After The Match 

            


Birmingham-Liverpool 0-7 (0-3)      21.03.06        FA Cup (6. r.)
Goals: Hyypia (1), Crouch (4, 38), Morientes (59), Riise (70), Tebily (77 o.g.), Cisse (89)
Team: Reina, Finnan, Traore, Hyypia, Carragher, Gerrard, Sissoko, Alonso, Riise, Garcia, Crouch
Subs: Kewell (Traore 22), Morientes (Crouch 56),
Cisse (Gerrard 71)
Not used: Dudek, Kromkamp
Yellow: Clemence (45), Johnson (67), Bruce (80)
Red: None
Referee: Rob Styles
Attendance: 27,378 
TEAM STATS
Shots on target: 1-9
Shots off target: 3-3
Possession: 40-60
Fouls conceded: 14-14
Corners: 3-5
Offsides: 3-3
Yellow: 3-0
Red:


 

0-0
HEADLINES "I just think we're getting more luck now."
   Steven Gerrard

2103: Rafa: Luck has returned
2103: Gerrard: Now bring on Everton
2103: Reds run rampant at St Andrews


 



Cisse and Riise in seventh heaven. (Photo: Reuters)

MARCH 21
Rafa: Luck has returned

By Tom Adams - Sky Sports

Rafa Benitez was pleased to see the luck run for his strikers after his Liverpool side blew Birmingham City away in a 7-0 FA Cup quarter final victory.

St Andrews witnessed the full power of the Reds attack as Fernando Morientes, Djibril Cisse and Peter Crouch found themselves amongst the scorers, putting to bed the myth that Liverpool are goal-shy up front.

Explaining why his front-men have now hit the goal trail after a barren start to 2006, Benitez blamed bad luck in the early part of the year.

"I'm delighted with the final result and also the performance of the players," Benitez told Sky Sports.

"They worked really hard played well and scored goals.

"Sometimes you cannot score goals after 30 attempts, as against Charlton for example, today every time we shoot, it was a goal.

"We had some players with fresh legs and we say to them we need to keep going and they were thinking about the clean sheet and also to score more goals, if possible.

"I say always sometimes it is luck, we have quality the strikers are really good, but sometimes you need luck and in this case, we had a lot of luck."

With The Premiership seemingly out of sight and his side already out of the UEFA Champions League, Benitez also insisted the club were determined to claim another piece of silverware under his guidance.

"It's important for us to win trophies and if you can play well and go forward in a competition like this, it's very important for us," Benitez added.

"We know it is important for them (the fans) and the players want to win another trophy and they will try."


MARCH 21
Gerrard: Now bring on Everton

By Paul Eaton - LFC Official Website

Steven Gerrard says Liverpool will go into Saturday's derby full of confidence after their magnificent seven against Birmingham in the FA Cup quarter finals.

The Reds recorded their best ever victory away from Anfield in the competition as they comfortably saw off the challenge of Steve Bruce's men to secure their place in the semi-final draw.

With Everton due at Anfield in just four days time, Gerrard insists this result and performance couldn't have come at a better time.

He said: "I was listening to some of the Everton players saying they were happy to be coming to Anfield full of confidence, but I think it's the same for us now.

"We've been getting criticised for not scoring goals of late but hopefully we have proved the critics wrong. We're really pleased with our performance tonight.

"Nothing has changed in terms of why we're suddenly scoring goals. I just think we're getting more luck now. We've always been playing well but the strikers hadn't been having much luck. Now they're starting to go in and we're delighted."


MARCH 21
Reds run rampant at St Andrews

By Tom Adams - Sky Sports

Birmingham City's terrible season plumbed new depths, as a first-half capitulation resulted in a 7-0 destruction at the hands of Liverpool in the FA Cup quarter finals.

The cup had provided the only respite for Blues in what has been a shocking campaign for manager Steve Bruce, but their run came brutally to an end at the hands of Rafa Benitez's rampant Reds.

Two goals inside the first five minutes from Sami Hyypia and Peter Crouch ended the tie as a contest, and Liverpool powered their way to join West Ham United in the semi-finals - thanks to further goals from Crouch, Fernando Morientes, John Arne Riise, Djibril Cisse and an own goal from Olivier Tebily.

