Brighton 1-2 Liverpool: Match Report

21 September 2011 10:05

Craig Bellamy's inspired performance helped Liverpool secure progression to the Carling Cup fourth round as they won 2-1 to condemn Brighton to their first competitive defeat at the Amex Stadium.

The 32-year-old flourished on his second full debut for the club, having rejoined the Reds from Manchester City in the summer. Bellamy broke the deadlock in the seventh minute with a neat finish from an awkward angle and performed with aplomb throughout, including a superb 30-yard free-kick that rattled the crossbar.

Craig Noone's superb curling effort hit the crossbar shortly after the restart and Ashley Barnes scored a late penalty, although Dirk Kuyt had already put the tie out of reach for the Reds, whose Steven Gerrard came off the bench to make his first appearance since March.

The third-round encounter was the pair's first meeting in more than 20 years and one that Liverpool started strongly. Jay Spearing blazed a long-range shot over in the fourth minute and only a last-ditch tackle prevented Maxi Rodriguez prodding goalwards.

Liverpool's pressure paid dividends in just the seventh minute when Luis Suarez poked the ball through to Bellamy, who finished neatly from a tight angle.

The visitors continued to attack after breaking the deadlock and Kuyt saw a fierce shot blocked by Gordon Greer. The Dutchman almost snuck in at the back post soon after and then had a shot cleared off the line from the resulting corner.

Bellamy saw a rasping 30-yard free-kick rattle the crossbar as half-time approached, before Casper Ankergren was forced to tip Spearing's superb left-footed drive onto the post.

The Seagulls looked rejuvenated after the break and two minutes in Noone's 25-yard curling effort hit the crossbar. Jose Reina was well beaten by the former Liverpool junior but was on his toes to save from Matt Sparrow from close range shortly afterwards.

With 16 minutes remaining Gerrard made his long-awaited return from a groin injury in place of Suarez. The south coast side continued to search for an equaliser but Kuyt seemingly put the match out reach with less than 10 minutes remaining, latching onto Rodriguez's pass to beat Ankergren.

Substitute Barnes pulled one back from the spot in the 89th minute after Jamie Carragher was adjudged to have fouled Vicente Rodriguez, although the goal proved a mere consolation.

Source: PA

World Cup Group G

Belgium 1 0 0 3 3
England 1 0 0 1 3
Tunisa 0 0 1 -1 0
Panama 0 0 1 -3 0
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