Liverpool 1 Reading 2- Long goodbye - Shanes winner has Rafa reeling

Jan 14, 2010

Shane Long's first goal since April condemned Rafa Benitez to yet more humiliation in a season that has already been full of it.
Benitez gambled by taking off skipper Steven Gerrard at half-time with his side 1-0 up at Anfield, only to see Long win the last-gasp penalty that Gylfi Sigurdsson converted to take this FA Cup third-round replay into extra time. Long then added the winner 10 minutes into the added half-hour.
Stunner: Substitute Shane Long nods in Reading's winner
Long had not scored in 15 games this season but he was perfectlypositioned when Brynjar Gunnarsson beat Yossi Benayoun and thennutmegged Emiliano Insua before crossing to the near post.

Liverpool must have thought they had done enough to secure a fourth-round tie ukagainst Burnley when, with 90 seconds remaining, they still led through Ryan Bertrand's own goal just before half-time.
But Long, an 80th-minute substitute, had his heels clipped by Benayoun and Sigurdsson converted the spot-kick low to Diego Cavalieri's right. It was only what the Championship side deserved after having suffered the cruellest of blows in conceding a most unfortunate own goal.

Advantage Liverpool: Steven Gerrard sees his shot deflect off Ryan Bertrand

As well as being forced into extra time, Liverpool's big guns, Gerrardand Fernando Torres, both limped off. Gerrard, who did not reappear forthe second half, had admitted his misfiring side had been lucky toescape with a draw at the Madejski Stadium, and they continued in thesame vein at Anfield last night.
Reading made all the early running and went close through Grzegorz Rasiak and the lively Simon Church.
But Liverpool gradually shook themselves out of their lethargy and wentahead against the run of play in first-half injury time. Gerrard drilled the ball goalwards from the right and Bertrand, 20, turned the ball into his own net as he stretched to cut it out.
Can't look: Liverpool sub Ngog can't believe what he's seeing
Worryingly for Liverpool, Torres had hobbled off in the 29th minutehaving been clattered by centre back Matthew Mills in the secondminute. Gerrard stayed off at half-time, presumably as a precautionagainst aggravating his troublesome groin.
There were huge gaps at the Anfield Road end as the FA Cup again failed to attract anything close to a full house.
Mills appeared determined to ensure there would be no gaps in theReading defence, judging by a crunching early foul on Torres that leftthe Liverpool striker in a heap inside his own half.
Feeling down: Kuyt looks dejected after Insua miss
The Championship side produced one or two moments that suggested they could cause Liverpool problemswith the quality of their football. Sigurdsson provided reservegoalkeeper Cavalieri with an early test as he unleashed a fierce10th-minute free-kick that was turned behind for a corner at the nearpost.
Church might have done better with a weakly struck shot straight at Cavalieri from the edge of the area in the 11th minute and Rasiak needed no telling that he should have done far better with a golden opportunity 11 minutes later.

Under pressure: Out of the Champions League, out of the Cups and outside the top four, Rafa Benitez has endured a disastrous season

Jamie Carragher made a hash of dealing with Church's dangerousknee-high cross from the right, swinging his left boot at it andmissing completely. It left Rasiak with a free shot at goal that hespooned over from six yards.
Reading continued to force the pace and show the greater initiative, leading to another near-miss in the 26th minute.

The new boy: Maxi Rodriguez was unveiled before kick off

Church launched himself at a right-wing cross whipped in with pace byJobi McAnuff and would surely have scored with the slightest ofcontacts as Cavalieri stood rooted to the spot and saw the cross fly narrowly wide of the far post.
As if Liverpool did not have enough to contend with, they lost dangerman Torres in the 29th minute with a twisted knee. Clearly stilltroubled by Mills's early contact, he trudged off to be replaced byDavid Ngog.

FIVE CUP CALAMITIES               Worcester City 2 Liverpool 1(FA Cup third round, January 15, 1959)Liverpool were in the second division, but this defeat by a Southern League club was still a stunner. Worcester took the lead through Tommy Skuse before an own goal doubled their advantage. A Liverpool penalty came too late.
Liverpool 0 Wimbledon 1(FA Cup Final, May 14, 1988)One of the great FA Cup upsets. Dennis Wise's free kick was nodded in by midfielder Lawrie Sanchez, then keeper Dave Beasant saved John Aldridge's penalty on the hour.
Liverpool 0 Bristol City 1(FA Cup third round replay, January 25, 1994)After a 1-1 draw at Ashton Gate, BrianTinnion won the rematch.
Burnley 1 Liverpool 0(FA Cup third round, January 18, 2005)Left-back Djimi Traore's comical own goal decided Rafa Benitez's first FA Cup match as Liverpool boss.
Liverpool 1 Barnsley 2(FA Cup fifth round, February 16, 2008)Barnsley's Brian Howard scored adramatic, injury-time winner. Dirk Kuyt put Liverpool ahead but Stephen Foster levelled.
Reading's sprightly form was doing caretaker-manager Brian McDermott'schances of a full-time appointment no harm, and the former Arsenalmidfielder looked to be in his element as he repeatedly acknowledged calls for a wave from travelling supporters.
After playing second fiddle for much of the first half, Liverpool began showing belated signs of life with two raids on Reading's goal in the space of a few seconds.
Benayoun met a Philipp Degen pass with a first-time shot that curledpast Adam Federici's despairing dive but just wide in the 40th minute.
Referee Phil Dowd added only one minute at the end of the half but itwas enough for Liverpool to steal the lead. Gerrard exchanged passeswith Ngog and hit a low cross-shot that Bertrand turned past Federici.
Liverpool began to assert themselves in the second half but continued tofind Reading hard to break down, for all the industry and enterprise ofBenayoun and Degen down the flanks.
Reading should have equalised when McAnuff burst through from inside his own half, beating threedefenders on the way and committing Cavalieri with a deft feint. Butinstead of scoring what might have been the goal of the season, McAnuff side-footed inches wide.
 Rafa rocked: Reading's dramatic win puts Liverpool boss Benitez on brinkSurely manager Rafa Benitez must now goLiverpool chief reveals: We will never sell star pair Torres and GerrardLiverpool will get the best out of Maxi Rodriguez, says Rafa BenitezLIVERPOOL FC



Post a Comment