It was a memorable night all round for Benitez, as he welcomed Mohamed Sissoko back to the starting line-up for the first time since his serious eye injury sustained against Benfica, but for Bruce, with the club's owners recently admitting their patience is waning, it was clearly an evening to forget.

Suffering a dismal run of form and contending with a number of injuries the last thing Bruce's team needed was a terrible start, but within 60 seconds, Birmingham's confidence took another killer blow when Hyypia beat Maik Taylor.

The architect was Steven Gerrard, as the England star swung in a free kick that Sissoko flicked on to the back post with the back of his head, and Martin Taylor let Hyypia out of his sights to allow the Finnish stopper to direct his header down and past the Birmingham keeper.

Incredibly, just three minutes later, The Reds doubled their advantage, and any late arrivals at St Andrews would have been blinking in disbelief at the scoreboard after Crouch also converted.

Gerrard again supplied the ammunition from out wide, as he collected a pass from Sissoko and curled in an inch perfect cross. Crouch eagerly accepted the opportunity to grab his ninth of the season, as he nodded home but Maik Taylor had two attempts to stop the ball crossing the line after getting a hand to the header.

Liverpool were forced to withdraw Djimi Traore after the defender sustained an injury in a challenge with Damien Johnson, but the introduction of Harry Kewell would hardly have given Bruce a lift, as his side continued to bring little to the contest.

Despite being involved in the two early goals, Sissoko's return was not all going according to plan as his fetching Edgar Davids-style eyewear was causing him a condensation problem, and Liverpool's bright start was also temporarily clouded, as they settled into a more pedestrian stride.

However, on 38 minutes, the spark was back as Luis Garcia drove across the penalty box before holding off Kenny Cunningham, and when Martin Taylor tried to intervene, the ball merely fell to the accepting feet of Crouch, who side-footed home for a three-goal lead.

The England international could have had a hat-trick before half time, as he fired wide after dispossessing Marcos Painter in the box before also heading straight at Taylor, as he climbed high to reach a corner.

Only Jermaine Pennant posed a real threat for the beleaguered home side, and when he had the chance to unleash his pace and crossing on the right, he called on both Jose Reina and Jamie Carragher to supply timely interventions to deny Forssell a sight at goal.

David Dunn and Jamie Clapham also offered ambitious attempts, but the locals' discontent was evident at half time with the chorus of boos that rang out around St Andrews.

No doubt acutely aware that their remaining pride was on the line, Birmingham came out of the half-time break a more improved unit, at least initially, and Johnson sliced an effort wide from the edge of the box within 60 seconds of the restart.

However, despite the neat build-up involving David Dunn and Pennant, Jose Reina was a virtual bystander in the Liverpool goal and The Reds began to search for an even more comprehensive victory.

Riise saw a set-piece gathered by Taylor at his left-hand post, and a cheeky lofted lob from Xabi Alonso nearly caught the Northern Ireland international napping, as he tipped over a bit too casually.

With Crouch looking dangerous and in search of a hat-trick, it seemed a puzzling decision when Morientes was summoned from the bench to replace the England man on 56 minutes, however Benitez's choice was inspired, as within three minutes the Spaniard was also on the scoresheet.

Gerrard was released inside the box by a glorious dummy from Garcia, and the task for Morientes could not have been simpler, as he tapped home the square ball from his captain.

Although Mikael Forssell offered a rare shot on goal, as he took down Pennant's chipped cross and fired down Reina's throat, it was game over for Bruce's side and damage limitation thoughts came into play.

However, they were not to be so lucky as on 70 minutes, the best goal of the night arrived after Gerrard flicked a pass to Riise with the outside of his boot.

The Norwegian steadied himself on the left corner of the box and unleashed a trademark rocket of a shot that seared past Taylor for a five-goal lead.

To heap on further embarrassment, substitute Olivier Tebily left his manager with his head in his hands, as he clumsily turned a Harry Kewell cross past his own keeper to make it six.

Just when they thought things could not get any worse, and with the locals departing in their droves, Birmingham's red-face turned a deeper shade of claret when Cisse picked up the ball from Garcia, made space to the right of Painter and saw his speculative effort creep under an unconvincing dive from Taylor to apply the coup de grace.

For Liverpool, the St Andrews' massacre was a further riposte to critics of the Reds' sharp shooters, but for Bruce, the main concern will be avoiding the firing squad after an embarrassing and morale-destroying defeat.


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Thor Zakariassen