Spearing on his full debut
By Jason Darby - Anfield Online
Local(ish) lad Jay Spearing was handed his
first full Liverpool start on Tuesday night, partnering
Javier Mascherano in arguably the smallest Liverpool central
midfield pairing in our clubs history.
The 20 year old had been left in the stands for most of the
reds reserves games this season, and questions were starting
to be asked about the player’s future – although he has
occupied a place on Liverpool’s first team bench on a couple
With an improving Lucas Leiva, and the arrival of Alberto
Aquilani, the chances of Spearing breaking through appear
more difficult but after a memorable substitute appearance
in Liverpool’s 4-0 demolition of Real Madrid last season –
Liverpool fans will have been pleased to see him getting
some more match time under Benitez.
Jay said of his full debut:
“I felt I did all right and hopefully I’ve proved to the
boss and the supporters that I can do it for the first team.
“It was a very special night for me to make my first start
for the club. And to play the full 90 minutes was fantastic.
“We trained in the formation we used on the night on Monday
so I thought I might have a chance of starting, and then
when we got to the hotel the boss told me I was playing.
“It has been a long time coming waiting for my first start
but I’ve had to keep grafting hard and wait for my chance. I
knew it was going to come soon and thankfully we got the
result we needed.”
will remain patient
Liverpool striker David Ngog accepts he
will have to remain patient if he is to become a regular in
Ngog made a rare start in Tuesday's Carling Cup clash at
Leeds and he enhanced his first-team prospects with the only
goal of the game.
It was only the 20-year-old's sixth start for the club, but
the Frenchman hopes he has given Rafa Benitez much to ponder
with his display at Elland Road.
"It was a very important goal for me for my confidence and
because we won the game," said Ngog. "I think I played okay.
The intensity of the game made it difficult and I was very
happy to score.
"Of course I know that I'm not going to play every game so
when the coach gives me a chance, I want to do my best for
the team and try to score.
"I know I have to be patient and all I can do is when I get
a chance, try and take it and show the manager what I can
"I hope I have done that in this match and shown the manager
my qualities and that I can be another possibility in
"When you are a striker, scoring is always the best thing.
That is our job and what we work for."
Liverpool FC Leeds win could
have been easier and earlier
Comment by Tommy Smith - Liverpool Echo
Apart from a couple of minor scares
Liverpool were never in any real trouble against Leeds last
And the result was never really in doubt.
But that didn’t stop me wishing Rafa Benitez had played just
a few more of the Reds’ senior stars to get the job done a
fair bit earlier.
I know most top clubs and managers rest players and put out
second string sides in the Carling Cup nowadays. Fair
But I still feel with a bit more clout out there from the
start we could have got the business sorted much sooner –
and then have taken off the familiar names to give others a
chance once the game was won.
As it was, a really good goal from David Ngog settled a tie
I felt we were always in control of.
We got better and better as the game went on and it was a
terrific first touch and finish from the French lad to seal
He has definitely got some qualities to parts of his play
but that said, he has also got to try and improve his
strength in holding the ball up and bringing others into the
I have to admit, though, that Jermaine Beckford was the one
player for Leeds who caught my eye. I can’t help but think
he is just the type of striker who perhaps could do a job at
Torres needs a bit of help up top. He cannot be expected to
shoulder the burden on his own this season.
I don’t know how much Beckford would cost but for me he’s an
interesting one and I’d happily take a punt on him if I was
Rafa – and the deal was right.
As it is, Leeds are out of the way – and now we can get back
to the big guns and the real stuff.
Win illustrates squad strength
By Jimmy Rice at Elland Road - LFC Official Website
Rafa Benitez believes the 1-0 victory over
Leeds United on Tuesday was an illustration of the strength
within the current Liverpool squad.
David Ngog buried the only goal of the game on 65 minutes to
clinch a hard-fought win and guarantee a place in the
Carling Cup fourth round.
There were only two survivors from the starting line-up
against West Ham on Saturday - and the gaffer was delighted
with the way his fringe players performed.
"It was a good game. They had some chances, we had some
chances. At the end we won with a lot of players who haven't
been playing," said Benitez.
"It is a difficult stadium to come to. They've won many
games in a row. In these types of games it is very important
to keep the mentality and character.
"I am really pleased with my team, with my squad. We showed
we can manage with different players. For the rest of the
season it is important to know you have players who can come
in and perform."
Ngog now has two goals despite a limited role this season.
Benitez added: "It was a great goal. He showed quality. He
is a player with quality who has very good movement, but
also here he was fighting against a big lad. It's very
positive for him and for the team.
"As I said before, players who aren't normally playing
showed character and quality."
