Liverpool see off Man City

A second-half penalty from Danny Murphy took Liverpool into the FA Cup fourth round and provided some welcome relief for manager Gerard Houllier.

England midfielder Murphy struck a minute into the second half as Liverpool overcame a strangely subdued Manchester City in what proved to be the last FA Cup tie at Maine Road.

We went out with a whimper. You have to turn up and compete in the FA Cup.
Man City boss Kevin Keegan

Despite a run of ten winless Premiership matches, Liverpool were good value for their win, dominating the first half and holding firm when City eventually stirred themselves into a late rally.

Liverpool did not look like a side low on confidence as they knocked the ball around confidently.

Vladimir Smicer's screaming 25-yard volley through a ruck of players was met with an equally stunning save from Peter Schmeichel.

Nicola Anelka ploughed a lone furrow up front against his former club but Neil Mellor - making his second start for Liverpool - made a bright start against his father's old club.

He cut inside from the right touchline to let fly with a powerful off-target effort and Gerard Wiekens was left with his heart in his mouth as a rash and untidy challenge sent the young Liverpool striker tumbling in the City box.

Maine Road's FA Cup farewell
46mins: Danny Murphy's penalty puts Liverpool ahead
84mins: Shaun Goater heads just over for City
89mins: El-Hadji Diouf almost lobs Schmeichel from long-range

City's re-organised back line looked nervous at times and Sami Hyypia was left unmarked at a corner to plant a 20th minute header just wide.

Referee Uriah Rennie played a good advantage to allow Niclas Jensen to slot a pass through Liverpool's defence, but it was just out of reach of Anelka's lunge for City's first sight of goal on 21 minutes.

Mellor again showed his eye for goal twice in the space of a minute, first with a header wide of the target followed by an angled shot which forced Schmeichel quickly into action.

City were forced to reshuffle on 41 minutes with Lucien Mettomo limping off.

But replacement Eyal Berkovic made an instant impact with a slide-rule pass through to Anelka, whose low shot drew the first save from Liverpool keeper Chris Kirkland.

Liverpool took the lead a minute into the second half in controversial circumstances.

Referee Rennie waved away penalty appeals when El-Hadji Diouf tumbled as he turned Sun Jihai.

But seconds later the referee pointed to the spot when Smicer's cross struck Marc-Vivien Foe's upstretched hand and Danny Murphy rolled home the kick.

This club is about winning things and our form in the League has not been acceptable
Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier

The goal stung Man City in action, but they lacked the cutting edge to break down a well-drilled Livepool defence.

City were forced to shoot from distance and Kevin Horlock's 25-yard effort flew high over the bar.

Liverpool stretched City as the home team searched for an equaliser and Smicer crossed to the far post but Djimi Traore's volley was blocked by Sun.

Even when they did succeed in prising Liverpool open, City's finishing was poor, with Foe slicing wildly over from 12 yards and Berkovic placing the tamest of headers into Kirkland's hands.

El-Hadji Diouf almost embarrassed Schmiechel, volleying just wide from 45 yards after the City keeper had sprinted from goal to head clear.

Copyright - BBC

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