An entertaining match
A full house at Gresty Road saw an entertaining match played in good
spirits with hardly a bad tackle to be found.
Gerard Houllier once again fielded two different teams for each half, and
the opening stages were all Liverpool as they pressed towards the Crewe
Clayton Ince produced his first of many saves from a Riise free-kick after
only 2 minutes. The Crewe goalkeeper was to thwart Liverpool on countless
times and was deservedly named the man of the match.
In the first 15 minutes Ince saved Crewe time and again, with the unlucky
Baros his main victim.
It was a surprise when the home side took the lead on 19 minutes, a Wright
cross eluded everyone apart from Vaughan who glanced his header passed
All eyes were on Harry Kewell and he provided a taste of things to come
when he unleashed a whipping left footed drive that clipped the top of the
crossbar from 25 yards out.
The bar once again came to Crewe's rescue, as a deflected Kewell effort
tested the defence.
That was to be Kewell's last action as he limped off with an ankle injury.
French youngster Anthony Le Tallec replaced the Australian.
Clayton Ince was proving hard to beat all afternoon, but his one mistake
led to Liverpool's equaliser. Ince had brilliantly turned around a Hyypia
header for a corner, but from the corner he misjudged the flight of
Riise's cross and Michael Owen headed home from close range at the far
The second half saw Liverpool's other French youngster Florent Sinama
Pongolle in action for the first time, and he nearly capped a satisfying
debut with a goal just before the hour mark.
Heskey found himself clear on the right but he saw Sinama in a better
position and squared the ball only for Sinama's first time shot to rebound
off the post.
Three minutes later, a vicious shot from the impressive Cheyrou produced
another save from Ince.
Liverpool fielded five French players in the second half, and who knows if
those in the ground were witnessing half of the future French national
Gerrard lost possession in the middle of the park and Kirkland came to his
rescue with a diving save to his left from the resultant shot.
A Crewe free-kick nearly produced Crewe's second goal of the game, as
Chris Karagianis, the Belgium born American forward blasted wide from only
a few yards out.
Unfortunately for Sinama he suffered a slight knock and had to be replaced
by Neil Mellor after 71 minutes.
The main reason why Liverpool had only scored one all afternoon – Clayton
Ince was replaced by Stuart Tomlinson in goal with 10 minutes left.
The impressive Le Tallec played Emile Heskey clear with a brilliant
through ball over the top of Crewe's defence. Heskey's shot beat the
keeper but rebounded across the face of the goal after hitting the post.
This was the fourth time the woodwork had came to Crewe's rescue.
Neil Mellor then headed over from 6 yards out as Liverpool looked more and
more like scoring.
In the final minute the young replacement keeper produced a great save of
his own from a left footed volley by Gregory Vignal.