The Reds were dumped out of the League cup by league two side Northampton after a penalty shoot out. On a soggy Anfield night squad players brought in to play the game just didn't step up tot he mark.
A much changed Reds side took to the pitch for the game but it was still a side with big players throughout. Brad Jones made his debut in goal and Danny Wilson played his first Reds game at left back. Spearing and Lucas had central midfield whilst Pacheco got a rare start in right midfield behind a strike duo of Babel and Ngog.
The Reds got off to a great start as well by scoring after just eight minutes. Agger brought the ball out before sliding the Serbian in round the back of the defence and he slotted home. You obviously only had positive thoughts at this moment.
Northampton though didn't see the goal as the end of their night and dug in to play some football. They slowly got more and more in to the game and as they got in to the game the Reds became more and more ragged. Pacheco was always coming inside to cut the width off from one side and Jovanovic did the same on the left. The Reds though were just becoming very one paced and one dimensional when they did manage to keep hold of the ball and it became far to easy for Northampton to defend anything that came their way.
The first half ultimately after that became most noteworthy for one visiting fan getting arrested. Normally that wouldn't be something to spot in the crowd but given that this one required five police officers and two stewards and they still struggled that became more noticeable.
The second half saw pretty much the same style of play from the Reds as the first - poor!
Just ten minutes in to the second half and the Anfield crowd was stunned as McKay scored the equaliser. This now was really going to be a fight for the Reds but the problem was is that they were all so slowed down that you really looked for those so called better players to drag you up.
David Ngog up front was just being starved of any service despite him trying to run in to positions. Time and again the centre of midfield was just being by-passed for quality. A player Lucas should have been stamping his authority on the game.
The game just became very bitty though and as the clock ticked on you had half a fear of Northampton being the side to send the Reds out before the ninety. A few long throws in to the box just never quite had you sitting comfortably.
Because the side was a bit of a gamble as well the bench was packed full of kids so there was no big experience players to come on and settle the game down and get the Reds back in to control. As a result no subs were made before extra time for the Reds. That proved a critical gamble in the end I think.
Extra time came and Nathan Eccleston was sent on to replace Jovanovic. Eccleston actually had an early chance as well but missed the target with his shot.
Eight minutes in to the half and the visitors took the lead. Wilson was beaten all ends up on the left of defence and despite a couple of chances being stopped the ball fell to Jacobs who managed to slam the ball in to the back of the net before Kelly could get a block in.
This now was critical for the Reds and Jonjo Shelvey came on to replace Ryan Babel who as usual was poor and did himself no favours. Shelvey came on and looked lively - I think just being lively made him stand out for us which says it all about the side.
Sotirios Kyrgiakos was pushed up top and Wilson moved inside to central defence and he did looked a bit calmer there although their was less pressure by this point.
Just before half time of extra time Tom Ince was introduced for Pacheco who had gone more central after Babel went off but he had really struggled to get in to the game at all.
The night now was on a knife edge to whether the Reds could equalise at the very least. Lucas went really close with an almost carbon copy of his goal against Steaua Bucharest a week ago. This one though went just wide of the post.
Martin Kelly then volleyed wide of the target and Jay Spearing blasted over the bar. The equaliser finally came with five minutes to go as David Ngog nodded in at the far post from a Shelvey corner which was flicked on by Kyrgiakos.
Now all of a sudden there was an urgency about the Reds to try and win the game and the crowd tried to help them. That didn't come though and it was down to a shoot out.
The Reds won the toss and had the penalties at the Kop end and Brad Jones wound the crowd up ready for the first spot kick. Guinan stepped up and with Jones dancing all across his line it put him off to blast over and wide.
Advantage Liverpool and David Ngog stepped up next. He scored last week from the spot but this week sliced his shot past the right hand post so it was all back to square one again.
Thornton scored for them and Shelvey confidently equalised for us. Davis scored and Agger converted for us before Jacobs scored to make it three two. Eccleston then stepped forward for the Reds and despite sending the keeper the wrong way his spot kick cannoned back off the cross bar.
It was now all down to Abdul Osman who made no mistake to send the visitors in to the next round of the cup. A hugely disappointing night and to be fair I think the right team went through. To go through after a performance like ours would not have been fair and would have let a fair few players off the hook a little. Players who are in and around the main first team just didn't step up on the night and that proved crucial.
MotM : Martin Kelly - played well on the night and pulled off a couple of great blocks to stop goals late in the game. He can at least hold his head up. Shelvey also looked an interesting player when he came on and he showed glimpses of exactly why we brought him to the club.