FA Cup Fifth Round
Skrtel (5), Bridcutt (og) (44), (71), Carroll (57), Dunk (og) (74), Suarez (85)
Brighton and Hove Albion 1
Many, including me, have said that given the chances we are creating and the way we’ve been playing it’s was only a matter of time before it all came together and we gave a side a thorough tonking!
This score line would suggest that yesterday was such an occasion however, three Brighton own goals say that things weren’t altogether as they seem. Nonetheless this was a massive boost to the confidence inevitably sparking speculation about two Wembley finals, a tad premature however, if we play like this it is well within our grasp?
Kenny made a couple of changes from Old Trafford. Adam, Carroll and Carragher returned. Agger, Bellamy didn’t even make the bench. What do we read into that? Dead cert starters for next week or what? There’s is no point, it’s down to Kenny and one wonders if he knows, yet!
Things stated well with Downing producing the first chance of the game, a deflected effort that went for a corner. A few minutes later things got better. Gerrard sent a corner over and Skrtel evaded Barnes to nod in. A very, very simply goal that Brighton, who were probably wanting to keep things tight in the first fifteen minutes or so, will be a tad peeved about.
We tried to build on the goal via Gerrard’s free kick however, before we could settle the visitors were back in it. I didn’t think anyone, even allowing for our wall having more gaps in it than Shane MacGowan’s teeth, could have saved Lualua’s free kick. It was hard and low and flew into Reina’s bottom corner. He did well to react, getting near it was impossible!
We appeared undeterred by the goal Suarez made good inroads and Carroll also went close. At every set piece Carroll was basically molested by Brighton’s El-Abd however, refreshingly, the referee choose to let it go, it is a contact sport, just! The game was threatening to turn into a good one with both sides going for it however, Brighton were found wanting again from a set piece. Suarez skilfully brought down Adam’s corner but had his shot saved. In the resulting confusion Johnson got his head to the ball, Vokes attempted to clear it but it ended up crossing the line after hitting Bridcott.
Scrappy stuff but who cares. A good half for the neutrals with Brighton giving as good they got however, very weak at set pieces shaky in defence and a keeper who appeared somewhat overawed by the occasion and in the second half they crumbled.
Carroll started it with nice exchange of passes with Downing which he finished off with swashbuckling left footer from around the penalty spot to give something tangible for all the work he has put in recently. By now Brighton must have seen the writing on the wall and sometimes when that happens concentration goes and confusion sets in. The next two goals, both from Brighton players into their own net, seemed to support this. The first saw Gerrard seizing on a collective error between Navarro and Brezovan in their goal. Careering for the by line and his shot, from an acute angle ricocheted off Bridcutt into his own net.
The third own goal was less excusable. Suarez and Downing combined well and the Uruguayan’s resulting cross was flapped at by Brezovan and fell to Dunk who chested it down nicely presumably with a view to clearing it. However, he then totally miscontrolled with his thigh to let the ball creep over the line.
Suarez missed a penalty after Noone had fouled Kuyt however he made up for this with a goal that probably summed up just the sort of play we want to see from the side and the reason why Kenny signed the players he has signed – it was an Enrique cross nodded back across the goal by Carroll for Suarez to convert.
So one cup game down and now another to go perhaps it was a harsh score line for Brighton, its not often you score four goals and lose, however progress achieved with ease and, with next week in mind, we’ll take it thank you very much!
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Jose Enrique, Carragher, Skrtel, Gerrard (Shelvey 76′ ), Henderson (Kuyt 76′ ), Downing (Maxi 76′ ), Adam, Suarez, Carroll Substitutes: Doni, Coates, Kelly, Maxi, Spearing, Shelvey, Kuyt
Brighton & Hove Albion: Brezovan, Greer, Dunk, El-Abd (Vicente 69′ ), Calderon, Navarro, LuaLua, Bridcutt, Buckley (Noone 46′ ), Barnes, Vokes (Mackail-Smith 69′ ) Substitutes: Ankergren, Vincelot, Noone, Vicente, Harley, Mackail-Smith, Agdestein