Saturday 19th August 2006 12:45 pm @ Bramall Lane, Liverpool

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GOALS: Hulse 46, Fowler pen 70
Click here to watch the goals

LIVERPOOL TEAM: (4-4-2) - Carragher and Riise both suffered first half injuries, Aurelio moved in to left back allowing Riise's replacement Gonzalez to move in to midfield. Fowler was replaced with Pennant late on, allowing Gerrard to push forward.

Kromkamp ][

(Agger 34)

(Gonzalez 26)
Sissoko ][
Fowler 70 pen
(Pennant 83)
][ = Yellow Card
Name = goalscorer and time(s)


Shots: Liv 13 She 5
On target:
Liv 8 She 3 Off target: Liv 4 She 2 Woodwork: Liv 1 She 0
Corners: Liv 12 She 0 Fouls: Liv 16 She 10 Offsides: Liv 5 She 2


Sheffield United: Kenny, Geary, Bromby (Leigertwood 75), Morgan,Unsworth, Ifill (Gillespie 59), Jagielka, Tonge, Armstrong,Hulse (Akinbiyi 86), Webber. Subs Not Used: Sommeil, Nade.
Booked: Morgan.

Att: 31,726
Ref: Rob Styles (Hampshire)

News: Post Match interviews


Bellamy was a constant threat

A controversial penalty spared Liverpool's blushes against Premiership newcomers Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.

The home side had taken the lead through an unmarked Rob Hulse just 52 seconds into the second half.

But they were denied all three points when referee Rob Styles ruled Steven Gerrard had been brought down in the area by Chris Morgan, Robbie Fowler converting from the spot.

For Blades manager Neil Warnock, serving the first game of a two-match touchline ban and watching from the stands, it was a frustrating way for the club to return to the top flight after a 12-year exile.

Starting with just one new face in his line-up in Hulse, it was the £2.2million buy from Leeds who had the ball in the back of the net late in the first half. He slipped a shot beyond Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina, but the offside flag had long been raised to stifle celebrations.

Prior to that, Liverpool had come closest without seriously troubling United's backline, marshalled superbly by captain Morgan.

Craig Bellamy, a £6.5million summer capture from Blackburn, drilled an angled shot through the six-yard box, but beyond the far post in the ninth minute.

Midway through the half a long ball from Sami Hyypia was picked up by John Arne Riise, who made his way to the edge of the area.

Goalkeeper Paddy Kenny was slow off his line and beaten for pace as Riise turned the ball into the area, before the Norwegian went over on his ankle after being challenged by Leigh Bromby.

Morgan was on hand to head away the danger, while for Riise it was the end of his game as he was taken off on a stretcher a few minutes later with his left leg in a brace.

Just moments before Riise's departure, Chris Armstrong was lucky not to turn the ball past Kenny, inadvertently steering Gerrard's free-kick goalwards, only for United's alert goalkeeper to pounce.

Following a clash of heads between Mohamed Sissoko and Armstrong, there was further trouble for Reds boss Rafael Benitez when Jamie Carragher limped off in the 35th minute.

Benitez, though, could still have been smiling come the break but for Kenny who brilliantly tipped over the crossbar a dipping 30-yard free-kick from Fabio Aurelio after Morgan had handled and been booked.

Then on the stroke of half-time the Reds finally prised the United defence open, but a poor first touch from Fowler on the edge of the six-yard area allowed David Unsworth to lash the ball away.

Then came the breakthrough within a minute of the restart, with Unsworth the supplier with a whipped free-kick from the left wing.

No Liverpool defender picked up Hulse, and he was allowed to rise unmarked and power a five-yard header past Reina in front of Bramall Lane's own Kop.

After Hyypia headed against the outside of the right-hand post soon after, and Kenny saved a diving header from Craig Bellamy in the 67th minute, Liverpool saved face three minutes later.

Fowler and Gerrard exchanged a one-two on the edge of the area, with Morgan sliding in to make a challenge on the latter.

There appeared to be minimal contact, with Gerrard's momentum as he clipped in a shot that was scooped up by Kenny, sending him tumbling.

Styles immediately pointed to the spot, allowing Fowler to send Kenny the wrong way after the United keeper had committed himself.

Liverpool pressed for the winner but at the end it was the Premiership newcomers left feeling aggrieved.

Ian Parkes, PA

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BBC Sport
Sheff United 1-1 Liverpool

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Match Report filed: 19th August 2006