Cardiff City vs. Liverpool: 5 Mistakes Reds Need to Learn From
They won the game on penalties, after it finished 2-2 AET, with Martin Skrtel cancelling out a Joe Mason opener in regular time, and Ben Turner tucking past Pepe Reina's legs to prevent Dirk Kuyt from scoring a heroic winner in extra time.
But the Reds' performance against the Championship side wouldn't cut it at a high Premier League level, and once the players come down from such a high after winning the trophy, Kenny Dalglish needs to do a lot of work on the training ground if Liverpool are to remain competitive and go on to win the FA Cup.
The Bluebirds played better than expected given they play in England's second-tier—Liverpool on the other hand, were below par.
Here are five mistakes they made in the 2012 League Cup which need to be addressed.
Luis Suarez, Andy Carroll and all of Liverpool's midfielders could do with far more work at Melwood on their finishing, as the statistics speak for themselves.
The Reds had 34 shots—11 on target and 23 off target—and yet scored just two goals.
They hit just 48 percent of their shots on target, and from those on-target they only converted 18 percent of them.
Cardiff on the other hand also scored two goals—from five shots on target and 11 overall.
If Liverpool are to win the FA Cup, or get back into the UEFA Champions League, their finishing must improve.
Liverpool virtually allowed Cardiff City to score the opener, and pretty much granted them the opportunity to get back in the game.
They started the game in a complacent attitude and ended it that way, with the game having to go to penalties for them to realise that they needed to concentrate for the whole 90 minutes and 30 minutes of extra time.
It's been a common recurrence for Liverpool this term, who have struggled against average Premier League sides.
Perhaps their very public struggle against a Championship side will make them realise not to be so complacent in the future.
Liverpool were caught out at the back for Cardiff's opener. Had their defence been playing against higher quality forwards, they could have leaked a ton of goals.
Not only did their defence hold a stupidly high line at times, but at differing points in the game their defenders failed to track back adequately—especially Jose Enrique for the opening goal—something which could have been quite deleterious.
The midfielders also neglected their defensive roles on a number of occasions, leaving huge gaps between the lines for the likes of Kenny Miller and Peter Whittingham to exploit.
Against a team with an established playmaker, such a performance would've been very costly.
Tying in with the point on defensive discipline, the Liverpool players didn't close down their opponents enough or perhaps didn't even know when to close them down.
A ton of mistakes were made as they went 1-0 down, most notably the fact that Kenny Miller was allowed to receive the ball on the edge of the Reds' penalty area, turn and thread the ball through to Joe Mason without any pressure from a defender whatsoever.
The midfielders didn't pressurise their counterparts in the centre as much as they should have either, allowing Cardiff to make far more passes than they should've done with the possession they had.
Against a good passing side, that sort of space being afforded to the opposition could've seen Liverpool ripped apart.
Liverpool showed a considerable lack of creativity in this League Cup Final.
Stewart Downing would cross into the box, Steven Gerrard would cross into the box and Luis Suarez would try to run into the box.
And to mix things up, the likes of Charlie Adam would take hopeful long-distance shots.
Not the creativity that springs to mind when thinking of a cup-winning team.
Intricate link-up play wasn't overly present in the Reds attacking tactics, nor was any great movement from the forwards.
Attacks through the middle were seldom seen and intelligent play was largely invisible from Liverpool.
If they want further success this season, Liverpool will have to be more creative.