Liverpool crash out of FA Cup

2010-01-14 06:55

Liverpool - Liverpool's dreadful season hit crisis point on Wednesday when Rafael Benitez's team were knocked out of the FA Cup after losing 2-1 to Championship strugglers Reading at Anfield.

An own goal by Ryan Bertrand had given Benitez's side the lead over managerless opponents but a stoppage time penalty by Gylfi Sigurdsson sent the tie into extra time.

Substitute Shane Long then headed a 100th minute winner in the third round replay that left Liverpool, already out of the race for the Premier League title and eliminated from the Champions League, shell-shocked.

On a night to forget for Benitez, Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard left the field injured.

Torres, who scored his first Liverpool hat-trick against Reading in 2007, lasted just 29 minutes before he was replaced while Gerrard failed to appear at the start of the second half after complaining of a hamstring problem.

With new Argentine signing Maxi Rodriguez from Atletico Madrid watching from the stands, Benitez made five changes to the side that was held to a 1-1 draw by the Championship strugglers 11 days earlier in the first match.

There was no sign of Spanish keeper Jose Reina, who played at the Madejski Stadium, as Diego Cavalieri was given a rare chance to shine while teenage Hungarian stopper Peter Gulacsi was on the bench.

Swiss international Philipp Degen was also handed a start although big guns Torres, Gerrard and Alberto Aquilani were wheeled out in an attempt to avoid a shock.

However, it was Reading who looked like the Premier League team for long periods of the first half.

Having endured a wretched first half to the season, the FA Cup remained one of the few pieces of silverware that Liverpool could still win yet Benitez's side seemed disinterested at times on a freezing Merseyside night.

Reading, who are in danger of slipping into the third tier, have managed just five wins in 24 attempts in the league this term yet twice in the space of four first half minutes they successfully sliced open the Liverpool defence.

Polish striker Grzegorz Rasiak fluffed a golden chance from close range after Jamie Carragher had failed to cut out Simon Church's 22nd minute cross.

Then Church, who scored in the first meeting between the clubs, allowed another chance to go begging after failing to connect with Jobi McAnuff's cross.

There was no sense of urgency about Liverpool - Aquilani, Emiliano Insua and Daniel Agger all guilty of gifting possession too easily. But they were not alone.

Torres endured a frustrating evening and 10 minutes after dragging a rare chance wide, the Spaniard was replaced by David Ngog having earlier taken a knock.

Quite what new signing Rodriguez, who watched the game with a Liverpool scarf wrapped round his neck, made of it all is anyones guess.

At least Benitez's side finished the half strongly, Yossi Benayoun curling a chance narrowly wide of Adam Federici's post before Reading fell behind in the cruel circumstances.

Having played so well for much of the half, they saw all their hard work undone in a split second as Bertrand deflected a close range shot by Gerrard past his own keeper.

Despite having the lead, Liverpool continued to struggle in the second half.

The loss of Gerrard clearly did not help their cause.

They were again let off the hook when Ivar Ingimarsson failed to steer substitute Brian Howard's free kick into the net.

But in a dramatic twist at the end of normal time, referee Phil Dowd pointed to the penalty spot after Benayoun was adjudged to have fouled substitute Shane Long, Sigurdsson sending Cavalieri the wrong way to force extra time.

Liverpool struggled to recover from the blow and in the 100th minute Long headed the winner in front of the Kop after meeting Bryn Gunnarsson's cross.


  • Andrew - 2010-01-14 07:28

    When are they all gonna get it???? As long as Benitez is at Liverpool they will be second rate with the occassional lucky streak...As a lifetime United fan, I have always enjoyed the rivalry and seen the pool as a threat but not anymore, it's no good beating us and cocking up the rest of the season..He has to go before something stupid happens and you get relegated, God forbid!!

  • Ricky Bobby - 2010-01-14 07:32

    Waaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!! Dont even know why this team has so many followers - I wouldnv left watching football if i was a fan

  • Craig - 2010-01-14 07:52

    Lets here what you have to say man Utd fans, we know you've been waiting for this.

  • Notbee - 2010-01-14 08:00

    Ummm, to all those Liverpool fans that made fun of Man Utd's exit at the hands of Leeds...not so funny it?

  • Brett - 2010-01-14 08:12

    Bye Bye Rafa....!! Thank you but your time has come!

  • ShAyA - 2010-01-14 08:23

    Will someone please get rid off Benitez, the guys tactics are pathetic to say the least. The defence was a mess (carragher needs to catch a wake-up) and the midfield gave the ball away too easy. Would understand if Torres/Gerrard started to think about other prospects because honestly we played crap football and played like the 2nd division outfit compared to reading who were the much better team on the night.

