Liverpool face an FA Cup replay for only the sixth time this century as they go to Bolton Wanderers tonight, but their recent record in cup matches played the second time around will hardly be encouraging for the Reds.
Brendan Rodgers’ side dominated the goalless draw at Anfield without ever finding the net against their Championship opponents, and the Northern Irishman will want to avoid the fate of a couple of his predecessors.
Liverpool 1 Reading 2 (AET), Third round, 13/01/2010
This proved to be Rafael Benitez’s final season in charge at Anfield, and exiting the FA Cup at the first hurdle to a Reading side struggling in the Championship (and who had just sacked a certain Brendan Rodgers) proved to be one of final nails in his coffin.
After a tight 1-1 draw at the Madejski Stadium, the Reds took the lead just before half-time when Ryan Bertrand turned Steven Gerrard’s cross into his own net, only for the visitors to deservedly equalise deep into stoppage time through a Gylfi Sigurdsson penalty, and then win the match thanks to Shane Long’s extra-time header in front of a stunned Kop, who obviously hadn’t reckoned with the fact that the players in this Royals team would become a who’s-who of the Premier League in 2014/15.
Everton 1 Liverpool 0 (AET), Fourth round, 04/02/2009
Joleon Lescott and Gerrard exchanged goals at Anfield in this fourth round Merseyside derby, and with Liverpool down to 10 men at Goodison the Reds held on for extra-time, and were then just two minutes away from a penalty shootout.
Enter Everton substitute Dan Gosling, who controlled smartly and fired home the winner with just two minutes of the extra 30 remaining – a goal which would have been greeted with even more fanfare had half the country not missed it due to an ITV error. The other half got their pictures back just in time, not that Liverpool fans would have enjoyed them.
Liverpool 5 Luton Town 0, Third round, 15/01/2008
League One Luton had pushed Liverpool all the way in the first game at Kenilworth Road, earning a replay when John Arne Riise’s own goal (one of many), cancelled out a Peter Crouch effort.
The Reds were in no mood to mess about in the return at Anfield, though, and with Benitez naming an extremely strong side, his skipper Gerrard scored a second half hat-trick – the last of which coming from trademark range – to add to strikes from Ryan Babel and Sami Hyypia as the visitors wree overwhelmed.
Gerard Houllier’s Liverpool reign was beginning to fall apart in late February 2004, and after a Matt Taylor goal cancelled out Michael Owen’s strike in the first game at Anfield, the Reds exited the FA Cup in dismal fashion on the south coast.
Having been heavily criticised at the club’s AGM, Houllier saw Owen’s penalty saved by Shaka Hislop and then Richard Hughes win the tie with 19 minutes remaining for Pompey. The Frenchman’s Liverpool tenure was to last just three more months.
Liverpool 0 Crystal Palace 2, Fourth round, 26/01/2003
A goalless game at Selhurst Park featured nothing more than a trademark injury to Chris Kirkland, before the Reds’ frequent bogey side Crystal Palace – then of the Championship – stunned the Premier League side in the return.
A stunning strike from Julian Gray opened the scoring for Trevor Francis’s Eagles, who soon after saw Dougie Freedman sent off.
On a night when both Owen and Emile Heskey missed countless chances, a Palace break ended with Stephane Henchoz putting the ball in his own net to double the visitors’ lead, and there was no coming back from that.