Craig Bellamy
Liverpool's Bellamy celebrates his goal against Manchester City during their English League Cup semi-final match at Anfield in Liverpool.

Steven Gerrard has lauded Craig Bellamy's impact since he joined Liverpool in the summer, after the Welshman fired the club into the Carling Cup final on Wednesday night.

Liverpool secured their first Wembley appearance since 1996 as they beat Manchester City 3-2 on aggregate in the semi-final at Anfield.

Bellamy scored the winning goal against his former club to set up Liverpool's clash with Cardiff City in February.

And Gerrard has likened the striker's performances this season to another veteran who found success late in his career at Anfield: Gary McAllister.

The former Scotland international spent two seasons at Liverpool and helped the club win five trophies during 2001.

"Craig has been superb since he's come in, he's a fantastic professional who works really hard and he got his rewards here," Gerrard told the official Liverpool Web site.

"He was a menace all night - that's what type of player he is. He's in your face, he runs in behind, he doesn't let you settle on the ball and I'm sure if he carries on he can have the impact at this club that Gary McAllister did."

"People sign for this club to play in front of atmospheres like that," added Gerrard. "The lads are talking about it now, all the new signings.

And Bellamy, who has scored eight goals this season, revealed he could not have asked for a more enticing final.

The Welsh international, 32, spent last season on loan at Cardiff and was therefore thrilled when they saw off Crystal Palace in their semi-final on Tuesday night.

"I was delighted for them and this couldn't be a better final for me. Cardiff means so much to me," Bellamy said.

"And to score the winning goal against my old side to set up this final makes it a perfect night.

"I have never played at Wembley either, so it will mean so much for me to go there and try to win a trophy.

"I went to watch a couple of Liverpool's finals at the Millennium Stadium and played there myself in the Community Shield.

"But now we're playing a Welsh side at Wembley. It's funny how football turns out."