Liverpool 6 Brighton 1: Lessons from a Reds rout at Anfield
What did we learn from Liverpool's comprehensive 6-1 victory over Brighton in the FA Cup fifth round on Sunday?
Suárez was hit and miss
The Uruguay striker made an underwhelming start to his FA Cup debut for Liverpool on Sunday, before bursting into life after 21 minutes with an impressive period of play. First, he combined with Stewart Downing to unlock the vistors’ defence, but the England winger was unable to finish. Then, minutes later, Suárez went on a meandering run, ducking past two Brighton defenders before his shot was smothered. The 25-year-old was at his mercurial best on the half-hour mark, when he outwitted the Brighton defence but Inigo Calderón’s last-ditch clearance off the line denied the South American a goal. Suárez then missed a 80th-minute penalty, but he finally netted when Andy Carroll’s unselfish header teed up his strike partner to net Liverpool’s sixth.
No FA Cup romance for Brighton
Kazenga LuaLua’s first-half strike would have been a fitting winner for any game but Brighton and Hove Albion were unable to keep Liverpool quiet and produce an FA Cup upset. The Reds were too strong for their Championship opposition, but the vistors’ goal added a sprinkling of class to an otherwise error-strewn affair. The 21-year-old won a free-kick after his darting run was halted by Charlie Adam’s clumsy challenge. The former Newcastle United youth star then unleashed a powerful drive past the collapsing Liverpool wall and into the net. The Reds have now twice broken Brighton hearts this season, having beaten the Seagulls 2-1 in the Carling Cup fourth round.
Chelsea’s conveyer belt of coaches
The list of former Manchester United players who have tried their hand at management in an attempt to emulate their former boss Sir Alex Ferguson includes Steve Bruce, Paul Ince, Mark Hughes, Roy Keane and Gordon Strachan. The ex-Red Devils have all enjoyed relative success, but it appears Chelsea are now producing their own conveyer belt of coaches. Gianfranco Zola and Roberto Di Matteo are two names to have enjoyed mixed success in recent seasons. But Gus Poyet is the most promising proposition of the former Blues stars, and despite the manner and margin of Sunday’s defeat, the Uruguayan’s side are serious candidates for promotion this season, just two points off the Championship play-off places.
Brighton undone by set-pieces
Brighton have produced two contrasting performances against the Reds this season. Poyet’s side were competitive in the Carling Cup fixture in September and for a spell on Sunday, the visitors looked a threat to Liverpool’s hopes of a FA Cup quarter-final tie with Stoke City. But Brighton were unable to cope with Liverpool’s set-piece threat, and in particular, the deliveries of Adam and Steven Gerrard. The latter’s whipped corner was headed home by Martin Skrtel to hand the Reds an early lead, and Liam Bridcutt put the ball in his own net after confusion from Adam’s set-piece to give the Reds a timely boost before half-time. It is an aspect of Liverpool’s game that has been lacking at times this season despite Adam’s set-piece prowess, famously valued at £10m by Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
Anfield’s most prolific striker
Liverpool were the beneficiaries of Brighton’s inadvertent prolificacy as the Seagulls put the ball into their own net on three occasions. Bridcutt endured a woeful afternoon, scoring own-goals either side of half-time to hand Liverpool a comfortable lead. But the most comical of Brighton’s blunders came from Lewis Dunk. Suárez’s cross was deflected onto his chest by Peter Brezovan, prompting the defender to play keepy-uppy, but his poor control saw the ball bounce over the visitors’ line. In fact, Liverpool’s new prolific signing scored more in one game than any other Liverpool player has at Anfield this season. Carroll and Suárez take note.