After The Match 


Liverpool-Reading 4-3 (2-0)       25.10.06               Carling Cup
Goals: Fowler (44), Riise (45), Paletta (49), Crouch (77)
Bikey (75) Lita (80), Long (84)
Team: Reina, Peltier, Paletta, Agger, Warnock, Pennant, Sissoko, Zenden, Riise, Fowler, Crouch
Subs: Guthrie (Sissoko, 62), Smith (Peltier, 74), Kuyt (Riise, 79)
Not used: Martin, Carragher
Yellow: Paletta (74)                  Little (90)
Red: None
Referee: P Walton
Attendance: 42,445
Shots on target:
Shots off target:
Fouls conceded:


to learn because we conceded three goals..."
    Rafael Benitez

2610: Benitez backs Fowler to fire
2610: Fowler happy to fire reminder to Rafa
2510: Mixed emotions for Benitez
2510: Reds survive Reading fightback


Benitez backs Fowler to fire


Rafael Benitez is backing Robbie Fowler to fire in all competitions after the striker moved second in Liverpool's all-time League Cup scorers.

Fowler, 31, notched his 28th goal in the competition when he chipped in against Reading on Wednesday, one strike clear of Kop legend Kenny Dalglish but still trailing Ian Rush by 20.

It was the striker's second of the season and his seventh since returning to the club from Manchester City last season, although his impressive ratio has been hindered by fitness and Benitez's rotation policy.

When he chipped in for the opener at Anfield on Wednesday, he showed a glimpse of what he could offer Benitez when Liverpool look to get their Premiership title bid back on track on Saturday against Aston Villa, who boast an unbeaten record.

"We know Robbie's record is amazing," Benitez said. "As we did against Reading, if we create a lot of chances he can score goals. If you have quality you can score goals in all the competitions."

Fowler sparked a glut of three goals for the hosts in the Carling Cup third-round tie against the Royals, but Liverpool eventually were forced to hold on for a 4-3 win.

However, it was not just Fowler's goal which impressed his manager, the veteran also hit a couple of efforts just wide then set up Peter Crouch for Liverpool's fourth.

"He played well," said Benitez of Fowler. "I always say the same thing, he has game intelligence and quality.

"He is a very good finisher and it was a fantastic goal."

Fowler's strike was also his first goal in the competition since the 2001 final against Birmingham, who Liverpool have drawn to play in the last 16.

Fowler happy to fire reminder to Rafa

By Chris Bascombe - Liverpool Echo

Robbie Fowler hopes his stunning goalscoring comeback will be enough to force his way into Rafa Benitez's Premiership plans this weekend.

But despite reaching another Kop milestone, the striker admits he's known since his emotional return to the club he has to be realistic about his first team prospects.

Fowler struck a superb opener in the dramatic 4-3 win over Reading, and at the very least he's virtually confirmed his place for the fourth round tie away to Birmingham.

However, with Aston Villa arriving at Anfield this weekend, and Craig Bellamy still struggling with a calf injury, Fowler's league ambitions must have improved.

Although it's clear Fowler is desperate to featureinevery fixture, he insists he's no complaints about his role in Benitez's squad.

"I don't know what to expect this weekend," said Fowler today. "Obviously I hope I'll be involved, but it's not me who decides these things. Apart from the first 30 or 40 minutes last night, I thought I did well, and all I can hope is the manager liked what he saw.

"The manager has explained the situation to me, and I totally understand the position.

"I said when I came back I just wanted to enjoy every minute I get playing for Liverpool, and I'd be happy being involved as much as I can be. That's the way I feel.

"I've always been confident I'll score goals given the chance, and it was an important one last night because it gave us the stepping stone we needed to get the results.

"Once we got the first, it calmed us all down and we played well to get to 4-1.

"It's an important competition fora lot of us because the longer we're in it the more first team opportunities we'll get."

Fowler reached another significant landmark with his goal last night, beating Kenny Dalglish on Anfield's all-time league cup goalscoring list with his 28th in just 33 ties.

"When I scored last season to go past him in the overall list, Kenny was the first on the phone to me to sayhow gutted he was," joked Fowler.

"I didn't realise I'd gone past him again on another list, so I'll have upset him again. Seriously though, I know Kenny will be pleased for me and I'm sure he'll be phoning me or texting me to congratulate me again."

