After The Match 


Burnley-Liverpool 1-0 (0-0)              Tue Jan 18.            FA Cup (3. round)
Goals: Traore (52 og)
Team: Dudek, Raven, Hyypia, Whitbread, Traore, Nunez, Biscan, Welsh, Potter, Warnock, Sinama Pongolle
Subs: Baros (Traore 65), Mellor (Welsh 75)
Not used: Harrison, Otsemobor, Smyth
Yellow: Baros, Mellor, Raven                   Chaplow
Red: Nunez
Referee: M Clattenburg

                                               MATCH-REPORTS & RESULTS 
Shots on target: 4-6
Shots off target: 7-4
Fouls conceded: 10-10
Corners: 7-1
Yellow: 1-3




HEADLINES "It was a mistake
in the six-yard box."

                  Rafel Benitez
1901: Reds showed a lack of respect
1801: Benitez stands by decision
1801: Cotterill delighted
1801: Reds dumped out by Clarets


Reds showed a lack of respect

By Tommy Smith - Liverpool Echo

The FA Cup is a competition you have to respect. Liverpool did not give it that respect last night.

There is still an aura about the FA Cup: that magic of a good run for the fans, thrilling games, the possibilities of making it to the latest stages, even the final.

Ask Exeter City; ask Sheffield United; and yes, ask Burnley.

The FA Cup offers an opportunity, too, of clinching a European spot for next season.

Rafa Benitez was right to give some of his younger squad players the chance to gain experience in the Carling Cup. They have risen to the occasion and got excellent results at Millwall and Tottenham. But the FA Cup is a different matter.

The manager should have fielded his strongest side. He should have made sure his team had the upper hand over Burnley, then introduced some of his new players.

Benitez is not acclimatised to all aspects of the English game, and certainly not in respect of what the FA Cup is all about. It was a costly lesson.

He can't be blamed totally, though. He has been left with a weakened squad and has done extremely well to make the progress in both the Carling Cup and the Champions League.

But the Burnley defeat should have left him in no doubt that players like Traore, Biscan and Nunez are just not good enough. When they are in the side, I shudder.

They were among the "senior" players selected and they should have given the lead to the less experienced players. But they were awful.

Nunez, as a winger, is a left back's dream. He can't get past anyone, his crossing is poor and he gives the ball away too easily.

I don't know what Traore was doing for the goal and I felt the Reds were playing with eight men.

I would definitely give young Warnock a run in Traore's position.

I make no excuse for repeating myself: in the Sixties, Seventies, Eighties and to a lesser extent the Nineties, the Reds thrived on consistency. That was the watchword.

Now, they're anything but consistent, and you cannot even guarantee they will play well in both halves of the same match!

I felt ashamed and furious at the way we played last night. The fans were certainly let down.

The FA Cup symbolises all that is best about the English game. But you have to be up for it. The Reds weren't.

I would sooner the Reds had beaten Burnley than even seen them going on to win the Carling Cup. That's what the competition means to me and every fan.

Now, another avenue has been closed to possible success this season.

Rafa needs quick cash injection for new blood

ON the evidence of recent results, Rafa Benitez needs cash - and quickly.

He has bought Fernando Morientes, but still needs a keeper urgently, plus a defender, midfielder and another striker. I would like to see at least a couple more signings before the transfer window closes.

Fourth place is the best we can achieve in the Premiership this season - and that is by no means a foregone conclusion while there is inconsistency in performances.

The manager will struggle between now and the end of the season if he is not allowed to strengthen further. He definitely needs more quality.

Benitez stands by decision

ITV Football

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez stood by his decision to field a weakened squad against Championship side Burnley after the Clarets sent them crashing out of the FA Cup.

After the third-round tie was initially postponed due to bad weather, Burnley were keen to take the game to their more illustrious opponents and deserved their 1-0 win, which came thanks to an embarrassing Djimi Traore own goal.

Benitez fielded a number of youngsters with only a handful of first-team regulars included in the starting line-up. But the Spaniard believes the number of games his side are forced to play justifies his team selection.

"We have done good in the second half. They started at a high tempo and played well, after that we controlled the game but at the end there was a big mistake," he told Sky Sports.

"Sometimes they had counter attacks but I think at least a draw would have been the best result."

Asked whether his selection of youngsters was the problem, Benitez said: "They tried. The problem is when you play four competitions you need to use your squad. If you can't play four competitions you need to focus on the next one.

