Saturday, 21 April 2012

FA cup final - How Liverpool got there

Will Gerrard be lifting this trophy again on May the 5th?

Liverpool's last FA cup win was in 2006 in which the final was dubbed the 'Steven Gerrard' final. Since then though, Liverpool have struggled to make an impact on the FA cup, losing out in the 3rd round three times. It was said right from the off this season that Liverpool were going to take both cup competitions very seriously and this has been proven by reaching the final of both competitions.
In a way this has papered over the cracks of the poor league form but the way I'm looking at it is that Kenny Dalglish will have taken us the Wembley not once, not twice but three times in his first full season in charge which is quite a feat really.
It seems like a long time ago Liverpool were playing Oldham on a cold Friday night was which was marred by the false accusations. I'm going to remind everyone how Liverpool reached the FA cup final with a round by round little match report.

Third Round

Liverpool 5-1 Oldham

The team - Reina, Kelly, Carragher, Coates, Aurellio, Maxi, Spearing, Gerrard, Shelvey, Bellamy, Kuyt.

With the Luis Suarez racism verdict at boiling point and with Liverpool losing at Man City 3-0 just three days before the build up to the match wasn't ideal. This was shown in the first half hour as Oldham came out of the traps looking up for it as Carragher and Coates looking very shakey in particular. Oldham took a deserved lead in the 27th minute as Robbie Simpson scored in front of the kop from 30 years, a career highlight, I'm sure.
This woke Liverpool up as they went up the other end and scored immediately a Shelvey shot took a deflection of Bellamy and found it's way in to the net and then a foul on Maxi in the box allowed Gerrard to score his 2nd goal from his comeback from an ankle infection.
In the second half, it took Liverpool a while to find a 3rd goal but once they did find one, Oldham rolled over. Jonjo Shelvey scored his first goal for the club from a Craig Bellamy cross and then Stewart Downing and Andy Carroll came off the bench to score confidence boosting goals.
The aftermath of the game was ruined by allegations of racial abuse from one of the Liverpool fans toward to Oldham defender Tom Adeyemi. Adeyemi broke down in tears and was visibly upset from the abuse from a fan (who later had all charges cleared).

Fourth Round

Liverpool 2-1 Manchester United

The team - Reina, Kelly, Skrtel, Agger, Enrique, Maxi, Carragher, Gerrard, Henderson, Downing, Carroll.

The draw for the fourth round threw up a tasty tie at Anfield. With the suspended Luis Suarez watching on from the crowd, there was worries there could be a bad taste in the atmosphere. Liverpool's performance stopped this from happening as they knocked out their big rivals with a late winner. Liverpool started the game in the ascendency as under pressure keeper David De Gea was at fault for Agger's header which gave Liverpool the lead.
United hit back though before half time with a ball pulled back to Park who thumped the ball in to the net to leave the game finely balanced. The turning point in a tight game was both teams substitutions as United withdrew the instrumental Scholes and Liverpool brought on attacking players in the form of Kuyt and Bellamy. In the 88th minute Andy Carroll flicked on a long ball to send Kuyt running through who gladly finished to send the Kop wild and Liverpool in to the fifth round much to Ferguson's annoyance.

Fifth Round

Liverpool 6-1 Brighton

The team - Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Skrtel, Enrique, Henderson, Adam, Gerrard, Downing, Carroll, Suarez.

With the Carling cup final a week away it would have been seen as good time to rest and rotate but Kenny Dalglish put out a near full strength side against the Championship outfit Brighton. When Skrtel headed an opener in the fifth minute many thought that the game was over there and then but Brighton hit back well and Lua Lua hammered home a free kick from 25 yards. An Bridcutt own goal just before half time gave Liverpool the advantage again.
Brighton started to tire in the second half and a great Stewart Downing cross to set Andy Carroll up for his second goal in the competition put Liverpool 3-1 up. Two more comic own goals from Brighton meant Liverpool were leading 5-1 with another 15 minutes to go. There was still time for Suarez to miss a penalty and score a tap in which meant it really was a rout.


Liverpool 2-1 Stoke

The team - Reina, Kelly, Skrtel, Carragher, Enrique, Maxi, Gerrard, Spearing, Downing, Suarez, Carroll.

With Liverpool coming off the back of a Steven Gerrard inspired win over Everton in midweek, confidence was high around Anfield. When Luis Suarez curled in a magnificent shot from the edge of the box to give Liverpool the lead another rout was on the cards but Stoke came back well and from a controversial corner ex-red Peter Crouch headed home from 6 yards to pull Stoke level.
The second half was a tight affair with not many chances being created the one clear cut one Liverpool did create was put away well by Stewart Downing to give Liverpool the lead and ultimately the game in the 57th minute. Liverpool were becoming the 'cup kings'.


Liverpool 2-1 Everton

The team - Jones, Johnson, Carragher, Skrtel, Agger, Henderson, Spearing, Gerrard, Downing, Suarez, Bellamy.

The all Mersey affair at Wembley was brilliant for the City. Everton perhaps coming in as slight favourites as Liverpool's form running up to the game had been awful despite doing the double over the blues. The game started off slowly with a few half chances for each side. The opening goal came for Everton as a glaring defensive error from Liverpool cost them as Jelavic took advantage of a mix up between Agger and Carragher to put Everton in front.
Liverpool really did come out firing in the second half but Everton kept that at bay as Carroll wasted a great chance at the back post. Liverpool did finally equalise through top scorer Luis Suarez. A horrible error from Sylvain Distin allowed Luis Suarez to run through one on one and put the ball past Howard to put Liverpool back on terms.
Liverpool really were on top now and were making all the running. Carroll missed two more good chances and Kenny brought on Craig Bellamy and Maxi Rodriguez and after Steven Gerrard won a free kick near the corner flag in the 86th minute. Bellamy whipped in a great ball which Andy Carroll's back header in to the corner of the net send the travelling Kop wild.

This means Liverpool will return to Wembley in two weeks time to take on Chelsea in the FA cup final looking to complete the cup double like they did in 2001. I see no reason why the lads can't make it 3 out 3 at Wembley and make amends for the poor league form.

You can follow me on twitter @AnfieldReds_

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