Rush still has that sparkle

Ian Rush maintained that certain sparkle tonight when he condemned Saints to defeat. The Welsh International picked up his first trophy as Liverpool captain on Sunday by lifting the Coca-Cola Cup and may have been excused for being a little tired and emotional after the Wembley win over Bolton. Instead he was again an inspirational figure, scoring two goals to drag Alan Ball's side further into the relegation mire.

Robbie Fowler got the other from the penalty spot after Saints had threatened to spoil the Anfield party. Bruce Grobbelaar made his first appearance at the ground after moving on a free transfer to The Dell in the summer. The Kop gave him a reception reserved for one of their heroes -- and Grobbelaar responded by bowing and blowing kisses -- but his old pal Rush soon wiped the smile from his face.

Liverpool paraded the cup before the match, only for Richard Hall to cut short the celebrations by rifling the ball into the corner after goalkeeper David James had flapped at a corner from Matthew Le Tissier. Grobbelaar gave Saints a scare when a clearance rebounded off Rush. He raced on only to find the side net from an acute angle.

The warning signs were there, however, and Rush equalised when he was given time and space to head in Jamie Redknapp's corner. Grobbelaar then pulled off a fine save to foil Robbie Fowler after a long clearance from James split the Saints defence, while Redknapp scorned a glorious chance of giving Liverpool the lead when he rounded Grobbelaar only to blast the shot against the bar.

But Saints pressed the self destruct button by conceding two soft goals. Rush tried a speculative shot from 25 yards which took a deflection off Hall and left Grobbelaar stranded, then Fowler scored his 29th of the season from the spot after Paul Tisdale floored Mark Walters. The only blackspot for Liverpool was an injury to Stig Bjornebye, who was carried off after stretching for a Redknapp cross.

Copyright - Press Association

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