An emotional Kenny Dalglish described Liverpool's Carling Cup final victory as the start of a new era of success for the Anfield club after they overcame a late scare and dramatic penalty shootout against Cardiff City to collect their first trophy in six years.

Anthony Gerrard, cousin of the Liverpool captain Steven, a former Everton trainee and a lifelong Liverpool fan, missed the decisive penalty for the Championship side to hand Dalglish silverware in his first full season back as manager. The Cardiff defender was inconsolable after the final kick but, having led Liverpool to their first Wembley triumph since 1995 and out of the dark days of the Tom Hicks and George Gillett ownership, Dalglish claimed the triumph would whet the appetite of his developing team.

The Liverpool manager, still pursuing Champions League qualification and the FA Cup this season, said: "We are delighted to have won a trophy. It was a difficult game and I thought Cardiff represented their club very well. They tried everything.

"We deserved our first trophy in six years but we need to continue to work hard and see where it takes us. We didn't think six years ago that it would take this long to win our next trophy. We have won it, we will really enjoy it and it will give us a flavour to come back and do it again.

"Every member of the squad has contributed to this and worked really hard to get here. Now we need to see if we can kick on from here. I think this will inspire the players. I don't think anyone has ever won a trophy at Wembley, the Millennium [Stadium] or Europe and not come away without enjoying it. It must give you a taste for more. That doesn't mean to say it's going to happen but it can have an impact."

Dalglish returned as manager 13 months ago with Liverpool hovering above the relegation zone and rebuilding under the new owners, Fenway Sports Group. "We are here because of all the hard work that everyone has put in, not just me. Today has been the culmination of a lot of hard work from a lot of people such as the owners, directors, players and management. Everyone has worked as hard as they can to take the club forward. We have won a trophy today but that is not us finished."

Dalglish was visibly moved after Anthony Gerrard's final spot-kick flashed wide of José Reina's goal – one of five penalties missed in total after the game finished 2-2 after extra time. He admitted the victory was a repayment to supporters for the troubled times of recent years. "I was emotional. This means a lot to an awful lot of people and that is what this club stands for. All we try to do is make them as happy as we possibly can and hopefully this makes up for the days when it hasn't been like that."

Steven Gerrard admitted he was torn after lifting his first trophy as Liverpool captain at Wembley as a consequence of his cousin's misfortune. Anthony Gerrard's miss handed Liverpool their fifth trophy from a penalty shootout, following on from their triumphs from 12 yards in the 1984 and 2005 European Cup finals, the 2006 FA Cup and the 2001 Worthington Cup.

Their captain said: "It was always going to be the case that one of us was going to be sad and one would be celebrating. I have mixed emotions at the moment. Obviously I'm delighted to have won a trophy for our supporters but I feel for Anthony and Cardiff. It doesn't matter what I say to him at this time. I have been there when I scored an own-goal against Chelsea. I will be here for him after the game and all the family will be behind him."

The Liverpool owner, John W Henry, and the chairman, Tom Werner, were both at Wembley. The chairman said: "It was a nerve‑racking afternoon but a wonderful result. My nerves were shot. I didn't watch the penalties, I just heard them.

"There was a lot of pressure on Kenny today so we're relieved for him because the expectations were so high. He deserves an enormous amount of credit and now we can move on. Our goal is still to reach the Champions League but this has been a big day for us.

"It's a privilege to be involved with Liverpool. This is our eighth win in the competition. I hope this is a statement, even though it's only one marker but it gives us the enthusiasm to move forward."