Rafael Benitez revealed match-winner Steven Gerrard would not have played in Liverpool´s 2-1 Carling Cup victory over Cardiff if Mohamed Sissoko had not been sick.

The Anfield boss had intended resting his skipper for the fourth-round tie, but Sissoko - who had been ill ahead of Sunday´s draw with Arsenal - had not recovered sufficiently to play against the Coca-Cola Championship side.

Benitez said: "I would have wanted really to leave Steven out of the match. But we have too many injuries and Momo was sick again, so he had to play. And in the end he was the one who scored the vital goal."

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