Mixed emotions for Benitez

ITV Football

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez was delighted with the four-goal haul against Reading but admitted his side had lessons to learn after allowing their opponents to set up a thrilling finale.

Benitez's men held on for a 4-3 victory in the Carling Cup third-round tie at Anfield, but they appeared to be cruising after establishing a three-goal lead with a glut of goals either side of half-time.

Andre Bikey gave the visitors hope before Peter Crouch restored the cushion, only for Leroy Lita's strike and a far-post header from Shane Long to set up an intense ending.

"At the end of the day it is a cup tie and we are in the next round," Benitez said.

"There are a lot of positive things, we scored four goals and all of them were fantastic goals, there were young players playing at Anfield which is also very positive.

"We need to learn because we conceded three goals and need to manage the game in another way.

"To score four goals and to create good chances is really important."

Robbie Fowler was named captain and opened the scoring in the 44th minute with a chipped finish after Jermaine Pennant played him through.

"It was a fantastic goal," Benitez said.

John Arne Riise doubled the lead with a volley from the edge of the area before Gabriel Paletta glanced in a header to establish Liverpool's lead.

After the goals towards the end of the clash, Benitez was pleased extra-time was not required.

"When you play against a team who works as hard as they worked, you are more elated, you enjoy it more," he said.

"We were under pressure. After scoring the fourth goal we thought it was finished, but in the last minutes we were again under pressure."

Reading assistant boss Kevin Dillon admitted he did not want to see the game go to extra-time, but was pleased with his side's endeavour.

Dillon said: "We had a couple of chances to get back in it and we could have snatched a draw at the end, but I was quite pleased we didn't.

"We've got a big game on Saturday and a long trip back and I'm sure Mr Benitez was thinking the same about extra-time.

"So I was pleased with the performance but not with the result.

"We went 3-0 down but kept playing and kept passing, Glen Little was creating problems and our set-pieces caused them problems."

Reds survive Reading fightback

By Tony Curtis - Sky Sports

Three goals in a five-minute spell either side of half time helped Liverpool stutter through against Reading at Anfield.

However, they had to survive a late fright as The Royals threatened to turn the game on its head in the final 15 minutes.

The tie had failed to spark into life during a turgid first 40 minutes, with both sides failing to make the most of their possession.

However, first-half strikes from Robbie Fowler and John Arne Riise, followed by Gabriel Paletta's debut goal just after the interval seemed to have put the game out of sight.

Even Andre Bikey's header with 15 minutes left looked like little more than a consolation effort as Peter Crouch restored Liverpool's three-goal advantage with a fine finish.

However, late strikes from Leroy Lita and Shane Long ensured the home fans had to endure a nervy final few minutes.

The late flurry of goals was in stark contrast to the first half when both sides had been wasteful in the final third.

Mohamed Sissoko saw his near-post effort well blocked by Graham Stack after 13 minutes, while at the other end Ulises De la Cruz's piledriver was straight at Jose Reina.

Then on the half-hour, Boudewijn Zenden saw his long-range effort tipped wide by Stack.

However, Fowler suddenly sparked the game in to life just before the interval. Having gone close with an acrobatic effort, he found the target when he raced between Brynjar Gunnarsson and John Halls to latch on to Jermaine Pennant's perfectly weighted pass to chip the ball over Stack.

The 31-year-old front-man then had a hand in the second when he laid the ball off for Riise to let fly from the left of the box. Stack may have been able to parry the first effort, but he stood no chance as Riise rifled home the rebound.

The second half saw Liverpool quickly out of the blocks, with Paletta heading Pennant's corner past a stranded Stack just three minutes after the interval.

However, hopes of a comfortable end to the game vanished as Reading hit back in a frantic finale, with Bikey setting The Royals on their way when he headed Glen Little's free-kick home.

And although Crouch made it 4-1 with a quality finish after a one-two with Fowler, Lita then scrambled the ball home from Stephen Hunt's pass.

And as the nerves got to the home side, Long was allowed the freedom of Anfield to head in Little's teasing cross with six minutes left.

Instead of closing up shop, Liverpool continued to attack and although Zenden hit bar, this tactic left gaps at the back. But all Reading could manage was a couple of scrambled half-chances before a huge sigh of relief met referee Peter Walton's full-time whistle.

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Thor Zakariassen