Brighton & Hove Albion 1 Liverpool 2
By Tim Hodges at the Amex Stadium at Falmer in Brighton
The Albion gave a magnificent account of themselves in defeat against Premier League Liverpool.
Although in the first half Liverpool had a hatful of chances , but only converted one and that was after just seven minutes when Luis Suarez played in Craig Bellamy after Liam Bridcutt had given the ball away just outside the area .
Bellamy from a tight angle hit his shot across Ankergren and it went in off the post tp put the visitors one up.
The Albion were then subjected to a torrent of Liverpool pressure as the Reds refused to allow the Seagulls to maintain possession and build from the back.
Suarez hit the post when set up by Bellamy and then forced Ankergren to make a great save onto the post soon after.
The Albion were unable to get hold of the ball as Liverpool laid siege to the Albion goal.
From a floated Rodriguez cross Dirk Kuyt headed goal wards from a tight angle ,a uncharacteristic flap my Ankergren saw Craig Mackail-Smith hack the effort of the line.
After this the Albion got going as Noone teased Carragher and debutant Coates. Buckley also got involved and began to work his way into the match and had a good penalty appeal turned down.
With ten 10 minutes left to half time Mackail –Smith picked a loose ball in midfield and passed to Noone who’s shot was only parried by Reina , it looked for all the world the Sparrow would knock in the rebound , but Carragher just got there first and hooked it away.
The half ended with Steven Gerrard delighting some fans in the West Stand Lower by posing for pictures and signing autographs whilst warming up and Craig Bellamy hitting the crossbar from fully 35 yards with Ankergren beaten.
The second half had hardly started when Coates inexplicably played the ball across his own penalty area to Noone who hit the bar with a first time snap shot from 25 yards out.
The Albion began to find their stride as Cook and Greer began to bring the ball forward out of defence instead of using the fullbacks
Noone again went close and Sparrow also tried his luck.
On sixty minutes Vicente made his long awaited Albion debut in place of Buckley and Lua Lua replaced Sparrow.
The Albion were passing the ball around and pressing Liverpool back into their own half.
Vicente Picked out Lua Lua who won a free kick, but nothing came of it.
Gerrard got warm applause from all sides of the Amex when replacing Suarez.
Barnes then replaced Navarro as Albion played the ball around well, but couldn’t find the killer pass to create a goal scoring opportunity.
And as they pushed forward so Liverpool broke, Bellamy won the ball, played it to Rodriguez , who found Kyut he put Liverpool two up via the post.
This knocked the wind out of the Seagulls sails but there was time for the impressive Vicente to profit from a mistake by Spearing and was subsequently brought down by Carragher in the box.
Referee Oliver pointed to the spot and Ashley Barnes smashed home confidently from 12 yards right on 90 minutes.
The four minutes added on weren’t quite enough for Albion to get going again.
They are out of the Carling Cup but on this evidence are an outstanding Championship team.
Albion: Ankergen; Calderon, Greer, Cook, Vincelot; Buckley, Bridcutt, Navarro, Sparrow, Noone; Mackail-Smith. Subs: Brezovan, Dunk, Barnes, Vicente, LuaLua, Taricco, Kasim
Liverpool: Reina; Kelly, Carragher, Coates, Robinson; Rodriguez, Lucas, Spearing, Kuyt; Suarez, S Bellamy. Subs: Doni, Gerrard, Carroll, Flanagan, Wilson, Downing, Shelvey
Referee: Michael Oliver