Cardiff battled bravely as former Anfield favourite Robbie Fowler fought to inspire his new team and he left the field to a hug from Reds manager Rafael Benitez and a standing ovation from the Kop.
Liverpool took the lead through a long-range effort from Nabil El Zhar before Darren Purse headed the Welsh club level, only for Steven Gerrard to storm through to hit the winner.
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