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(Anthony) Gerrard's PK miss helps Liverpool claim Carling Cup

The shootout to decide the Carling Cup final began and ended with a Gerrard miss.

Clearly, the second Gerrard is not celebrating.

Steven Gerrard, the Liverpool legend, missed kick No. 1, but in the end he was able to lift a trophy high above his head and give the Reds their first title since 2006. It came, however, at the expense of his younger cousin, Cardiff City's Anthony Gerrard, who missed the deciding 10th kick that ended a thrilling affair Sunday at Wembley Stadium.

After 90 minutes of play produced a 1-1 draw, each team scored in the half-hour of extra time to set up a dramatic ending decided by 12 yards, 10 brave souls and a pair of guessing goalkeepers. The ensuing penalty shootout produced edge-of-your-couch drama to decide the winner of the Carling Cup -- English football's bronze, albeit shiny, medal of sorts.

Steven Gerrard and Charlie Adam missed the first two kicks for Liverpool, but Dirk Kuyt, Stewart Downing and Glen Johnson nailed the final three to give the Reds a chance. With Anthony Gerrard needing to convert Cardiff's fifth kick to extend the match, he drilled it low, but wide to the left.

Though Liverpool ended its six-year trophy drought, Steven Gerrard said it was a little bittersweet, according to reports.

"It doesn't matter what I say to [Anthony] - he's going to be down. I'll be there for him and all the family will be behind him," the skipper said.

The Gerrards both grew up in Liverpool's backyard, Merseyside, with Steven entering the Reds' youth academy and Anthony joining rival Everton's youth squad. Obviously both Gerrards have had starkly different careers, but they converged gloriously on Sunday, both knowing that one wouldn't be happy with the result.

Of course, nobody could have predicted it would have ended the way it did.

The younger Gerrard's monumental miss meant Liverpool, owned by American John Henry, returned to the business of lifting trophies. While the Premiership title and the FA Cup are often seen as more prestigious competitions, Sunday's title is sure to alleviate some of the concerns at Liverpool, which had stumbled from the EPL's upper eschelon in recent years as clubs such as Tottenham and Manchester City climbed. Liverpool, considered English royalty -- along with Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea -- for years, has finished out of the top five since it's runner-up campaign in 2008-09. The team currently sits in seventh place, well behind frontrunners Man City and Man U.

Liverpool can't win the EPL, but it can make it a double if it continues to advance in the FA Cup, which enters the quarterfinal stage next month. The Reds face Stoke City on March 18 at Anfield.


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