Gerrard sends Reds through

Reds rally to sink brave Cardiff

Last Updated: 01/11/07 8:41am

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Gerrard: Liverpool match-winner

Gerrard: Liverpool match-winner

Sky Bet

Liverpool spoiled Robbie Fowler's return to Anfield with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Cardiff in the fourth round of the Carling Cup.

Steven Gerrard grabbed the winner for Liverpool on 66 minutes after Darren Purse had cancelled out Nabil El Zhar's opener.

Fowler had the first chance of the game after just four minutes when he saw his free kick from the edge of the box superbly turned round the post by Charles Itandje.

Liverpool fashioned their first opening of the contest four minutes later when Ryan Babel combined with Peter Crouch only for the young Dutchman to lift his shot over the crossbar under pressure from Darren Purse.

Fabio Aurelio tried his luck from long-range on 12 minutes and Cardiff goalkeeper Michael Oakes was forced to turn his effort round the post.

Babel wasted a good opportunity soon after when unmarked he headed Aurelio's cross wide of the target.

Lucas Levia had the next chance for Liverpool on 20 minutes when he headed Alvaro Arbeloa's s cross over the top.

Cardiff went close to breaking the deadlock on 38 minutes when Paul Parry got on the end of Tony Capaldi's deep cross only to see Itandje dive full stretch to push his header round the post.

Sebastian Leto wasted two good opportunities to score before half-time as Liverpool looked to try and break Cardiff's stubborn resistance.

Deadlock broken

Moroccan youngster El Zhar broke the deadlock on 48 minutes with a superb strike from the edge of the box.

Gerrard wasted a great chance to double the lead on 52 minutes when he burst clear of the Cardiff defence only to slide his shot wide of the target.

Cardiff brought their travelling army of fans to their feet on 65 minutes when Purse rose highest to meet Joe Ledley's free kick and power his header into the bottom corner.

Liverpool silenced the visiting fans almost immediately with Gerrard swapping passes with Yossi Benayoun before sweeping the ball home past Oakes.

Harry Kewell made a welcome return to action on 70 minutes as he came on from the bench.

Cardiff threw everything into attack in the closing stages, but Liverpool held on to reach the last eight.

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