on Premiership start
By Chris Bascombe - Liverpool Echo
Liverpool teenager Darren Potter now has his sights
set on a Premiership debut, following his stylish
performance in last night's 3-0 Carling Cup win at
Potter's man-of-the-match display was one of many Red
highlights as Stephen Warnock, Zak Whitbread and Neil
Mellor played their part on a proud night for the
Salif Diao and a Milan Baros double sealed the Reds'
place in the next round.
Midfielder Potter played in the Champions League
qualifier earlier in the season against AK Graz, but
after excelling at The New Den, he's hoping he has given
manager Rafa Benitez an enjoyable selection dilemma.
"I think it was a bit easier last night than it was when
I made my debut," admitted the 19-year-old.
"It's always hard on your debut but once you've got a
game or two under your belt you can settle far more and
show what you can do.
"I'd like to think I've given the boss something to
think about for the next game. I'm only young and I know
I've got time on my side but I felt I played okay.
"If the manager sees me as a right midfielder and gives
me a chance during any stage of the season I'll be
delighted to get a shirt. We've a few injuries to right
midfielders at the moment so if he sees me as someone
who can play there, I'd be happy to do so.
"The gaffer has been very encouraging to me, especially
giving me a debut so soon after he arrived.
"Obviously I haven't had a look-in since then, but I
don't think that was anything to do with the way I
played, it was understandable he wanted to pick his most
"Now he's put me back in I just want to give him
something to think about for the next game.
"The boss has told us this cup is for the younger lads
so we're all made up we've taken our chance and got
"We never let Millwall get at us at all, which we knew
they'd try to do early in the game. We reversed it and
took the game to them and it worked."
Potter has had to be patient since leaving the Academy,
but he's sure more graduates will get an opportunity
He added: "The gaffer's approach is great for us. He's
giving the young lads a go which is what it's all about
"I thought we all did well last night. I know Neil
Mellor will be disappointed he was taken off but he
worked really hard. Zak Whitbread was very comfortable
at the back and Steve Warnock has done well whenever
he's been involved.
"The main aim is obviously to get a Premier-ship start,
but we know this competition is for us. The further we
go, the more he's going to use us. It's up to us to go
as far as possible."
marred by crowd trouble
Four supporters were arrested after crowd trouble
flared during the second half at tonight’s Carling Cup
tie between Liverpool and Millwall at The New Den.
Away fans alleged the violence was sparked by chants
relating to the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.
Two supporters from either side were arrested and 68
seats were ripped up. Seats were also thrown from the
upper tier of the stand containing Liverpool supporters,
while fans in the lower tier of the away end rushed
towards their Millwall counterparts and riot police were
required to quell the damage.
A disabled fan was injured at the perimeter of the pitch
as supporters in the Liverpool end poured forward, while
three supporters from the Liverpool section and one from
the Millwall section were ejected.
Former Liverpool skipper Phil Neal works as a charity
co-ordinator for the families involved in the
Hillsborough tragedy and was at the game as a
co-commentator for Merseyside radio station Radio City.
He said: “I just want to forget about the bad
experiences. I came here and I just wanted to watch a
game between Millwall and Liverpool under normal
“If it was chants about Hillsborough that started the
violence, then it was totally unnecessary.
“That was 15 years ago and the Heysel Stadium disaster
was 19 years ago. Seeing what happened tonight made me
rather subdued, and I had to apologise to my listeners
because I did not say anything for about 20 minutes.”
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez said he had seen
“something” of the violence and added: “In the stadium
you want to see only good football.”
scoring touch is back
Liverpool striker Milan Baros hopes his two goals in
the 3-0 Carling Cup third-round win at Millwall will
give him the confidence to score against better
The Reds - with 10 changes from Saturday's victory over
Charlton - were leading 1-0 through Salif Diao's
18th-minute strike when the Czech Republic forward was
introduced for the injured Florent Sinama-Pongolle in
the 50th minute.
He wrapped up victory in an bad-tempered match with
goals in the 70th and 90th minutes.
"In the second half we had more space up front. I am
happy with the goals and hopefully they will continue in
the league and Champions League," said Baros.
