Brighton scored three own goals at Anfield as Liverpool reached the FA Cup quarter-final for the first time since 2006
Preamble Hello. It sounds strange to refer to Liverpool as a cup team, given their 18 league titles and all, but that's what they have become. For almost all of the last 21 years, the cups have been their only hope of trophies. Manchester United and Chelsea are the only English teams to have won more major cups since 1990, with Liverpool collecting three FA Cups, three League Cups, a Champions League and a Uefa Cup.
They redefined the treble in 2001, and might be on for a different kind of double this season. They should beat Cardiff in the League Cup final next week, thus securing their first trophy since the Gerrard Final of 2006, and they are only three games from the FA Cup final. The first of those is this afternoon's match against Brighton, who have a decent record against Liverpool in the FA Cup: they put them out in 1983 and 1984, and almost again in 1991.
Kick off is at 4.30pm.
That 1983 game was a classic of its kind. Jimmy Case scored a screamer to win the match on his return to Anfield, while Phil Neal missed a late penalty and then charged straight back to his station like an exceptionally well trained family pooch.
Liverpool (4-4-2) Reina; Johnson, Carragher, Skrtel, Enrique; Henderson, Gerrard, Adam, Downing; Carroll, Suarez.
Subs: Doni, Maxi, Coates, Kelly, Kuyt, Shelvey, Spearing.
Brighton (4-2-3-1) Brezovan; Calderon, Greer, Dunk, El-Abd; Bridcutt, Navarro; Buckley, Barnes, LuaLua; Vokes.
Subs: Ankergren, Mackail-Smith, Harley, Vicente, Noone, Adestein, Vincelot.
Hot quarter-final draw news The winner of this match will be at home to Stoke in the last eight.
1 min Liverpool kick off from right to left. They are in red; Brighton are in blue and white stripes.
2 min "As good as that Jimmy Case goal is the stand out thing about the clip is his unabashed celebration – old school arms aloft jumping replete with schoolyard pile-on," says Jim McNulty. "Presumably the 'not celebrating in front of your old fans out of respect' nonsense only started in the 90s some time, but it's really good to see someone go completely the other way!"
3 min Steven Gerrard, just outside the Liverpool penalty area, drills a Hollywood pass straight out for a goalkick. The match hasn't got going yet.
GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Brighton (Skrtel 5) That didn't take long. Downing's deflected cross is tipped over smartly by Brezovan, and from the resulting corner Liverpool score. Gerrard whips the corner in from the left, and Skrtel gets away from Barnes at the near post before flicking a routine header into the net. That was offensively easy.
8 min Brighton are starting to settle into their usual passing rhythm. They will probably outpass Liverpool today, and they will almost certainly lose the match.
10 min Downing wins another corner down the left. Gerrard swings it in again, and this time Brezovan punches clear.
12 min A superb first-time cross from Downing on the left hits the defender Dunk on the pate, six yards from goal, and loops into the arms of Brezovan. Dunk knew very little about that.
14 min Thus far this has been tiki taka at its worst from Brighton, pretty but utterly pointless. Every time they get to within 30 yards of goal they are losing possession.
15 min Henderson takes a quick free kick to Gerrard, in an absurd amount of space 25 yards out. He takes a touch and then crunches a shot five yards wide of the near post.
GOAL! Liverpool 1-1 Brighton (LuaLua 17) What a storming equaliser from Kazenga LuaLua. He was fouled 25 yards from goal, a fair way to the left of centre. It seemed a dodgy angle from which to try a shot, but the free-kick was tapped short and then set up for LuaLua, who whistled a fantastic low shot around the wall and in at the near post. That came right off the sweet spot.
19 min Gus Poyet's celebration of the Brighton goal was bizarre. He started wagging his finger in a camp fashion. I'd like to see it again.
21 min The hitherto anonymous Suarez plays a superb return pass to Downing on the left of the box. He stabs it past the advancing keeper Brezovan, but plays it across the face of goal rather than towards the goal. With no Liverpool players in support, Brighton are able to clear.
23 min "At the age of 7 (1991) I went to bed very agitated because my beloved Liverpool team had only managed to draw with my local side Brighton," says Tim Howard. "In retrospect that was the best Brighton team in my lifetime.Divided loyalties again this year as Brighton, and its been hard to say which of the two clubs has underperformed most since 1991. Brighton spent much of the time in the lower leagues and Liverpool.. well where do I start." That was a fine side. John Byrne, Mike Small and the Chewits-wrapper away kit.
24 min Suarez brilliantly slithers past two defenders in the box, but he can't quite get his shot in.
25 min Jose Enrique bursts forward and drags a right-footed shot wide of the near post from 20 yards.
26 min "So Liverpool, eh?" says Phil Podolsky. "I mainly love the fact that they blew on three English losers the kind of money that could've bought them Modric and Aguero."
28 min Suarez's shot is kicked off the line by Calderon. He took a pass from Johnson in the inside-right channel, zipped into the box past a couple of defenders and then toebunged the ball across Brezovan. It was going in, but Calderon had sniffed trouble and got back to shank it over his own bar. That was a really good effort from Suarez, hit much earlier than the keeper expected.