  • kevin - 2010-01-14 08:48

    I am a red fan for life but what a bunch of fools.I have never in all my 40 years of been a fan seen such a bunch of w****s....benitez its time to go.Babel a flop..nogo did nothing,aquilani never 20 mil worth,agger should go back to where he comes from,GET RID OF THE AMERICANS and all the other loosers as well.I can not understand why defenders never go up to attack the ball from corners,it looks like everbody is passing the buck onto the nexted player....fools never walk alone ,i am very angry.

  • reading - 2010-01-14 09:13

    i love Reading this headline. Liverpool 0 Reading 3.

  • Henk - 2010-01-14 09:27

    I'm a Man Utd fan, but seriously, Benitez is a fool who always talks a big game, but has nothing show for it! Get rid of him! I won't rub it in, but you see now that making fun of one team for exiting the FA Cup, could come back and bite you in the arse! I honestly don't like to see one of the big guns struggling, good luck Reds.

  • Kuven - 2010-01-14 09:39

    Rapha is an idiot I mean honestly Lucas and Ngogg won't even make it to play for our local teams here in South Africa and Babel should go for Free. If any other coach takes over lucas will never get first team he should play netball

  • Kuven - 2010-01-14 09:54

    Please oh please get rid of Rapha and let him take lucas with him as well as Ngogg the useless and won't make it for any other club in the world the sholud stop playing soccer they are a disgrace to the game and he is a disgrace as a coach

  • Big K - 2010-01-14 10:00

    As a utd supporter, i actually felt bad for the Liverpool faithful last night. It truly is sad that one of the biggest clubs to ever exist is having the worst season of its history(i tink). I watched the match cos i had nothing better to do last night and man, how can u justify paying 20 mil for Aquilani, he aint worth 2!!! Where was Kuyt in the second half, dont even talk bout Lucas!!! Babel n Ngog were not passing but wanted to be heroes!! There was no real effort made by the Liverpool players, like they didnt care to win the match. Credit to Reading, they came there with nothing to loose and took the respect of many people, their 2nd goal was brilliantly played,text book (to think they 21st in the championship, didnt look like that last night)!!!! Rafa needs to do the honourable thing and put his hands up and say that he has F ked up and resign, i think the players have lost faith in him let alone the supporters!! My question is, WAT NOW??? Torres is def going to leave, especially if he has a good WC here in SA, the person i feel for most is Stevie G, he truly deserves a premier league medal on merit, he mite leave but his heart is with Liverpool and he knows wat it means to wear the shirt with pride!! So once again to those pool supporters who had alot to say bout utd getting knocked out, here's wat i say to u, url had another chance and blew it, next time becareful wat u say cos it comes back to bite u, u no wer and if you didnt believe in God, mayb nows the time to start praying & believing, before url end up becoming a mid table club in the top flight of English football!!!!! But Benitez did his job so far this season, he beat man utd,lol!!!

  • EVERTON - 2010-01-14 10:02

    Time to go Spaniard, and Liverpool need to get rid of Lucus! Its a shame that the pool are doing so bad! Oh well gives us more chance now in the FA cup!

  • TRUE Red - 2010-01-14 10:05

    Kuven, you are dumb if you think Ngog is not quality - he is a RESERVE team YOUNG player - you didn't complain when he scored against Man Utd did you ? He has saved us many times this season & has a bright future. Lucas I agree with tho' - absolutely USELESS ! You guy's can Rafa as much as you want, but the team he started with last night was a strong one - yes, he made mistakes as well, but still, the quality that was on the pitch should have seen at least a 3-0 lead at 1/2 time against a 1st division team. The PLAYER'S played crap, finish & klaar ! 1 minute away from the 4th round & somehow we STILL f$%k it up ! Whether it was a penalty or not is debatable, but why get yourself in that position anyway by not retaining possession ? Well done Reading - you guy's definitely deserved to go through ! I don't mind losing if we play well and maybe have a bit of bad luck or the other team score a wonder goal / play slightly better, but when we play K@K & DESERVE to lose, that pi#$es me off !

  • JustinD - 2010-01-14 10:05

    It's funny how things work out.................

  • Big K - 2010-01-14 10:16

    Im sure Maxi Rodriquez sat there thinking, WTF did i jus do to my career!!!lol

  • Kuven - 2010-01-14 10:28

    No true red you are dumb if you think Ngogg should be playing for a powerful club like liverpool he maybe will make it in the first division he has no skill no ball control and he uses his chest even if the ball is rolling on the ground.As for Rapha the team has no confidence in him and they can't play under him anymore he should leave with Ngogg and Lucas

  • Diran Pillay - 2010-01-14 10:36

    It's a shame to see Liverpool FC performing like a 3rd class football team.They better get their acts together or i''m sure Gerrard will be on his way out,Gerrard one of the greatest footballers the world has ever seen,yet he has never held premier league title.