"I created a few chances at the weekend and missed them
so for the confidence, especially for a striker, it is
important to score the goals.
"The young players had a chance to show how good they
are and they played well today."
Goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek was rarely troubled by a limited
Millwall side but he too praised the younger players who
"I think we all played very well. I think we all have to
be satisfied with the performance," he told Sky Sports.
"The coach rested a few players and the youngsters has a
chance to show themselves.
"It was important to score the early goal, it was
important to keep cool because when you come down to
Millwall you expect a bit of fun on the pitch in 90
with his players
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez refused to comment
on Millwall's strong-arm tactics which saw heavy
challenges flying in all over the pitch.
"I don't want to talk about these kind of things. It
think it is better for me to say nothing," he said,
preferring to focus on the positives from the
"I am delighted with the players because they fought and
they played well and it was difficult, and if you score
three goals and win it is fantastic for the players.
"We kept the ball for a long time and that is important
for the control of the game. We kept our concentration
during the game and that was important for the younger
However, Benitez would not reveal whether he would
continue to play a reserve side in the competition as
Liverpool's fixture list gets more crowded.
All he would say was: "If they don't play many games
during the season or in the Premier it is important to
play in the cup."
Reds in a
comfortable cup win
BBC Sport Online
A second-string Liverpool side eased their way into
the Carling Cup fourth round after a fiesty cup tie.
Having survived an early bout of Millwall pressure,
Liverpool took the lead through Salif Diao's stabbed
Millwall had their chances, notably Neil Harris, while
late on Darren Ward hit the bar with a flicked header.
But after Graham Stack spilled Milan Baros' pass to
Darren Potter, the Czech forward pounced and late on he
bagged a second with another drilled effort.
Millwall gave Liverpool some uncomfortable moments,
troubling Rafael Benitez's side with some slick
Adrian Serioux's long throws also caused Jerzy Dudek
At times the tie threatened to boil as Djimi Traore
squared up to Marvin Elliott and Neil Mellor lashed out
at Kevin Muscat after the Australian's late challenge on
the Liverpool striker.
Benitez was also incensed by Alan Dunne's high tackle on
Milan Baros, while on 79 minutes Muscat and Baros were
yellow-carded after a brief confrontation.
Benitez had made 10 changes to the side that beat
Charlton at the weekend, with only Traore remaining in
from Saturday's team.
As the Liverpool side got to know one another Harris
almost gave Millwall the lead as he ran clear.
Having timed his run to perfection, Harris' first touch
was far from perfect allowing Dudek to rush out and
smother the ball.
Serioux's ability to propel the ball a huge distance
from one of his throw-ins also unsettled Dudek, who
surrounded by a pack of players, struggled to punch
Having survived those two scares, Liverpool began to
exert pressure on Millwall's defence.
First Florent Sinama-Pongolle broke free, slipping a
pass to Neil Mellor, whose shot was smothered by Kevin
Igor Biscan also tried his luck with a shot and a
On 18 minutes the Millwall defence buckled, when from
Potter's corner, Ward was unable to head the ball clear,
allowing Diao to volley home with a precise finish.
Millwall redoubled their attacking efforts with
Serioux's throws continuing to trouble the Liverpool
defence, while Harris went close with a header after a
But Liverpool were not content to sit back on their lead
and Sinama-Pongolle's pace opened up the Millwall
The young French striker laid the ball off to Mellor,
who shot straight at Stack.
Immediately after the restart Sinama-Pongolle's pace
allowed him to latch onto a Potter pass, though from a
tight angle, the Frenchman hit the side-netting.
Sinama-Pongolle was injured in attempting his shot and
soon after he was replaced by Baros.
On 52 minutes Harris spurned a third chance, as he
shrugged off Zak Whitbread's challenge, only for Dudek
to save with his legs.
Baros' goal on 70 minutes made the game safe for
The Czech striker's pass released Potter, who was beaten
to the ball by Stack.
But the Millwall keeper was unable to gather the ball
cleanly, allowing Stephen Warnock to find Baros, who
swiftly shot low and hard into the corner.
In stoppage time Potter sent clear and Baros once more
finished with a plomb.