The Reds lifted their first trophy in six years after a dramatic penalty shootout win over the Bluebirds on Sunday afternoon.

The Welsh side took an early lead against the run of play when Joe Mason ghosted into space before beating Pepe Reina with a low shot, but the Reds equalised when Martin Skrtel netted on the hour.

Substitute Dirk Kuyt put Liverpool in front in the second half of extra-time, but Ben Turned forced penalties when he scored at the death for the Bluebirds.

However, the Reds prevailed 3-2 in the shootout to ensure it was they who would lift the Carling Cup.

Afterwards, Dalglish was full of praise for the efforts of his players throughout the competition and insisted they’d do all they can to achieve further glory in the remainder of 2011-12.

The boss told his post-match press conference: “We’re delighted to have won a trophy. It was a difficult game for us and I think Cardiff represented their football club extremely well. They tried everything. Even in extra-time after Dirk scored, they were very tired but they dug down deep enough to get an equaliser.

“The game has got to be settled some way, and the choice is penalty kicks. We feel for Anthony Gerrard, who missed the vital one that meant we won the trophy.

“I think every footballer feels for somebody that does that, but for us we’re delighted to have won a trophy. Throughout the whole competition we’ve deserved the victory.

“We’ve played well, come through some really hard games, and today was a really hard game because they were tough opponents. Malky (Mackay) can be proud of the job he’s done there, and the people of Cardiff can be proud of the efforts they’ve put in.

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

He added: “We’re where we are because of the work of everyone – not just me. The owners, supporters, players – everybody has chipped in. The closer we are, the stronger we’ll be together.

“Today has been the culmination of a lot of hard work of an awful lot of people in every aspect of the football club, whether owner, director, player or groundsman, everybody has worked as hard as they possible could to move the club forward.

“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 made three substitutions during the game, bringing on Jamie Carragher and Craig Bellamy in addition to Kuyt.

The manager believes the impact the trio made on the outcome emphasises his point about a collective effort being the key to success.

“The players that didn’t start the game will have felt a little bit disappointed, but the most disappointed ones will have been Seb (Coates) and Flanno (Jon Flanagan) who were not stripped, and Jack Robinson is injured,” he said.

“You feel for anybody that’s not involved, but if you’re sitting on the bench there’s always a chance you’re going to come on and make a contribution. The three lads we put on – Carra, Dirk and Bellers – all made a contribution.

“It’s important that although they’re disappointed they’ve not started, they’re not disappointed now.”

Meanwhile, journalists quizzed Dalglish for his thoughts on the performance of Stewart Downing, who claimed the man-of-the-match award for a lively display.

He replied: “It was great to see Stewart getting a bit of recognition for his performance, but the most important thing is we’ve won the game. We don’t need to sit and go through every individual’s performance.

“We had seven players come in this season and for them to walk away with a trophy in their first season means they can be very proud of their achievements.”

The victory over Cardiff means Liverpool have now won the League Cup eight times – a competition record.

The Reds’ last trophy came in similar circumstances in the 2006 FA Cup final triumph over West Ham United at the Millennium Stadium.

But with Liverpool still chasing glory in the other domestic cup competition, Dalglish is confident fans won’t have to wait six years to see the next trophy.

He said: “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 wee flavour to come back and do it again.

“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.

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

The gaffer continued: “I don’t think anybody who has won a trophy – irrespective of what it was, whether it was Wembley or the Millennium Stadium, or whether it was a European 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.”

Dalglish has maintained Liverpool’s desire to go all the way in the competition, right from the very first game – a second-round tie at Exeter back in August.

The Scot has named strong starting XI’s for every match the Reds have contested in the tournament, and he said: “We treat everything seriously.

“We’ve made a lot of changes as well through the various ties. I think every member of the squad, apart from Fabio (Aurelio) has had a game. Doni hasn’t had a game because Pepe has played every game.

“Right at the very beginning when we went to Exeter, we said we wanted to treat the competition with respect. If we’re doing that, then we’re treating our club with respect as well. We don’t want to go out and lose games.

“If we’re playing in a competition, there’s no way we’re going to not try and win it.”

Dalglish also reserved a word for the Liverpool supporters who travelled to Wembley and helped created an atmosphere that will live long in the memory for anyone fortunate enough to have experienced it first hand.

The manager admitted he was delighted to be able to give something back to the fans who have supported the team throughout his tenure and beyond.

He said: “I thought the supporters were unbelievable. They really enjoyed it, they came for a good day out and the result topped it for them.

“The support we had today was fantastic, and the Cardiff fans played their part as well. The game would have been pleasant for people to sit and watch, and the atmosphere was fantastic.”

Dalglish added: “It means an awful lot to an awful lot of people and that is what the football club stands for. All we do is try and make them as happy as we possibly can.

“Today we’ve gone out to do that. Hopefully it makes up for some of the days when we’ve not been able to do that.”

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