30 min "Come on Rob, we all realise you have to make up the odd email when things are a bit slow. But signing off as Everton's goalkeeper and the egocentric but lovable cop from 'The Wire' seems a tad implausible," says
Scarlett Johanss Max Bluer. They're genuine emails; I swear on my remaining dignity.
31 min That inept oaf Carroll heads a long ball straight up in the air, shoves a Brighton defender out of the way and then gets in an almighty funk when he is penalised. Dear me. That was one of the most inept pieces of football I have ever seen; he made Emile Heskey look like Iniesta.
33 min Carroll misses a sitter. Gerrard curled in a majestic cross from a narrow position on the right towards Carroll at the far post. He had the jump on Greer, eight yards from goal, but planted his header just over the bar. That's a bad miss.
35 min It's all Liverpool just now. Brighton need half time.
36 min Brighton's first decent move in a while ends with Calderon's cross being thrashed away by Glen Johnson.
39 min "Whenever Brighton play a high-profile FA Cup match, naturally the old 'And Smith must score!' line is trotted out," says Mac Millings. "But think about it, Bobbie. Change just one letter, one vowel sound, the setting to a busy pub on a Saturday night, and the universe to a place where such a ridiculously outlandish thing could actually happen, and it could have been you." You do realise that Smith didn't score, so the comparison doesn't really work does i-oh.
40 min El-Abd bobbles a tame shot through to Reina. Brighton have had a good few minutes.
42 min LuaLua runs at Johnson, beats him with a stepover and then drills a shot into the side netting from a tight angle. He should surely have gone across the face of goal.
43 min Downing is fouled just outside the left corner of the box. Gerrard clips in a slightly tame free-kick that is tipped over the bar by Brezovan.
GOAL! Liverpool 2-1 Brighton (Bridcutt own goal 44) Another corner brings a second goal for Liverpool. It was swerved in from the right by Downing and eventually came to Suarez, eight yards out, after an unconvincing punch from Brezovan. Suarez's shot was blocked by the keeper and rebounded to Johnson, who headed it towards goal. Vokes headed it off the line but straight onto the body of Bridcutt on the six-yard line; the ball bounced off him and into the net.
45 min "This game brings back some awful memories for me," says Daniel. "I was a Liverpool fanatic, about to turn 11. The Paisley era was drawing to a close. Jimmy Case's No8 was on the back of the first Liverpool kit I ever had as a five-year-old, with the classic yellow liver bird crest. Bad enough that he got the winner for Brighton that day at Anfield, but I also remember the day for another reason, being at a friend's and walking in on his mum on the pan. 29 years on, I still have one question from that day. Why didn't she lock the door? Why did she put us through that? Has she ever stopped and wondered whether I might still recall her ungroomed groin three decades later? Because I do. I do."
Half time: Liverpool 2-1 Brighton Liverpool deserve to be ahead in a decent match. See you in 10 minutes.
Half-time question from John Reid
"Since Fitba' began in 1992 (c) Sky, can you think of a pound for pound worse signing than Andy Carroll? He is just utterly dire."
Never mind since 1992, and never mind just football.. On a pound-for-pound basis, Carroll is the worst purchase in the history of all society.
46 min Brighton kick off from right to left. They have brought on Craig Noone for Will Buckley.
48 min "As a Liverpool fan I'm hopeful that the signing of Andy Carroll will help us to win the Turner prize," says Niall Mullen. "A modern art project is the only sane reason to explain this whole affair." You might be onto something. It could be an I'm Still Here-style mockumentary.
49 min Suarez tries to chip Brezovan from the edge of the area. It goes straight into the keeper's hands.
50 min "I don't have to watch this game to know that Carroll is again having a mare," says Matthias Scherer, "but I think there needs to be less focus on his (admittedly dire) performances – we get it, he's not as good as people thought (although it's still a mystery to me how someone who looked such a beast for Newcastle can have turned into this harmless lump of hair and bones). Instead, people should ask who the hell sanctioned paying this much money for him. Carroll did not put a price tag on himself and didn't hand over the £30m (or whatever it was) himself, either. Dalglish & co clearly thought he was worth that much and should be held responsible for that decision. They also need to be held responsible for failing to setting up a team to support him and for failing to find the decent footballer that HAS to be hidden in there somewhere."
52 min Enrique's cross is half cleared to Gerrard, 25 yards out. His follow-up shot is going well wide, but Henderson sticks out a foot and diverts it just wide of the post.
53 min A long ball from the Liverpool defence is apparently covered by Brezovan, outside his own area. He completely misses the ball, which gives Suarez a sniff of goal. He is just about to poke the ball in to the empty net when a defender (not sure who) slides across to clear. Suarez was convinced it was handball, although it's hard to be sure. We haven't seen a replay.
55 min A rasping 20-yarder from Downing is beaten away by the diving Brezovan. It was the kind of save any decent keeper should be, but it was still a good effort.
56 min That penalty shout was a figment of Suarez's imagination. It was nowhere near the defender's hand.
