Liverpool scraped through to win the Carling Cup this afternoon 3-2 on penalties after extra time, against a gallant and good Cardiff City side.
Steven Gerrrad – with Carling Cup tonight
The game was tied 1-1 after 90 minutes and 2-2 after extra time, with Cardiff having equalized with just two minutes of extra time to play, to force the penalty shoot-out.
Liverpool won on penalties 3-2 after both sides had taken their five penalties, with Steven Gerard being one of the players to miss their penalty, which goalkeeper Heaton saved brilliantly.
And it was his younger cousin Anthony Gerrard who was the one to miss Cardiff’s 5th penalty and give the Cup to Liverpool.
So it’s a medal for two former Newcastle players Andy Carroll and Jose Enrique, and it’s something they wouldn’t have won if they had stayed at Newcastle.
And to prevent other top players from wanting to leave Newcastle, the Tyneside club will need to keep finishing high up in the league, and qualify for Europe and maybe next season we can even win something for the first time in 44 years.
England allocates three slots to the Europa League – and they are the FA Cup and Carling Cup winners, and the team that finishes 5th in the Premier League table.
The top four all qualify for the European Champions League at some stage of the competition.
But if a team in the top five have already won one of the cups, then another place is allocated in the Europa League via the league table.
Let’s assume Newcastle finish in 7th place and Liverpool finish above them, and let’s further assume that a club above Newcastle also wins the FA Cup.
That could be Liverpool, Chelsea or Tottenham who are the sides currently above Newcastle and still in the FA Cup at the quarter final stage.
Then in that case two extra places in the league table, 6th place and 7th place, would be allocated to the Europa League positions, and lo and behold Newcastle would qualify if they finished in 7th position or higher.
Currently Newcastle are 8 points above the 8th placed side Norwich City, who lost at home to Manchester United, with Ryan Giggs scoring the winner in injury time at Carrow Road earlier today.
So no doubt Alan Pardew and the rest of the lads will be hoping that Chelsea, Tottenham or Liverpool can win the FA Cup, and then we could make it into Europe.
If the FA Cup winner is below Newcastle in the league – say it’s Everton, Bolton or heaven forbid, Sunderland, then Newcastle would not qualify in 7th place and would need to get into 6th place and have Liverpool finish above them to qualify in that case.
So the win today has certainly helped Newcastle’s chances of qualifying for Europe next season, but of course it’s up to Newcastle to finish as high up in the league table as we can.
And dropping home points against Wolves, like we did yesterday, is not the way to do it.