The boss also heaped praise on the hosts, whose fans created
a marvellous atmosphere on what was the first visit of a
Premier League club since their top flight relegation in
"You can also be positive in terms of Leeds," said Benitez.
"The atmosphere was fantastic and the fans were really good.
It's a good team with good players and they worked very
Meanwhile, Jamie Carragher admitted Liverpool had to toil to
"That was as difficult a game as we have had all season and
to be fair they were a bit unlucky that we won," said the
"Obviously we've not got our full Premier League team out
and not played together that much, but it was a very tough
breaks Leeds hearts
By Carla Hilton - Sky Sports
David Ngog's second half strike was enough
to see Liverpool through to the last 16 of the Carling Cup
at the expense of a determined Leeds United.
Javier Mascherano and Jamie Caragher were the only
recognised names in an otherwise second string Liverpool
In the early part the Whites dominated and had an early goal
disallowed as Luciano Becchio was deemed offside when paring
up with Jermaine Beckford.
After that, Leeds continued to press and were unfortunate to
be on the losing end with players such as Robert Snodgrass
and Patrick Kisnorbo putting in outstanding performances in
front of a sell-out crowd.
Ngog, who played with credit on the night, broke Leeds'
hearts just after the hour mark when picking up on a timely
ball from Mascherano to turn and slot home from close range.
Steven Gerrard and Glen Johnson made brief appearances
towards the end of the match as the Reds saw out a narrow
win to secure passage through to the last 16 with a
virtually second-string squad.
It was Liverpool's first visit to Leeds since their hosts
were relegated from the top flight in 2004 but the
atmosphere generated by the 38,168 crowd rekindled memories
of a once intense rivalry.
Leeds, looking upwards again after an unbeaten start to the
season, played like they had a point to prove against a
Liverpool side showing nine changes.
Jamie Carragher, who took over the captaincy, and Javier
Mascherano were the only survivors from the Reds side which
won at West Ham last weekend.
Manager Rafael Benitez, however, had big guns Steven
Gerrard, Fernando Torres and Glen Johnson on the bench in
case not all went according to plan.
It seemed a sensible insurance policy as for large parts
Leeds, with Robert Snodgrass a constant danger on the right,
exploited the unfamiliarity in the Liverpool ranks.
There was a huge roar inside the opening minutes when
Beckford went down in the area but referee Alan Wiley gave
Leeds were keen to attack and gave warning when Snodgrass
broke free, although his cross was easily claimed by
Liverpool keeper Diego Cavalieri.
Ngog, starting up front alone, then got into the game with a
couple of breaks but saw a long-range shot after a neat turn
Leeds then missed a glorious chance to take the lead when
Snodgrass delivered a perfect cross but Michael Doyle headed
wide from about eight yards.
The Yorkshire side had the ball in the net after 11 minutes
when Beckford turned in Michalik's goalbound header from
close range but Wiley ruled the striker offside.
Luciano Becchio also tried his luck for Leeds but curled
wide from 20 yards.
Ryan Babel, hoping to stake a claim for a regular place,
created Liverpool's first serious chance after a run from
deep but Shane Higgs dealt comfortably with his tame shot.
Snodgrass caused further alarm in the Liverpool defence with
another deep cross from a clever Beckford flick but
Cavalieri just did enough to frustrate Becchio.
Albert Riera should have given Liverpool the lead, against
the run of play, on the stroke of half-time after meeting a
Fabio Aurelio free-kick but Higgs saved his firm header.
The outstanding Snodgrass weaved his way into the Liverpool
box soon after the restart but the visitors eventually
managed to crowd him out.
Leeds continued to look the most likely side but Liverpool
youngster Jay Spearing got a shooting chance from a Riera
lay-off, only to fire well over.
Beckford then raced on to a long bouncing ball but scuffed
his shot when any firm contact might have beaten Cavalieri.
The Leeds striker had another gilt-edged opportunity when
Bradley Johnson crossed from the byline after 63 minutes
but, after turning brilliantly, he sent his shot over.
Leeds paid the price as Liverpool went ahead two minutes
Mascherano mis-hit a shot from the edge of the area but Ngog
reacted quickly and seized on the ball to tuck past Higgs.
Leeds tried to respond as Johnson controlled a Michalik long
ball outside the area but shot straight at Cavalieri.
Liverpool brought on Johnson and Gerrard in an attempt to
see out the game but Leeds continued to push.
Johnson needed to intervene to head back to Cavalieri as
Liverpool struggled to clear another Leeds attack.
Liverpool did break out again with Babel winning a free-kick
on the edge of the area but Aurelio's shot was deflected
Gerrard almost made doubly sure of victory as time ran down
but fired into the side-netting and then straight at Higgs
after powerful runs.