GOAL! Liverpool 3-1 Brighton (Carroll 57) An excellent goal from Andy Carroll. Seriously. The move started when he laid the ball off to Gerrard, who clipped it wide to Downing. Carroll lumbered into the box to meet Downing's crisp cutback and rifle an emphatic first-time shot into the net from 12 yards. That's a very good finish, and it's probably no coincidence that it was an instinctive one.
58 min "Your comments on Carroll are all too lazy & predictable," says Eoin Keenan, whose partisan defence of Carroll certainly couldn't be deemed lazy and predictable. "Once you decide he's hopeless you then use every opportunity to ridicule him. I'm not saying he's brilliant but a little objectivity wouldn't go amiss. He's trying hard, making an effort & most Pool fans respect that at least. If you must criticise a Liverpool player, you shouldn't ignore Downing's consistent ineptitude." He's actually been pretty good today, whereas Carroll had been beyond abject until the goal. I'd love to describe Cruyff turns and Zidane pirouettes, but the big man hasn't given me much to work with.
60 min Liverpool are all over Brighton. This could easily end five or six.
61 min "Matthias Scherer does have a point," says Phil Sawyer, showing a flawless understanding of the physical manifestations of masculinity. "After a game last month Carroll said that Kuyt had told him to knock balls down to him so he could run on to them. He did, and Kuyt scored. Serious questions need to be asked if none of the coaching staff mentioned this tactic to him in the previous twelve months."
63 min Brighton are nice to watch, but their good spells do bring the phrase "sterile domination" to mind. It's probably not fair to judge them on this game, though.
65 min "I think the cost of Carroll was masterful bit of negotiating from Newcastle, rather than anything on Liverpool's part, if I remember rightly," says Andrew Booth. "I think the deal Liverpool had in place with Chelsea for Torres was the cost of Andy Carroll + £15m, and knowing this Newcastle simply kept asking for more. At least that's my half assed memory of an interview Henry gave after the window. So really, I don't think Liverpool really cared how much was paid, it certainly doesn't reflect their own valuation of the player." Wasn't it just a PR exercise from Liverpool to reduce any negative reaction from the Torres sale?
68 min A double substitution from Brighton: Vicente and Craig Mackail-Smith comes on for Sam Vokes and Adam El-Abd.
70 min LuaLua's deep cross is chested calmly back to the keeper by Enrique.
GOAL! Liverpool 4-1 Brighton (Bridcutt own goal 71) Liam Bridcutt gets his second own goal of the match. It came from a Brighton corner in fact. Liverpool broke quickly, and a woolly piece of defending from Navarro left Gerrard one on one with Brezovan. His shot was saved, but when he stabbed the loose ball back across goal it hit Bridcutt and bounced into the roof of the net.
73 min One man will know how poor Liam Bridcutt feels: Jamie Carragher scored two own goals in a match on this ground in 1999.
GOAL! Liverpool 5-1 Brighton (Dunk own goal 74) This is ridiculous. It's another own goal, the third of the afternoon, and this one is a slapstick gem. Suarez's cross from the left beats the keeper and hits Lewis Dunk on the chest, five yards from his own goal. Instead of welting the loose ball out of the ground, he decides to play keepy-uppy by controlling it on his knee. With comic inevitability, his attempted control is pitiful and the ball bounces into the net.
77 min A triple substitution for Liverpool: Shelvey, Maxi and Kuyt replace Downing, Gerrard and Henderson.
78 min If the description of some of the goals has not appeared, try pressing F5. There's a problem with the auto-refresh tool.
79 min A fierce 20-yard shot from Carroll is saved by Brezovan, tumbling to his left.
PENALTY TO LIVERPOOL Dirk Kuyt is taken down by Craig Noone. Kenny Dalglish orders his team to let Luis Suarez take it, and here he comes ...
SUAREZ MISSES THE PENALTY. It was a fairly tame effort, passed to the keeper's left, and Brezovan got down to save. From the resulting corner, Kuyt headed against the bar from six yards. He should have scored. Liverpool could easily have had 10 today.
83 min If Liverpool really concentrate in these last few minutes they could score two or three more, because Brighton have gone.
GOAL! Liverpool 6-1 Brighton (Suarez 84) Luis Suarez does get on the scoresheet. Enrique stands up an excellent cross to the far post, Carroll heads it back whence it came, and Suarez nods in from a yard.
86 min Definitive proof that the man in the street is a moron: ESPN viewers have voted Andy Carroll as Man of the Match.
88 min "The way that penalty went down was so embarrassing for Suarez I genuinely found myself blushing," says Phil Sawyer. It was all a bit odd. Why did he need to take it? To give him more confidence? For a fairytale (sic) moment on his first start at Anfield? Because NONE OF IT WAS HIS FAULT? I don't know. It was a little strange.
Full time: Liverpool 6-1 Brighton Liverpool reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup for the first time since 2006. That they won is no surprise; that they won 6-1, with three own goals, was not expected. It's the first time in the FA Cup's history that a side has scored three own goals. Brighton played some pleasant stuff, and scored the goal of the match through Kazenga LuaLua, but their defending was pitiful. Thanks for your emails; night.