  • Big K - 2010-01-14 10:54

    Pool are trying to buy some players at the moment, they shud take 5 mil, pay Rafa off and tell him to P*ss off, thats how i see it. Url have a good enough squad to make top 4 if url get in another coach like Hiddink etc. I wonder how Rafa slept last night!!! @ Kuven, Ngog has quality, he needs another season or to and he'll be playing quality football, he made some decent runs yest but jus dint pass or see the passes, so u being abit unfair on him, he was one of the few actually tryin to do something last nite but he was spiteful goin forward which could have changed the result had he made a couple of passes and played a one two here and there. He is def better than Veronin who jus got sold! But the highlight for me last night was the McCanuff run, reminded me of Giggsy and the 99 semi replay!! he shud have finished better, wud hav been goal of the FA Cup this season!!!!

  • TRUE Red - 2010-01-14 10:58

    Kuven, what part of RESERVE TEAM / YOUTH PLAYER don't you understand ? He SHOULDN'T be playing in a MUST win game until we have a 3-0 anyway - the problem is we don't have an experienced striker as back up for El Nino. Ngog has scored alot of goals for the FIRST team this season, and I know many die-hard Man Utd fans that even rate him highly - he had a bad game last night, but what about the SENIOR player's ? In the reserves, he outshines the likes of Welbeck & Macheda at Utd - think about it !! You all are attacking Rafa & rightly so in many respects, but WHY NOT THE PLAYER'S who were crap last night ? The likes of Torres-Gerrard-Aquilani-Carra-Agger-Kuyt-Benayoun were still on the pitch for the first 30 minutes & couldn't score, at home, against a 1st division team - that is PATHETIC ! The biggest mistakes Rafa made was leaving out Riena when 2 BIG defensive player's were not playing (Masherano & Johnson) & bringing out Skrtel in extra time instead of Aurelio - why change your MAIN central defense when your back is against the wall ? THE PLAYER'S ARE NOT PLAYING FOR THE SHIRT AFTER A PERFORMANCE LIKE THAT, EVEN IF WE DID MANAGE TO LAST THE 1 MINUTE MORE & WIN 1-0 !!

  • TRUE Red - 2010-01-14 11:03

    Up to this season, Rafa made Liverpool progress every year compared to when he started. Remember, we had a 30 POINT gap to the champions 5 years ago, which he brought down each season, to just 4 points last season. I too don't agree with his formation, his substitutions & his persistance with none performing players THIS SEASON, but why have NONE OF YOU complained before ? "Sheep" is all I can say. The fact is the PLAYER'S themselves have to pull their finger's out thier a##$'s

  • Kuven - 2010-01-14 11:53

    Rapha is a quack we should have won the league last season unfortunately the senior players don't pick the team the coach does and if he keep picking useless players like Lucas and Ngogg and Vornin and Kyricos then the rest of the team will suffer.Last season one player made a difference Alonso and Lucas can never replace him as lucas does not know how to play soccer.True red closing gaps is not good enough fair enough if we loose but at least play like we one of worlds dominant soccer teams right now we playing like a 3rd division team that is because of poor coaching and team formation.

  • Sammy - 2010-01-14 12:49

    What's the difference between Liverpool and a teabag. The teabag stays longer in the cup!!!! LOL

  • Brett Pretorius - 2010-01-14 13:38

    @ Kuven...Voronin has been sold. Ngog is not useless. He is a young striker, still learning his trade and he may turn out to be a very valuable squad player. Lucas...well, the jury is still out on him. and Kyricos (Kyrgiakos) is a 4th choice CB who only played because of injuries. I can't think of many teams who have too much better in the 4th choice CB category. But, yes...I agree. LFC are not performing. Something needs to give. I hope it's the bad run that gives...

  • Craig - 2010-01-14 14:03

    @Sammy, you're probably a Man Utd fan, i wouldn't talk too much if i were you.

  • Haroon - 2010-01-14 14:04

    Please please keep Rafa, with him Loserpool are no threat and Man U can more easily cope with the new challengers. I say keep him until you get relegated, then change. Perhaps they'd like to buy Rooney for 80M and sell him back after 3 months for 20M like they did Keane.

  • Grant - 2010-01-14 15:03

    In Rafa we trust.......???

  • TRUE Red - 2010-01-14 15:18

    Haroon, in case you didn't notice, your beloved Utd are out as well, thanks to a 3rd division team beating you. At least we took it to a replay + extra time against a 1st division team, LOL

  • Brandy - 2010-01-14 16:10

    LOL! i'm a gunner (Arsenal) for life! Good riddance to this mediocre team. Next out the Blues( Chelsea) and then the fun can begin! No one was compalining about Benitez when they where winning Champ league and now all of a sudden hbcos the players are either playing crap or there has been some fall out in the dressing room he is a crap coach? I dont buy that! In Arsene we trust...this is our season!

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