since 1878

Liverpool (0) 1 - 1 (1) Ipswich Town
(aet. Liverpool won 5-4 on penalties)

Worthington Cup 4th Round 2002-03

Wednesday, December 4, 2002

Referee: DJ Gallagher

Manager: Gerard Houllier

Anfield 20:00

Attendance: 26,305

Manager: Joe Royle

Match Number: 2978


 Diouf (54)
 Tommy Miller (14)

Penalty Shootout

Gerrard 1-1
Baros 2-1
Riise 3-2
Carragher 4-3
Diouf 5-4


BabbelCarragher (45)
MellorBaros (76)
SmicerWelsh (83)






Abel Xavier

















Match Report

Liverpool Sneak Through

It was a script that would have been offered to Kevin Costner. A goalkeeper, whose calamitous error costs Liverpool the game against their most despised rivals, endures a penalty shoot-out with the Kop chanting his name.

It has to be said at this point that Jerzy Dudek did not lay a glove on any of Ipswich's penalties, although the fact that Jamie Clapham, one of the night's outstanding figures, struck the crossbar, meant he left Anfield to a standing ovation.

Gérard Houllier's tactics thus worked to perfection. Dudek will be dropped for Liverpool's Premiership match with Charlton on Saturday but by playing him last night his manager ensured that the Pole would go into his enforced break with the memory of something other than spilling a routine header at the feet of a Manchester United striker.

He was not entirely confident; slicing a routine clearance for a corner and spilling a straightforward shot from Hermann Hreidarsson but nor did he flop; there was a fine save to deny Pablo Couñago when the striker was played clean through an uncertain Liverpool back four.

Dudek was not at fault for the goal which set this Worthington Cup fourth round tie alight after a quarter of an hour and again demonstrated that whatever their inadequacies of their League form, Ipswich remain formidable cup performers and at least their supporters left Anfield in better heart than they had in May when a 5-0 defeat condemned them to relegation.

The low cross from Darren Bent, who had muscled his way past Gregory Vignal, was routine, but Markus Babbel passed it straight to Tommy Miller on the edge of the area. Miller seemed astonished to receive the ball and had to steady himself before slotting his shot into the corner of Dudek's net. Houllier showed Babbel less generosity than he extended to Dudek, replacing him during the interval with Jamie Carragher.

After the break, Liverpool seemed to have recovered some self-belief after a 45 minutes that was as uninspired as anything Anfield has seen this season. Once El Hadji Diouf's penalty had drawn the teams level in the 52nd minute, the only time Ipswich looked like snatching the tie was when Bent's header hit the crossbar just before the end of normal time.

John Arne Riise and Milan Baros both squandered easy chances with the Norwegian blazing into the Kop with the last kick before extra time. In extra time, put through by Diouf in a breakaway which pitted three forwards against one Ipswich defender, he shot firmly into Andy Marshall's body.

Like Babbel, Mark Venus will be wishing he had thumped an innocuous ball into the main stand. Instead, he lost his balance chasing a hopeful punt and in trying to regain it, brought down Neil Mellor in the area. The penalty allowed Diouf his fourth goal of the season and his first against opponents other than Southampton. Liverpool won the Worthington Cup on penalties in 2001 and again their spot-kicking was faultless when it mattered last night thus earning them a quarter-final trip to Aston Villa.

During Joe Royle's time at Manchester City, he had released Mellor, although last night the 20-year-old might with a little more luck have celebrated a hat-trick. He came closest with a shot against the base of the post when slipped through by Vladimir Smicer and twice shot just wide. A few inches either way and Royle would have recalled the conversation that allowed the young striker to leave Maine Road with some regret.

Tim Rich (The Independent)

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2002-03 Reports