Cardiff-born Bellamy aiming to be 'party-pooper' at Wembley
CRAIG BELLAMY grabbed the headlines after stunning former club Manchester City to fire Liverpool into the Carling Cup final last night.
The Wales striker capped a tireless performance with the goal that secured a 3-2 aggregate success over the Premier League leaders in a pulsating semi-final second leg at Anfield.
Bellamy's 74th-minute strike secured a 2-2 draw on the night and reminded City of the talents they lost when he left the Etihad Stadium for a second spell at Liverpool last August.
The 32-year-old could now add another chapter to a personal fairytale when Liverpool play his hometown Cardiff, where he spent last season on loan, in next month's final.
Bellamy said: "The omens were looking good after I saw Cardiff go through. I was delighted for them and this couldn't be a better final for me.
"Cardiff means so much to me. It's funny how football can work out at times."
Bellamy had a disagreement with City manager Roberto Mancini and Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish claimed he would welcome any more Etihad Stadium outcasts.
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish said: "His effort and commitment is always there and here he was fantastic, it was a quality performance.
"If City have got any more like him that they want rid of, we are only down the East Lancs Road."
Liverpool twice trailed last night after a stunning strike from Nigel de Jong and a tap-in from Edin Dzeko came either side of a controversial Steven Gerrard penalty.
City were furious when Micah Richards was adjudged to have handled deliberately in trying to block a Daniel Agger shot which ricocheted off his leg.
Gerrard made no mistake as he struck his second spot-kick of the tie and Bellamy restored the aggregate advantage after Dzeko's effort following neat interplay involving Dirk Kuyt and Glen Johnson.
Seven-time League Cup winners Liverpool now progress to their first Wembley final since 1996 and have a chance to win their first trophy since the FA Cup success of 2006.
Gerrard said: "It's a great feeling, it's been a while.
"Since playing at Cardiff in 2006, it's been too long for this club.
"I'm delighted for everyone, especially the fans."
Dalglish wanted to share the achievement with everyone connected with the club after the troubles of recent years.
The club were struggling to cope with heavy debt before their takeover by Fenway Sports Group in October 2010.
Dalglish said: "It is great for the people who stood by us, because it has not been too easy a time for everybody at the football club over the last couple of years or so.
"I've said many times before, if we all stick together we will be a stronger force.
"This is a huge reward for everybody who has got an affiliation for Liverpool in any way, shape or form."