FA Cup 3rd Round
Saturday 3rd January 2009 @ 5.25pm
Deepdale Stadium, Preston
An Albert Riera super strike and a late Torres strike sent the reds through to the 4th round of the FA Cup against a spirited Preston side. Despite dominating the first half, Liverpool squandered numerous chances allowing Preston to threaten in the second half before the long awaited return of Torres helped the reds to seal the result.
Benitez was back in the dug-out for the first time since his kidney stones operation, and sent out a strong looking Liverpool side albeit with Diego Cavalieri replacing Pepe Reina in goal.
Chances fell to both sides early on but the reds got a strangehold on the game and in the 26th minute a twisting and turning Riera fired a beautiful strike in to the top right corner of the net. It’s not the first gem from Riera we have seen this season, and we doubt it is going to be the last.
Despite the reds domination we went in only 1-0 up at half time. Some wasteful shooting by Keane the biggest culprit in the half – the Irishman could well have had his first reds hat-trick and with Torres warming up the signs look ominous for Liverpool’s number seven.
An injury to Xabi Alonso on the stroke of half time meant Lucas was sent on as his replacement for the second half. And the reds should have doubled their lead when Daniel Agger had a free header, but agonisingly put the ball wide.
With half an hour to go another Gerrard shot was narrowly tipped over by the Preston keeper who was having a fine game.
The last half an hour though, the reds faced the expected Preston surge. Preston headed the ball in to the net only for the goal to be disallowed. TV replays showed clearly that Parkin had held Carragher down, preventing him from getting to his feet.
With 17 minutes left, Keane was replaced by Fernando Torres with cheers from the Liverpool supporters. As Preston attempted the equaliser the reds eventually found the space, and Gerrard coolly played in Torres to get his name on the scoresheet.
Nando is back. And the reds progress to the next round.
Post match interview with Carragher and brief goal clips
Liverpool: Cavalieri, Carragher, Hyypia, Agger, Insua, Alonso (Leiva Lucas 46), Mascherano (Aurelio 83), Babel, Gerrard, Riera, Keane (Torres 73).
Subs Not Used: Reina, Ngog, El Zhar, Skrtel.
Goals: Riera 25, Torres 90.
Preston: Lonergan, Jones, Mawene, St. Ledger, Davidson (Nolan 56), Sedgwick, Chaplow (Nicholson 81), McKenna, Wallace, Parkin, Mellor (Elliott 62).
Subs Not Used: Chris Neal, Brown, Carter, Whaley.
Ref: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire).
Match Thread and post match discussion here