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BBC Sport's Alan Green and Mark Lawrenson
"It's been a great cup run for Tranmere, but Liverpool were expected to win"
 real 14k

Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier
"It could have been easier, but they kept us on our toes throughout the match"
 real 14k

Liverpool's Gary McAllister
"We were caught sleeping a couple of times"
 real 14k

Tranmere boss John Aldridge
"We played well, especially in the second half"
 real 14k

banner Sunday, 11 March, 2001, 16:56 GMT
Liverpool cling on to beat Tranmere
Murphy celebrates Liverpool's first against Tranmere
Murphy celebrates Liverpool's first against Tranmere
Tranmere 2-4 Liverpool

Liverpool are through to the semi-final of the FA Cup - but only after a number of heart-stopping moments against Tranmere.

The Division One basement side twice came back in a rip-roaring tie at Prenton Park but the Premiership side clung on to win 4-2.

Tranmere had come from 3-0 down to beat Southampton 4-3 in the previous round but there the FA Cup fairytale ended as they lost to Liverpool.

Another giant-killing act Wycombe Wanderers, 2-1 victors over Leicester City, will now take on the Reds on 8 April.

Liverpool were 2-0 up after the first half and completely dominating the game.

But a Tranmere goal straight after the re-start gave the Wirral team fresh impetus and from then on it was a full-bloodied battle between the two Merseysiders.

McAllister and Rideout battle for possession
McAllister and Rideout battle for possession
Liverpool, already Worthington Cup winners, are now in the semi-finals of the FA Cup, as well as the quarter-finals of the Uefa Cup and fourth in the Premiership.

Tranmere must now concentrate on beating relegation from the First Division.

After a furious opening, Liverpool went a goal up in the 11th minute - thanks to a Tranmere corner.

A disappointing - and expensive - delivery from Jason Koumas saw Liverpool charge up the other end. Owen crossed the ball, and Danny Murphy headed Liverpool into a 1-0 lead.

Having calmed their nerves, Liverpool began to play more attractive football and their passing was notably better.

They had a chance to go 2-0 up but Steven Gerrard's 25-yard free kick was hit low into a melee of players and cleared up field.

  Match facts
11 mins: Danny Murphy puts Liverpool 1-0 up
27 mins: Michael Owen makes in 2-0
47 mins: Steve Yates pulls a goal back for Tranmere
52 mins: Steven Gerrard makes it 3-1 to Liverpool
58 mins: Wayne Allison makes it 3-2
81 mins: Robbie Fowler scores from penalty spot to secure 4-2 win
Minutes later Liverpool doubled their advantage when Owen scored his first goal in England since Christmas.

Owen coolly slotted past Achterberg after Murphy's brilliant first touch and cross spilt the Tranmere defence.

Liverpool dominated the first half with a no-nonsense hard-tackling midfield with Gerrard again outstanding.

Tranmere found it hard to carve out chances although their best of the first half came from a free kick.

Koumas took it and it whistled past the left post, with keeper Sander Westerveld stranded if the shot had been on target.

Aldridge must have given the Tranmere team a stern talking to at half time as almost straight from kick-off, the Division One side pulled a goal back.

Koumas crossed the ball and Steve Yates, who scored against Southampton in the previous round, headed Tranmere back into the game.

Terrible mistake

It shocked Liverpool but they were able to respond and within five minutes had restored their two-goal advantage.

Gary McAllister floated in a corner, which was headed on by Marcus Babbel and Gerrard made no mistake from six yards out.

Tranmere again came back in the 58th minute - gifted a goal after a terrible mistake by Robbie Fowler.

Fowler inexcusably kicked the ball towards Westerveld but it hit Babbel and went straight into the path of Wayne Allison who had just come off the bench.

Allison turned and shot low past Westerveld to give Tranmere a huge lift.

It was fast and furious from then on with Tranmere pushing Liverpool and letting fly with shots from all angles.

With 10 minutes to go, Liverpool again restored their two-goal lead after McAllister was fouled in the area.

Captain Fowler stepped up and calmly placed the ball in the bottom left hand corner to make amends for his earlier crime.


Teams:

Tranmere: Achterberg, Hinds, Allen, Jobson, Yates, Parkinson, Henry, Koumas, Roberts, Rideout, Barlow. Subs: Murphy, Allison, Scott Taylor, Morgan, Challinor.

Liverpool: Westerveld, Babbel, Wright, Hyypia, Carragher, Barmby, McAllister, Gerrard, Murphy, Fowler, Owen. Subs: Smicer, Arphexad, Biscan, Vignal, Litmanen.
Referee: A Wiley (Burntwood)

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See also:

11 Mar 01 |  FA Cup
Wycombe draw Liverpool
11 Mar 01 |  Photo Galleries
Sunday's FA Cup quarter-finals - in pictures
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