confronted abusing yobs
By James Carroll - Shankly Gates
Jamie Carragher was abused and showered
with beer and spit as he went to sign autographs following
the FA Cup tie with Luton Town on Sunday, Liverpool claimed
The Reds' vice-captain was photographed standing on a
barrier confronting the supporters in the home section of
A club spokesperson said today: "Jamie went to sign
autographs for youngsters in the executive boxes.
"Unfortunately, he was subjected to a tirade of foul-mouthed
abuse and also had beer thrown at him."
Carragher was chatting to 8-year-old Hamzah Ahmed when the
His uncle, Sim Hussain from Luton, told the Liverpool Echo:
"It was awful. He was making the kids' day by coming over
and meeting them. He was the perfect gentleman.
"They were swearing at him. The language was terrible and
they were even making references to his mother.
"Even then, Jamie just told them to calm down.
"Then someone spat at him and a drink was thrown at him. We
had to jump into the box so it all stopped.
"I'm from Luton and I thought what happened was disgusting.
He didn't have to come over. But he did.
"There's banter. But that was something completely
"The lads who did it were aged between 18-22. We've been
trying to call Luton FC to tell them what happened but they
just put us on hold."
A Liverpool 'insider' added: "The players were warming down
on the side of the pitch near the tunnel.
"There were family in the executive boxes and they were
running up and down near those boxes.
"They were asked to go and sign some autographs which they
"But as they were jogging up and down they started to get a
lot of earache from some supporters, some of which was quite
"Then somebody showered Jamie with a drink, possibly ale,
which caused him to briefly react."
The matter is unlikely to be investigated by the Football
Liverpool canít afford
sit back and relax
By Ian Rush - Liverpool Echo
Liverpool might have breathed a sigh of
relief at scrambling a fortunate replay at Luton on Sunday,
but I hope that doesnít mean the players now think that the
hard work has been done.
Luton will be just as fired up, just as enthusiastic and
just as energetic next Tuesday Ė and if Liverpool approach
the replay as sloppily as they did the first game they might
suffer an even bigger shock than the one they experienced at
Thereís no getting away from the fact that we were lucky to
be in yesterdayís FA Cup draw.
But thatís the one quality you can always guarantee you will
need if youíre going to have a good cup run.
Lower division teams always raise their game against top
flight opposition. Just look at Huddersfield, Oldham,
Sheffield United and Coventry at the weekend, while even
Arsene Wenger admitted Arsenal were lucky at Burnley.
For Premier League teams to get through, you have to work as
hard as they do in order for your greater skill levels to
That didnít look like it happened at Luton. The team
Liverpool put out should have been good enough to beat a
crisis-hit League One side, but in the event they were lucky
to scramble a draw.
I would say that 99 per cent of foreign managers always look
at the opposition before they name their team and pick a
But when youíre playing a side from a division below you I
think that shouldnít be such a prerequisite.
Of course you should have the opposition watched, but I
donít think they should dictate your team selection.
It will be interesting to see how Luton get on against
Swansea this weekend. I wouldnít be surprised if they
struggle because they will be physically and mentally
shattered after the effort they put in last weekend.
But Iím sure the adrenalin will be pumping again next week
which is why Liverpool will have to match their energy and
Forget any talk about the FA Cup being last on Liverpoolís
list of priorities.
I watched the match on television on Sunday and all I could
hear were Liverpool fans singing.
The FA Cup means a huge amount to the supporters and
everybody would love to have a day out at the new Wembley
Stadium regardless of what competition itís in.
Any team which walks out at Wembley will have experienced a
slice or two of luck along the way. Hopefully that will go
for Liverpool come May 17 this year.
average without dynamic duo
By Mark Lawrenson - Liverpool Daily Post
Same old story for Liverpool Iím afraid.
Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres and Jamie Carragher remain
their only three top class players and without two of them
on Sunday? Average.
They lacked direction, leadership, urgency. And while Luton
played well above themselves as youíd expect, Liverpool
didn't have anyone who seemed capable of changing the game.
I thought Xabi Alonso was outstanding in his first season
but he just doesnít look the same player now and doesnít
seem able to influence a game in the way he once did.
I donít think the other forwards have enough about them when
Torres is out and I donít think they are players who any of
the other top four would take in a hurry.
