We’re at Anfield as Liverpool and Brighton battle for the right to play Stoke City in the FA Cup quarter-finals…
Strangely enough there’s no sign of Craig Bellamy in the Liverpool squad, but Carroll, Suarez and Gerrard all start for Kenny Dalglish’s side.
Brighton include Alan Navarro, who had a spell with the Reds a decade or so ago.
Here are today’s teams…
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Skrtel, Jose Enrique, Henderson, Gerrard, Adam, Downing, Suarez, Carroll
Subs: Doni, Maxi, Coates, Kuyt, Spearing, Shelvey, Kelly
Brighton: Brezovan, Calderon, Greer, Dunk, El-Abd, Buckley, Bridcutt, Navarro, LuaLua, Vokes, Barnes
Subs: Ankergren, Noone, Mackail-Smith, Vicente, Harley, Vincelot, Agdestein
The referee is Andre Marriner.
Andre Marriner has a word with Brighton goalkeeper Brezovan over the positioning of his water bottle. Who said beach ball?
Brezovan tips an effort from Stewart Downing over the bar. Knowing the former Villa man, it was a back pass gone wrong.
Liverpool 1-0 Brighton Martin Skrtel’s header, from Steven Gerrard’s corner, is too hot to handle. It’s a goal and the home side has the lead. Brilliant start for Liverpool but Brighton counter with an effort that Pepe Reina saves.
That was Skrtel’s third goal of the season. Surely he must be the most underrated defender in the Premier League? So underrated, in fact, that I’ve never seen him named in a list of the Premier League’s most underrated defenders.
Liverpool 1-1 Brighton Kazenga LuaLua scores a brilliant free-kick equaliser for Brighton. Credit also to Ashley Barnes, who pulled the Liverpool wall away. Great start here.
Liverpool almost retake the lead as Downing and Suarez exchange passes but the winger prods the ball wide of goal. Meanwhile, Carroll and El-Abd are having their own private tussle.
Suarez almost jinks his way into a scoring position but Brighton clear the ball as he gets his shot away. The waiting Carroll is caught by surprise and the chance disappears. Liverpool are dominating possession but the Seagulls still look a threat.
Jose Enrique shoots from distance after stealing the ball from Buckley but his shot is weak.
So, so close for Liverpool. Suarez bears down on goal but his shot from the outside of his right foot is cleared by Calderon. There had been barely a boo in the first 15 minutes of the match, but the Uruguayan has come alive.
Meanwhile, Charlie Adam blasts over.
Another big chance for Liverpool. Glen Johnson finds his captain and Gerrard’s excellent cross from deep is headed over by Carroll.
Corner for Liverpool as Brezovan fumbles. Henderson crosses but Barnes clears. The score is still level. Carroll stumbles in the box, appeals for a penalty but it isn’t given. He clearly slipped.
A while now since we’ve seen a Brighton attack, but the defence is doing a great job of negating whatever threat is posed by Carroll. If, indeed, he does pose a threat.
Five minutes to half-time and things have gone quiet. The Brighton fans are in full voice, though.
LuaLua beats Johnson on a mazy run, but finds the side netting. At the other end, Calderon is penalised for a foul on Downing on the edge of the area. Gerrard lines it up… and Brezavan tips it over. Too much height from Gerrard.
Liverpool 2-1 Brighton It’s scrappy, it’s an own goal, but it’s no more than Liverpool deserve. Suarez shoots, the ball deflects to Johnson, and his header is turned into his own net by Bridcutt.
And that’s it for the first half. Liverpool led early through Martin Skrtel, before Kazenga LuaLua equalised with a fine effort. A Liam Bridcutt OG just before the break restored the Reds’s lead.
The second half is about to get going and Brighton have sent on Craig Noone. Noone is a former Liverpool junior and roofer, who worked on the roof of Steven Gerrard’s house. Nice bit of trivia there.
Gerrard is off target with his shot. Henderson flicks it and tries to direct it on target, but the chance goes begging.
Suarez claims handball after Brighton ‘keeper Brezovan comes tearing out of the box. It isn’t given. A subdued opening to the half, ten minutes have elapsed…
Liverpool 3-1 Brighton A top finish from Andy Carroll, who steers home a Stewart Downing cross after fine work in midfield by Gerrard and Suarez. Only Carroll’s sixth of the season and, incredibly, Downing’s first assist in a Liverpool shirt.
Liverpool spill forward after a Brighton attack with Gerrard, but his pass to Downing is over-cooked. The Premier League side is coasting here.
Steven Gerrard has impressed today, full of dynamism and passing well. It’s been a good Liverpool performance, if only they could tally their cup form with their league showings.
That, of course, is not to rule Brighton out. Gus Poyet brings on the former Valencia and Spain winger Vicente, while Craig Mackail-Smith is also on. Noone – who just shot wide – has gone to left-back.
Liverpool 4-1 Brighton Henderson breaks and his looping pass finds Gerrard. The chance seemed to have gone before the Reds captain lashes the ball in off Bridcutt. An unwanted brace of own goals for the young Brighton player.
Liverpool 5-1 Brighton Another own goal from Brighton! This time it’s Lewis Dunk who mis-controls a cross from Suarez and it goes over the line before he can clear. Brezovan was dreadful again. Meanwhile – three Liverpool substitutions. Maxi, Shelvey and Kuyt are on for Downing, Gerrard and Henderson.
Nothing to do with this game, but Twitter’s Jack Wilshere is angry…
Oh mercy! Kuyt is fouled in the box and Liverpool are awarded a penalty. Kenny Dalglish signals that he wants Suarez to take it. Up steps the striker but his dummy is ridiculous, and arrogant, and the ‘keeper saves it. It doesn’t make any difference but it was fated as soon as Dalglish got involved.
Liverpool 6-1 Brighton Brighton lose the ball again and Liverpool break forward. The ball is crossed and Carroll heads back into the path of Suarez, who has his goal. Not sure if Carroll meant that.
Andy Carroll has been named man of the match. It should have been Gerrard (or Bridcutt, but ESPN lack a sense of humour, it seems).
There’s a streaker on the pitch. Cue mock consternation from the ESPN commentators. Jamie Carragher gave the offender a hug which, frankly, makes him even more of a legend.
The match is over and it’s the first time in the history of the FA Cup that one team has scored three own goals in the same game. Liverpool win 6-1 through goals from Skrtel, Bridcutt (two OGs), Carroll, Dunk (OG) and Suarez. Suarez also missed a penalty.
Liverpool play Stoke in the semi-finals.
Thanks for keeping up.