Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

Billy on the Box: High drama for Liverpool at Wembley

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard lifts the trophy in victory after the Carling Cup Final match between Liverpool and Cardiff City at Wembley Stadium on February 26, 2012
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard lifts the Carling Cup trophy after victory over Cardiff City

It wasn’t all good news for the Welsh at the weekend as Kenny Dalglish’s decision to select Gerrard to take the all-important penalty in the Carling Cup Final shoot-out proved to be a masterstroke.

It means Liverpool are back among the big boys, apparently, and we were told repeatedly on both BBC and Sky, which proves it was a big match, that this would be the springboard for better things. Just like Birmingham City.

No, well done and it was worth having the Scousers back at Wembley just for the sight of having Chris Kamara on Goals on Sunday doing keepy-uppies in a cream suit and slip-ons in his homage to the Reds’ most famous fashion aberration at the home of football.

There were throw-backs to that 1996 horror show, with Jason McAteer popping up with Kamara and Ben Shephard later joined in the studio for the match by Robbie Fowler and Jamie Redknapp, and with the Beeb already grabbing Chris Coleman and Tom Jones returned to the green, green grass of home, it meant Sky had to settle for Jay Bothroyd as the token ‘Welsh’ presence.

It was a cracking game, Championship football at its best, and ended up in the dreaded penalty shoot-out (it is now law that you must use these three words in conjunction at all times).

“It’s a lottery, it’s the worst feeling in the world,” said Jamie.

Can I just point out that you appeared in a Thomas Cook advert doing keepy-uppies bare-chested on a beach — a bit warm for a cream suit, I suppose.

There was conjecture over what the players should do, Jamie suggesting ‘hit the target’ and Robbie, ever the striker, suggesting ‘hit the back of the net’.

Just a shame none of the players were listening.

“I have to say, this is the best known cure for constipation,” revealed Mark Lawrenson, who always has that look on his face, and there were more rumblings in that area as Guy Mowbray wondered ‘How is Charlie Adam feeling, is his stomach rumbling?’

I couldn’t look, especially when it was followed by Mowbray going ‘Oh dear me, dear oh dear,” and I’d hoped that the liver salts hadn’t just kicked in for the Liver birds. A cream suit would never do.

It was bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover that were in danger though as Adam’s penalty cleared them and plopped into the English Channel, where it was retrieved by a grateful Chris Waddle celebrating losing his ‘worst ever spot-kick’ title.

“That’s just a poor penalty, an absolutely poor penalty,” revealed Lawrenson, while on Sky, Alan Smith, another professor of spouting the bleeding obvious, concurred that it was ‘not even close, it’s a shocker.’

I’m not sure if he meant the commentary or the penalty.

I know what I’m talking about. In fourth year at school we had a charity penalty taking competition with every successful kick from our 20 efforts making 10p for a deserving cause and by the end of it they were £1.90 to the good.

I know something of the pain that Anthony Gerrard is going through, that missed kick still rankles 26 years later, although in my defence it was in five-a-side nets and I hit the target.

“You always knew a Gerrard would play a big part today,” said Mowbray while Lawrenson added that ‘it’s like Russian roulette’.

It’s not at all like that but if it was you would need a stuntman as Guy said ‘there always has to be a fall guy’.

Colt Seavers was on his way to Wembley as Dr Lawrenson Medicine Man gave his final thoughts. “At least he’s had the guts to go and take a penalty.’

They think it’s all over, well if it is, I hope Colt brought a mop and bucket.

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