Gerrard: Blame us, not Rafa
Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard insists the players
and not the manager have to take the blame after the
Reds' dismal Carling Cup exit.
Rafael Benitez's troops crashed out of the competition
in ignominious circumstances on Tuesday, losing 2-1 at
Benitez's apparent inability to translate Liverpool's
impressive European form into domestic victories has
seen him come in for a storm of criticism but Gerrard -
who scored on his comeback from a shin injury - is in no
doubt where the blame lies.
He told the Liverpool Echo: "I don't see why anyone
should have a go at the boss. He's been saying the right
things to us and doing the right things.
"It's the players who have to accept responsibility in
this situation. We have to take the blame."
Gerrard added: "That kind of performance is just not
acceptable for Liverpool Football Club
"A lot of our fans have paid a lot of money to see that
and what they saw just wasn't good enough. We've got to
say sorry to them for that.
"People can go on about the first-half chances all they
like, but that's not enough for us. We've got to perform
for 90 minutes.
"There's got to be a big reaction to this now. We've all
got to play for the shirt and start showing how much it
means to be playing for this club."
Reds to bounce back
By Paul Eaton - LFC Official Website
Crystal Palace manager Iain Dowie paid tribute to his
side for dumping Liverpool out of the Carling Cup - and
then backed the Reds to emerge from their disappointing
run of form.
Liverpool have lost two games in a row, with last
night's shock exit at Palace following on from a 2-0
Premiership defeat at Fulham on Saturday.
Dowie was delighted with his side's display which saw
off the challenge of the European champions, but he has
no doubts the Reds will soon be back on the winning
He said: "In a few weeks' time when they get everybody
back fit I wouldn't be surprised if they go on a run.
"They have Gerrard back now, who is a big player for
them. We rode a 20-minute period in the first half where
they were on top but in the second half we were much
"European football is more ponderous and slower and it
gives players more time, and that's why Liverpool have
done better in that.
"But I would be amazed if they are not in the top four
come the end of the season."
He added: "Our display last night was very good overall.
It was definitely our best home performance of the
season. Some of our football was outstanding.
"I felt we got it down and passed it. Everyone from the
full-backs to the wide men looked creative and full of
"Ben Watson and Tom Soares were excellent in midfield,
as were Michael Hughes and Marco Reich. "You cannot shut
up shop against Liverpool, and they had the maestro back
Benitez stands by strikers
By Mark Buckingham - Sky Sports
Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez is refusing to panic,
despite his strikers again failing to score in the
surprise Carling Cup defeat to Crystal Palace.
Benitez again had to watch in frustration as Peter
Crouch and Fernando Morientes were shut out by the
Palace defence in the 2-1 loss at Selhurst Park.
Crouch has yet to score in 11 appearances since his move
from Southampton, while Morientes' two goals this season
came in the UEFA Champions League qualifier against CSKA
The drought has left The Reds with the second worst
attack in The Premiership, with only Merseyside rivals
Everton scoring fewer goals.
But Reds boss Benitez is not unduly concerned and is
confident his forwards will eventually deliver goals.
"The strikers will score goals because they have quality
and they are working hard," said Benitez.
"Harry Kewell and Fernando Morientes are lacking match
fitness, which will come with playing games."
Steven Gerrard's goal was the only real bright spot in
the third round humbling but Benitez feels Palace keeper
Julian Speroni was the difference between the two teams.
He added: "Again the goalkeeper was the man of the match
and he saved Palace. We created good chances and the
players worked hard.
"As a manager I am disappointed to lose but I can't
criticise my players as they worked hard all game and
"Palace worked hard and if we had managed to score more
goals it might have been different but we now have to
concentrate on the next match."
Liverpool out of cup
BBC Sport Online
Crystal Palace claimed a memorable victory over
European champions Liverpool to reach the last 16 of the
Carling Cup in a riveting encounter.
Dougie Freedman gave Palace the lead after 37 minutes
when he headed Michael Hughes' cross against the run of
Returning Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard quickly
equalised with a goal from 20 yards - his 50th for the
But Hughes set up the second-half winner, feeding Marco
Reich who drilled the ball home to seal Liverpool's
The chances had come thick and fast for a Liverpool side
packed with a crop of fresh talent but harnessed by
captain Gerrard - back from a shin injury.
Young midfielder Darren Potter saw two strikes sail over
the bar in the first half while Fernando Morientes and
Gerrard saw their decent efforts saved.
Palace had plenty of early chances too, Clinton
Morrisson had two early chances comfortably dealt with
by Sami Hyypia and Scott Carson, replacing Jose Reina in
Referee Phil Dowd appeared to deny the home side their
He pulled Palace back to award them a free-kick instead
of playing advantage when Tom Soares was clear through.
But the home side were rewarded 10 minutes before
half-time when Freedman knocked in Hughes' cross from
Inevitably, their lead did not last long, Gerrard got on
the end of a Liverpool move created out of nothing to
exquisitely side-foot in an equaliser after 39 minutes.
The high-tempo continued after the break as Liverpool
piled on the pressure.
Morientes again went close and the Spaniard then laid
off the ball to Potter, who once again was unfortunate
to see his shot skim the bar.
Reds defender David Raven mopped up a period of Palace
pressure in which the home side saw their penalty
appeals turned down.
Palace's persistence paid off when Reich slid another
excellent pass from past Carson to restore their
advantage after 66 minutes.
Peter Crouch - still searching for his first Liverpool
goal - missed two chances to equalise as Benitez's side
pressed for another goal.
But despite last-gasp efforts from Luis Garcia and
Raven, Palace survived four minutes of extra-time and
Liverpool's poor form continued as they bowed out.