English League Cup final.

The Scot, who is known as “King Kenny” by the club’s fans after a title-laden career as both player and manager, has had a difficult time since returning to Anfield for a second stint as boss in January 2011.

Mixed results on the pitch and controversy off it – with the long-running Luis Suarez race row saga casting a shadow over the club’s reputation – have meant big challenges for the man guiding one of England’s most successful teams.

Liverpool failed to qualify for any European competition this season, and could have faced a similar prospect in 2012-13 if Sunday’s match against second division Cardiff City had ended in defeat.

However, the club’s fans were celebrating after the 18-time English champions clinched their first silverware since winning the FA Cup in 2006. It was also the first success for Liverpool’s American owners, the Fenway Sports Group, who took over in October 2010.

The Wembley match finished 2-2 after extra-time, but a penalty miss from Cardiff’s Anthony Gerrard – cousin of Liverpool captain Steven – gave the five-time European champions an eighth success in the competition.

“Our people are absolutely delighted with their first trophy in six years, so it’s been a very good day for us,” the Scot told reporters. “We’ll just continue to work hard and see where it takes us.

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“Although we’ve won something today, that’s not us finished. We don’t want to stop here – we want to keep going. The best chance we have of doing that is to continue to do what we do best, and that’s to stick together.”

Dalglish was previously Liverpool manager between 1985 and 1991, guiding the club to three league titles and two English FA Cup wins.

The 60-year-old now wants to prevent another long wait for silverware.

“The idea six years ago was not to go six years without winning a trophy! We’ve won it, we’re going to really enjoy it and we know how much they (the fans) have really enjoyed it. It gives you a flavor to come back and do it again,” he said.

“The only reason we’re here is because every member of the squad has contributed to winning this trophy. If we all stick together and everybody makes a contribution, we give ourselves a better chance of success.

“We got here because we worked really hard to get here and because the players are good players.”

Liverpool are battling to qualify for next season’s European Champions League, a competition they have won most recently under Spanish manager Rafael Benitez in 2005.

The seventh-placed Reds are seven points off England’s fourth and final qualification place, held by Arsenal, but can reduce that deficit by beating the London side on Saturday following the midweek friendly internationals.

Liverpool could yet claim a second trophy this season, with the club facing an FA Cup quarterfinal tie against Stoke City on March 18. Victory would earn a return to Wembley, with both semis to be played at the national stadium.

“We’ll go back to work after the internationals and see if we can kick on from here,” Dalglish said.

“I don’t think anybody who has won a trophy has ever come away from it and said, ‘I never enjoyed that.’ If you get something you enjoy, you’re going to want more of it.”