Saturday, January 26, 2008

Liverpool 5-2 Havant & Waterlooville

Despite talk of the romance of the cup, no one seriously expected a 'cupset' here so it was a massive surprise when H&W took the lead not once but twice in the first half. A Liverpool team stripped of its spine (Reina, Carragher, Gerrard and Torres) looked short of fluency, but its hard to say whether it was complacency or the weight of expectation. In any case, Skrtel had a debut to forget - needlessly conceding a corner that led to the first goal before a wicked deflection that may see the second credited as his own goal.

Nonetheless, once Benayoun pulled us level - again - before half-time, I never had any serious doubts. I didn't buy the idea that H&W wouldn't be fit - they're used to playing 90 mins and one of them's a binman - but quality told in the end. Benayoun completed his second hat-trick of the season (the first against Besiktas) while a brief run-out for Carragher and Gerrard (principally I assume for the benefit of the H&W players) was time enough for the latter to set up Crouch to complete the scoreline. Maybe that fifth makes Liverpool look more dominant than they were, at least in the first half, but H&W should be rpoud of themselves.

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