Being There: Liverpool 2 - Cardiff 2 (Liverpool win 3-2 on penalties)

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 26: Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher of Liverpool celebrate with the trophy after victory in the Carling Cup Final match between Liverpool and Cardiff City at Wembley Stadium on February 26, 2012 in London, England. Liverpool won 3-2 on penalties. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

And in the end, it's the picture above and al the other ones like it that matter most. Liverpool don't do boring Finals, and I guess I'll just give up hope that they ever will. And only Liverpool could win a trophy and yet make it feel weird or worse than when the match started. But the trophy was won, it's heading back to Merseyside, and that's the bottom line. In a day or two, when the performance washes out of memory and we move forward to Arsenal at Anfield, we'll still remember the trophy and Stevie lifting it.

Bullets:

-Would have had the wrap done earlier, but I was rendered unconscious from Charlie Adam's penalty hitting me on the head in my recliner.

-Stewart Downing was named man of the match, and I don't think I can argue with it. He was lively, creative, and dangerous, or at least as much of those three as he can get. His game is still a bit one-dimensional, all his play seems to end in a whipped cross or a shot dragged wide. But the past two weeks he's at least been an active contributor, and that's way ahead of where it's been.

-Well, we all saw the Dirk Kuyt goal coming, didn't we? While he may be frustrated at his lack of starts (though I think that's probably right), there is no surer man to bag you a goal in a big game than Dirk. The fact that he got it as a result of his first attempt being so awful it was blocked right back to him is somehow perfect. He's always needed a couple chances to score, right?

-And somehow, as always, he's involved at the other end. First a goal line clearance, than either slipping or being knocked over for the equalizer. He sure is active for a player on the pitch for a total of 15 minutes.

-How does a keeper on the winning team in a penalty shootout go the whole afternoon without making a save of note?

-Rudy Gestede might be the most idiot-looking footballer I've ever seen.

-The Gerrard cousin in red today was off all game. His shooting was splatter pattern, his crossing not much better, and he seemingly got deeper and deeper when Liverpool needed him farther forward. His penalty wasn't poorly taken, just brilliantly saved, and he did lift the thing at the end. Which is all we asked of him.

-I'm sorry, but geez, how bad was Adam's penalty?

-Haven't seen anything on what was bothering Agger, but I feared that elbow to the head he got triggered those concussion problems again.

-If Downing didn't get MofTM, Glen Johnson could have had a claim. Threatening and pacy down the right all afternoon, nearly opened the scoring after two minutes (and oh wouldn't that have been easier), and didn't have much defending to do.

-And yet, all the problems of the season nearly cost Liverpool everything on the biggest stage. The inability to break a determined team down, the sometimes ropey defending at set pieces, getting too cross-heavy with Andy Carroll on the pitch, spurning the chances they did create. Luckily, the biggest chance to blow it fell to the incompetent Kenny Miller. So thanks for that.

-Please stop playing Henderson on the right. He doesn't like it there, he doesn't play well there, and it won't work. Much better in the middle. Same goes for Downing, as his effectiveness dropped once Bellamy was brought on to the pitch on the left. Maybe it's just the position itself that's become such a black hole?

-Yeah, whatever. It's a trophy. That's enough. More than enough, actually.

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