three days after the Reds' Carling Cup semi-final success against Manchester City, now United it's turn !

Liverpool have now knocked both Manchester clubs out of cup competitions in the space of four days, which counts as success in these parts whatever the league situation. Last week Kenny Dalglish was scathing of his players' efforts in losing to lowly Bolton Wanderers, this time the smile was back, at least until he was asked a question about the Liverpool fans' constant booing of Evra. Before considering the football, what there was of it, you will be wanting to know about the chanting. Liverpool obviously won the volume contest. There were far more people singing: "There's only one lying bastard," than were rejoining with: "There's only one racist bastard." With all the pre-match debate focusing on Evra's participation, United's goalkeeping situation had been overlooked, Ferguson sprang a surprise by choosing this high-profile encounter to reintroduce David de Gea to first-team duties. It was not a decision that paid off.

Liverpool began to crowd out the young goalkeeper at corners and took the lead after 21 minutes when Steven Gerrard swung one over from the left and De Gea came for the ball but found himself blocked by Andy Carroll, leaving Daniel Agger an easy header. United had begun the match looking the more threatening, with Antonio Valencia striking a post after a good run, though until the first goal there was little apart from the rivalry between fans to quicken the pulse and almost no chance of the occasion being remembered for the football, as had been the wish of both managers beforehand. Playing with only Carroll up front Liverpool rarely bothered De Gea apart from set pieces, and though United also lacked their usual attacking edge in the absence of Wayne Rooney they managed to get back into the game with a well-worked goal before the interval. Antonio Valencia sent Rafael da Silva racing down the right with a backheel flick and, though José Enrique was still favourite to reach the ball first, the United full-back took on his opposite number and delivered a low cross, met perfectly at the near post by Park Ji-sung with a firm finish that surprised Pepe Reina.

Liverpool had an appeal for a penalty turned down at the start of the second half when Chris Smalling stumbled in the area and appeared to put his hand on the ball in falling, then a minute later a rare chance fell Danny Welbeck's way and he failed to take advantage, pushing the ball past Reina towards an empty goal but not firmly enough to prevent Martin Skrtel arriving to tidy up behind his goalkeeper. Charlie Adam came on for the last half-hour and immediately offered a more direct threat than Jamie Carragher had managed from defensive midfield, launching a high cross intended to test De Gea and presumably gaining encouragement when the goalkeeper fumbled it to concede another corner. When Gerrard tried the same tactic from a similar distance it was clear Liverpool had been instructed to play on De Gea, though the Liverpool captain left the field shortly afterwards, making way for Craig Bellamy. Just when it looked as though the afternoon would end in a tame draw, Liverpool struck. (

Gerrard was replaced by Liverpool's midweek hero Craig Bellamy with just under 20 minutes to go as both sides pressed for a winner. The game looked to be heading towards a draw until Kuyt — another second-half sub — became the hero with his first goal of the season. Reina's long boot forward was flicked on by Carroll over the head of Evra and the Dutch striker found himself clear through on goal to fire past De Gea at his near post. Kuyt should have put the game to bed moments later after Carroll had hit the bar but it wasn't to matter for the Reds who can now look forward to Sunday's draw. (


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