After The Match 


Reading-Liverpool 3-1 (1-1)           8.12.07                         PL
Goals: Gerrard (28)
Team: Reina, Arbeloa, Riise, Hobbs, Carragher, Gerrard, Mascherano, Sissoko, Voronin, Torres, Crouch
Subs: Kewell (Torres 60), Babel (Gerrard 71),
Hyypia (Carragher 82)
Not used: Itandje, Kuyt
Yellow: Gerrard (59)
Red: None
Referee: Andre Marriner
Shots on target: 4-5
Shots off target: 7-12
Blocked shots: 3-2
Fouls conceded: 11-12
Corners: 7-7
Offsides: 3-4
Possession: 34.6-65.4
Yellow: 0-1
a strange game."
Rafael Benitez

0912: Coppell cool after Reds win
0812: Rafa bemoans 'strange' game
0812: Reds fail to fire against Royals 


Coppell cool after Reds win

Football UK

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 go.

"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."

Rafa bemoans 'strange' game

Sky Sports

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 Ibrahima Sonko.

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 foul.

"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 penalty."

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 against Royals


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 spot-kicks.

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 one.

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 box.

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 perfectly-aimed deflection.

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.

backbutton.gif (1697 bytes)

Thor Zakariassen