"I don't think it was a mistake. I am happy with the players, they tried. We worked hard, the squad in the Carling Cup was the same idea and we win but not today. We now have three competitions. All of us are disappointed with the result but that is football."

Traore's own goal will prove to be one of the most memorable of modern times, as the defender pirouetted and back-heeled the ball into his own net.

Benitez was unhappy but not scathing about the mistake.

"It was a mistake in the six-yard box, you need to clear the ball and we need to learn about those things in future."

Cotterill delighted

By Paul Higham - Planet Football/Sky Sports

Burnley manager Steve Cotterill was delighted with their giant killing act on Liverpool on Tuesday night.

The Clarets were full of spirit against a much-weakened Liverpool side, although they never looked like scoring until Djimi Traore bundled the ball into his own net six minutes after half time.

Rafa Benitez's decision to play a number of youngsters seemed to have backfired, although in truth his second string played poorly on the night.

Cotterill's troops always seemed to want the ball more though, and they were rewarded with a fourth round tie at home to Bournemouth.

"It's a fantastic win for us," beamed Cotterill. "We are delighted with the boys.

"The first half we were the better side, but I thought they were the better side in the second half.

"But in the end we got perhaps what we deserved.

"The team ethic was great, we had good individuals but they all work in a team.

"We started to panic when they brought the big guns on and I was delighted when it was over.

"For me, it's probably the best FA Cup moment of my career."

Youngster Richard Chaplow was the star of the show for Burnley, crossing the ball for Traore's horrendous error.

"We dug in hard, got on top of them and won our headers," said Chaplow.

"We tried to keep the ball when we had it.

"Liverpool came here and tried to play football but it was a bad pitch, and they were unlucky to lose in the end.

"For the goal I just stuck the ball across the box and Traore did the rest."

Reds dumped out by Clarets

By Paul Higham - Planet Football/Sky Sports

Burnley dumped a young Liverpool side out of the FA Cup on Tuesday with Djimi Traore's bizarre own goal putting The Clarets through.

Rafa Benitez opted to make wholesale changes for the trip to Turf Moor, but his decision to give the youngsters a chance backfired as they failed to perform on the night, and were outbattled by the Championship side.

Burnley flew into their Premiership opponents from the opening whistle, with Jerzy Dudek tested by two early strikes.

The hosts where hoping that the Polish shot-stopper was still nervy after his blunder against Manchester United on Saturday, and he did look a little shaky as he parried Richard Chaplow's low effort.

Micah Hyde fired a shot straight at Dudek following a corner, and the Liverpool keeper was relieved to just turn the ball behind for the corner.

Steve Cotterill's side forced a flurry of early corners that threatened the visiting defence, but Sami Hyypia was standing strong in the heart of the backline.

Igor Biscan wasted Liverpool's first chance when he planted a free header from a corner tamely at a defender.

Burnley were well on top but Florent Sinama-Pongolle could have given The Reds the lead when he raced into the clear after a Lee Roche mistake, but the young Frenchman could not get a shot off in time and Brian Jensen was able to smother the ball.

Burnley were gifted the lead six minutes after the interval when Traore totally lost his head inside his own six yard box to bundle the ball into his own net.

Chaplow burst into the box but his cutback from the left was easy to deal with for Traore, but he amazingly opted to try and turn on the ball instead of clearing the danger, but got it all wrong and somehow diverted the ball past Dudek.

Benitez was forced into a change after the goal, and brought on Milan Baros for the goalscorer Traore, in a bid to spark more attacking intent from his lacklustre side.

Chaplow had a glorious chance to seal the tie on 71 minutes when he arrived on to Roche's back post knockdown, but Dudek managed to tip his effort wide.

Substitute Neil Mellor lifted an effort over from the edge of the box when Baros was well placed, as Liverpool tried to exert some pressure.

Stephen Warnock's run ended with a lay-off to Biscan on the edge of the box, but the Croatian dragged his shot woefully wide of the target.

Things got worse for Liverpool four minutes from time when Tony Grant theatrically fell to the ground after Antonio Nunez had stupidly waved an elbow at him, and the Spaniard was rightly dismissed.

Cotterill's troops hung on for a famous FA Cup shock to delight the home fans, while Reds fans will be ruing Benitez's decision to field a weakened team.

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Thor Zakariassen