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BBC Sport's Dave Woods
"The tie was over when Smicer scored his second"
 real 14k

Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier
"I thought it was a very good win"
 real 14k

Man City boss Joe Royle
Disagrees with the penalty decision
 real 14k

banner Sunday, 18 February, 2001, 18:11 GMT
Liverpool too slick for City
Jari Litmanen
Jari Litmanen celebrates his opening goal
Liverpool 4-2 Manchester City

Liverpool's glorious week of cup football continued with a comprehensive demolition of Manchester City at Anfield.

With the plaudits from an excellent Uefa Cup win in Rome still ringing in their ears, Gerard Houllier's side secured another fine win on the back of a devastating opening spell.

The Reds are gunning for a cup treble this season and this week alone they face a crucial four-match test of their chances.

  Key moments
5 mins: Litmanen fires Liverpool ahead from the penalty spot after Weaver hauls down Smicer
12 mins: Heskey doubles Liverpool's advantage with a clinical finish from Litmanen's pass
28 mins: Kanchelskis gives City hope as he crashes a shot home off the inside of a post
53 mins: Weaver again fouls Smicer, who gets up to fire home from the penalty spot
67 mins: Huckerby blazes over with the goal at his mercy
85 mins: Babbel flicks home Liverpool's fourth from a Ziege free kick
90 mins: Goater's deflected shot gives City late consolation
With the Roma return to come on Thursday and the Worthington Cup final against Birmingham in Cardiff next Sunday, Houllier understandably took the opportunity to rotate his squad.

But is is a measure of Liverpool's strength in depth that they burst into a 2-0 lead inside 13 minutes.

Michael Owen, the two-goal hero in Rome, and his Uefa Cup striker partner Robbie Fowler were both dropped to the bench as Emile Heskey and Jari Litmanen were paired up front.

And both players hit the target as Liverpool swept Joe Royle's Premiership strugglers aside.

Litmanen bagged the opener from the penalty spot after six minutes.

Nicky Weaver sent Vladimir Smicer crashing in the penalty area and referee Graham Poll was just able to point to the penalty spot as he himself took a tumble in the penalty area.

Smicer, Weaver and Poll all dusted themselves off in time to see Litmanen crash home his second penalty for Liverpool.

Emile Heskey
Heskey crashed home Liverpool's second

Six minutes later it was 2-0 when City lost possession. Litmanen hooked a beautiful ball into the path of Heskey on the right, and the striker blasted home his 18th goal of the season beyond a helpless Weaver.

In contrast to Liverpool's rich pool of talent, Royle was without a string of injured and suspended players as his side looked for a first Anfield win in 11 visits.

Kanchelskis lifeline

City's list of unavailable players had grown to 10 by kick-off time after Steve Howey was ruled out with his broken toe.

But the visitors responded positively and grabbed themselves a lifeline on 29 minutes.

Danny Tiatto swung over a corner deep to Andrei Kanchelskis on the right-hand side of the Liverpool box and the former Everton player curled a right-foot shot in off Sander Westerveld's far post.

But any hopes of a City comeback were dashed when Poll awarded Liverpool a second penalty eight minutes into the second half.

Again Weaver was the culprit and again it was Smicer who was sent crashing.

Andrei Kanchelskis
Kanchelskis gave City brief hope

With Litmanen having made way for Nicky Barmby at half time, Smicer himself took the spot kick and gave Weaver little chance to make up for his error.

There was never going to be any hope of a fightback from that point and Liverpool looked the more likely side to score.

Smicer was denied a second goal when his stinging half-volley was brilliantly palmed over by Weaver, but a fourth goal was not far away.

Houllier introduced Own and Fowler as second-half substitutes, but it was a defender who claimed the fourth goal, Marcus Babbel crashing home a Christian Ziege free kick from the right.

City, to their credit, refused to cave in to Liverpool's superiority and Shaun Goater grabbed an injury time consolation when his deflected shot flew past a helpless Westerveld.

Liverpool: Westerveld, Henchoz, Hyypia, Carragher, Biscan, Babbel, Ziege, Litmanen, Hamann, Heskey, Smicer. Subs: Arphexad, Vignal, Fowler, Barmby, Owen.

Man City: Weaver, Wiekens, Morrison, Prior, Dunne, Tiatto, Granville, Kanchelskis, Haaland, Huckerby, Goater. Subs: McKinney, Edghill, Grant, Taylor, Wright-Phillips.

Referee: G Poll (Tring)

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18 Feb 01 |  FA Cup
FA Cup draw live
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