Coppell cool after Reds win
Reading manager Steve Coppell refused to
get too carried away by Saturday's 3-1 victory over
Liverpool at the Madejski Stadium.
The Royals ended a four-match winless streak courtesy of
goals from Stephen Hunt, Kevin Doyle and James Harper.
But with the Berkshire club still languishing in the bottom
half of the table, Coppell suggested any celebrations would
be kept to a minimum.
"Wins now, because we're not having as many as last year,
they're treasured," he said.
"Any team in the bottom half of the table would say that. We
fully intend to enjoy it tonight.
"To get a good result against a top side is pleasing but
this season is a grind - there's still five more months to
"We needed to be seen to be having a go and I think the fans
can have a few pints and be happy.
"Results against big teams won't decide our season but it's
a good feeling and hopefully a solid foundation."
bemoans 'strange' game
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez described his
side's defeat to Reading as a 'strange game'.
The Reds slumped to their first Premier League defeat of the
campaign as Reading rode their luck to secure a 3-1 victory.
The Royals hit the front early on when they awarded a
controversial penalty after Jamie Carragher was adjudged to
have fouled Brynjar Gunnarsson, even though it appeared the
incident occurred outside the box.
"It was a strange game. We had a few chances but did not
take them," bemoaned Benitez.
"After some decisions which we didn't get, we couldn't
change the result."
Benitez was unhappy with referee Andre Marriner for awarding
Reading their penalty and denying Liverpool a spot-kick when
Fernando Torres went down in the box under a challenge from
There were some decisions that we didn't profit from. They
had a penalty given and we didn't get one," added Benitez.
"I think it (Reading's penalty) was outside. If it was a
penalty it should have been a yellow card for this type of
"For me it was a clear penalty for the foul by (Ibrahima)
Sonko on Torres. Even if he got a touch on the ball it was
after. The player was running and it was a foul. It is a
Benitez surprisingly substituted skipper Steven Gerrard 20
minutes from time and the Spaniard revealed he took off the
midfielder to keep him fresh for next week's vital UEFA
Champions League clash with Marseille.
"We knew it was tough, because some of our players were
playing a lot of games in a row," added Benitez.
"At 3-1 (down), you have to protect your good players."
Reds fail to fire
Liverpool began their most important week
of the season with a 3-1 defeat at Reading which suggests
they may not be title contenders just yet.
Rafael Benitez's side must now fight for their Champions
League lives in Marseille on Tuesday night before having
their domestic credentials put under intense scrutiny again
by Manchester United at the weekend.
Reading recorded their first victory against one of the
so-called 'big four' thanks to a Stephen Hunt penalty and
second-half strikes from Kevin Doyle and James Harper.
All Liverpool had to take away from Berkshire was Steven
Gerrard's equaliser but referee Andre Marriner also had a
big part to play in the proceedings.
The official - who had sent off Chelsea's Michael Essien at
Derby in his previous top-flight game - appeared to have
called the Reading penalty incorrectly and also failed to
spot two occasions when Liverpool should have been awarded
Liverpool should have been ahead in the seventh minute and
it was a surprise when Fernando Torres, who had hit a
hat-trick on this ground in a Carling Cup tie in September,
could not accept a simple chance.
John Arne Riise's long-throw eluded Ibrahima Sonko as he
jumped with Peter Crouch and the Spaniard was left with the
simple task of slotting past goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann.
Instead he allowed the American to parry.
Reading seized on the let-off and produced their finest 20
minutes of the season so far, attacking their opponents with
the verve that had served them so well in the previous two
campaigns but had been replaced by self-doubt during this
Their goal needed a large slice of fortune, however, as
referee Marriner, having consulted a flag-waving linesman,
called Jamie Carragher's felling of Brynjar Gunnarsson
wrongly as the pair thundered to the brink of the Liverpool
There was no question that the Icelander had been impeded
but replays suggested contact had been made just outside the
box and Carragher howled his displeasure.
Hunt despatched the penalty with panache, however, and
Reading continued to attack, with a Bobby Convey drive
beating Jose Reina and only just clearing his crossbar.
Reading's previous frailties were not long in reappearing
and Gerrard took full advantage to put his side on level
terms in the 28th minute.
Torres eluded Sonko to take down a long ball and quickly set
up his skipper with a sideways pass. Gerrard had little
difficulty shrugging off Hunt's challenge to reach the box
and slot past the exposed Hahnemann.
That deflated Reading but fortune favoured them again when
Liverpool were denied a much stronger penalty shout than the
one previously given to the hosts.
Ivar Ingimarsson's header straight to Gerrard not only
surrendered possession cheaply but also allowed Torres to
move swiftly into space and when Sonko stuck out a boot in
the box he tumbled. But play was allowed to continue.
Andriy Voronin fired in a couple of snapshots from the right
of the box as Liverpool ended the half in the ascendancy,
but when Momo Sissoko went down in the box under yet another
strong Sonko challenge, again no penalty was awarded.
Reading began the second period on the back foot and there
was a let-off when Torres sent a diving header across goal
after Nicky Shorey's error had allowed Crouch to fire in a
cross from the right.
The home defence then made a hash of their offside trap
before yet another penalty decision went their way.
Torres's trailing leg was clearly caught by Sonko and this
time the Spaniard also appeared to have been hurt. Again
television replays confirmed contact had been made.
If the home fans sensed it was to be their night, Doyle gave
them concrete proof on the hour by sending a glancing header
past Reina to put Reading back in front.
Gerrard had been booked for felling Hunt on the run and when
Shorey swung in the free-kick the Republic of Ireland
striker lost his marker to produce a slight but
Doyle then fired just over but again Reading were in luck
when Gerrard saw a drive smack off the bar seconds before
Harper made it 3-1 at the other end.
Convey's pass enabled the hyperactive midfielder to scamper
clear of the defence and any fears the home support had that
he would be unable to finish were wiped away by a cool
side-step to get past Reina and a shot into the empty net.
Harry Kewell, who had come on for Torres, fired a good
chance across goal and just wide at the other end.
It just was not Liverpool's day - as Crouch proved again in
stoppage time with a drive that beat Hahnemann but rebounded
back to the goalkeeper off a post.