Javier Mascherano is a good signing but only for the
specific job he does. He doesnít create, play players in or
score goals Ė he does that midfield role that the likes of
Makelele did so well for many years.
But Makelele had great players around him to make him look
more effective Ė if you donít have that then you look more
Itís not a situation that will improve much in this January
transfer window either, with Rafael Benitez rightly
prioritising a defender for the bulk of his spending.
But there is something fundamentally wrong at the club at
the moment and I donít think itís the manager.
Things arenít right off the pitch and clarification from the
Americans about what they want to do is needed soon.
Until we get that, I fear things on the pitch will continue
to be as unstable too.
Hatters deserved win
Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has
conceded the Reds did not deserve to get past Luton at the
first attempt in their FA Cup clash.
Liverpool must replay their third-round tie with the
crisis-hit Hatters after being held to a 1-1 draw at
Kenilworth Road on Sunday.
The result was another disappointing one for the club - who
have slipped 12 points off the pace in the Premier League -
and their under-pressure manager Rafael Benitez.
But defender Carragher admits the team can have few
complaints after a spirited display by the League One club,
who are currently in administration.
"Before the game, we wanted to come here and beat Luton and
we should be beating them," Carragher said on the Reds'
"But, after the 90 minutes, we're delighted to still be in
the cup. We didn't play too well and if anyone deserved to
win, it was Luton. We accept that.
"We didn't perform but, at the end of the day, cup
competitions are all about results and we are still in the
draw for the next round.
"We would have liked a better result because we are the
favourites to go through."
Liverpool were given a stern test by Luton at the same stage
two years ago but Benitez's side eventually prevailed 5-3
after a pulsating encounter.
Carragher says he always expected another tough tie and,
considering a number of Premier League sides have already
been knocked out, he is relieved Liverpool at least have
their name in the fourth round draw.
They will play Swansea or non-league side Havant &
Waterlooville if they progress.
Carragher added: "Luton is a tough place to come. We knew
that from a couple of years ago and, if you look at some of
the results from the weekend, maybe the gap between the
Premier League and the other leagues is not as big as people
"There have been a few shocks and I suppose our result will
go down as a bit of a shock because people expected us to
"I thought Luton were excellent and you have to give them
great credit. They played very well the last time we were
down here and they raised their performance again this
Rafa frustrated by Luton draw
By Paul Hassall - LFC Official Website
Rafa Benitez reflected on his side's 1-1
draw with Luton Town and admitted he was disappointed that
the Reds had failed to book their place in the fourth round
of the competition at the first time of asking.
The Hatters more than matched their more illustrious
opponents for most of the match but when Peter Crouch opened
the scoring with less than 20 minutes remaining Liverpool
were on course to secure a hard-fought victory.
However, within three minutes of taking the advantage the
home side levelled and Benitez was quick to reveal his
frustration at failing to see the game out.
"We knew it could be a tough game and it was a tough game,"
"They (Luton) worked really hard. We also worked hard but
the only thing is when you score a goal you need to use your
experience and control the game. But we conceded within
three minutes and that was really disappointing."
The League One side looked more than capable of causing a
huge cup upset for long periods of the contest and while the
Reds boss acknowledged that his side did not play with their
usual quality, he believes Liverpool will complete the job
in hand in the replay a week on Tuesday.
"I think that it was really difficult because they were
physical and it was a tough game, but in terms of the
workrate I am happy with that," he said.
"In terms of the performance we can do better for sure. At
least we have the chance to play another game at Anfield in
the replay and I think it will be different."
Benitez also defended his decision to rest the likes of Pepe
Reina and Fernando Torres and felt the players on show were
more than capable of taking on the Hatters.
"I think if you play Crouch who is the centre forward of the
national team, Voronin, who is an international player,
Benayoun who is an international player and Kuyt - you are
giving the other team a message that we have very good
players," he said.
"I think that the team scored a goal and then you need to
use your experience and control the game. We couldn't. We
had some chances, they had some chances but that is the
nature of the FA Cup."
Blackwell proud of his players
Luton boss Kevin Blackwell was proud of
his players after they earned a 1-1 draw with Liverpool in
their FA Cup third round encounter.
John Arne Riise's own goal gifted Luton a deserved draw
after Peter Crouch had opened the scoring for Liverpool.
The draw earns the cash-strapped League One outfit a
money-spinning replay at Anfield and Blackwell felt his side
were unfortunate not to win at Kenilworth Road.
"I do think we could have won," Blackwell told Sky Sports 1.
"I think we could rue the chances we missed, but what a
fantastic performance from the players.
"To see a sloppy goal like that go in could have destroyed
all the hard work we had done, but what a great response and
we still had some chances after that.
"As a manager I'm very proud the way the players played
today as we matched football for football with Liverpool and
heart and endeavour.
"I think it would have been unjust [not to have got a draw]
and people watching the game I am sure would concur with
Luton have a deadline of 5pm on Monday to find a new buyer
after being placed in administration in November and
Blackwell hopes their performance will boost their chances
of finding a new owner.
"I'm hopeful that makes us a more attractive proposition,"
added Blackwell. "Hopefully, after tomorrow one or two
things might happen.
"Surely anybody looking on today would think Luton have got
something going there."
Own goal piles
pressure on Benitez
An own goal by Liverpoolís John Arne Riise
piled on the problems for manager Rafael Benitez and earned
Luton a deserved replay in a thrilling third round FA Cup
clash at Kenilworth Road.
Liverpool looked to have won the tie when Peter Crouch made
the most of two defensive blunders to put the Reds in front
in the 72nd minute.
But Luton were level inside three minutes when Riise turned
a cross from Drew Talbot past his own goalkeeper.
It had promised to be a good afternoon for Liverpool when
Ryan Babel tested Dean Brill within seconds of the kick-off.
The striker spun into the penalty before firing in a
right-foot shot that Brill did well to hold at the second
But it was Lutonís turn to squander a real opportunity in
the fourth minute when Dave Edwards got clear of the
Liverpool defence but his shot was well saved by Charles
It was the best possible start to the tie with both sides
playing attacking football. But the lack of finishing class
was proving to be a real problem, particularly for
Dirk Kuyt was the next Red to waste a real chance when he
blazed a pass from Crouch over the crossbar from the edge of
the penalty area.
Babel then provided a fine cross for Kuyt moments later but
the striker failed to direct his diving header on the target
and the chance went begging.
Luton were certainly not being outplayed by the Barclays
Premier League side and they continued to cause the Reds
Lutonís Talbot proved a particular menace and in the 20th
minute he burst down the left flank, left Hyypia for dead,
and delivered a low cross which Itandje had to clear in
England striker Crouch twice wasted clear chances to put
Liverpool in front in the 34th minute but the tall striker
could not find the target on either occasion.
But for all their early dominance, Liverpool struggled to
provide either Crouch or Kuyt with a clear-cut opportunity
to break the deadlock.
Just before the interval, Talbot was in the thick of the
action again when he got the better of Jamie Carragher
before sending over a cross that eluded everybody in the
Under-fire Liverpool boss Benitez must have thought his side
had taken the lead in the 51st minute when Riise let fly
with a 22-yard drive which took a deflection off Chris
But Luton goalkeeper Brill pulled off a magnificent save
when he palmed the ball to safety.
Liverpool had a lucky escape themselves in the 54th minute
when Darren Currie crossed perfectly for Talbot but instead
of planting the ball into the net, he headed the ball over
the crossbar from six yards.
It was their second good chance of the game and they almost
paid for their wastefulness seconds later when Brill froze
on the edge of his penalty area and was robbed of the ball
Luckily for Brill, Luton managed to clear the danger as
Babel failed to control the ball quickly enough.
Lutonís Calvin Andrew was off target when decided to let fly
from 25 yards in the 58th minute but the home side were
growing in confidence.
Liverpoolís Riise was booked for bringing down Talbot when
Currie put the Luton man in the clear. Riise was lucky to
escape with just a yellow card as Talbot appeared to have a
clear run on goal.
Currie then sent a right-foot volley just wide of the far
post as Luton kept up the pressure.
But Liverpool looked to have won the tie when they scored
against the run of play.
A catalogue of defensive errors finally led to Crouch
breaking the deadlock in the 73rd minute.
Chris Coyne lost possession on the halfway line and there
seemed no danger until Perryís wayward header allowed
substitute Andriy Voronin a clear run on goal.
But although Brill saved Voroninís shot it ran free to
Crouch to slot home.
But Luton deservedly earned a replay when Riise turned a
cross from Talbot into his own net from six yards just three