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Last Updated: Sunday, 6 January 2008, 17:56 GMT
Luton 1-1 Liverpool
By Chris Whyatt

John Arne Riise
Luton celebrate their equaliser after John Arne Riise's own goal
Embattled Luton put in a superb display against a weakened Liverpool to earn an FA Cup third-round replay at Anfield on Tuesday week.

The League One side were the better team in the first-half but could not convert their pressure into goals.

But Peter Crouch's simple finish gave Liverpool a second-half lead under the gaze of England manager Fabio Capello.

Yet Luton fought on and were rewarded when John Arne Riise bundled into his own goal from Drew Talbot's cross.

With the debt-laden Hatters in administration and looking for a buyer, and with many players unpaid in recent months, this FA Cup tie was a chance to forget briefly their woes.

Yet within 30 seconds Ryan Babel jinked into the penalty area to shoot low and hard, forcing a superb stop from Luton keeper Dean Brill.

Luton quickly regrouped and rarely looked like a team languishing in the League One relegation zone as they took the game to Liverpool.


Their first chance came when Steve Finnan played David Edwards onside but, one-on-one, Liverpool keeper Charles Itandje made an impressive stop from the Luton forward.

The Reds, not looking their forceful best without Steven Gerrard, did create chances and Dirk Kuyt should have done better than sky the ball over the bar after a neat one-two with Crouch.

As the first-half wore on, Crouch got little chance to impress Capello with Luton stretching Liverpool all over the pitch and having the best of the possession.

The energetic Talbot was at the heart of their pressure but, finding himself in an inviting shooting position on 37 minutes after Steve Finnan's error, he screwed the ball lamely wide.

At half-time Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez tweaked his formation to a 4-3-3, pushing Babel closer to the front two and freeing Yossi Benayoun in midfield.

Fabio Capello
England manager Fabio Capello had few top-level prospects to watch

This change had an immediate impact as Xabi Alonso found Kuyt out on the right and his drilled cross-shot just evaded Babel at the back post.

Luton survived another scare moments later with Brill making a good reaction stop after Riise's drive was deflected across the path of his dive.

The Hatters had a glorious chance to make a breakthrough on 54 minutes with Darren Currie chipping a cross in, only for the unmarked Talbot to head over from three yards.

But calamitous Luton defending on 72 minutes let substitute Andriy Voronin break free and, though his shot was saved by Brill, Crouch fired home the rebound.

Minutes later Luton deservedly got their goal as the unremitting Talbot whipped in a cross from the left byeline and, under pressure from David Edwards, Riise bundled into his own goal.

Riise should have scored the winner soon after but flashed a left-foot shot narrowly wide of Brill's post and Edwards went close for Luton with a dipping volley.

Luton: Brill, Keane, Perry, Coyne, Goodall, Bell, Currie, Edwards, Spring, Talbot, Andrew.
Subs Not Used: Hutchison, Jackson, Robinson, O'Leary, Furlong.

Goals: Riise 77 og.

Liverpool: Itandje, Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Riise, Benayoun (El Zhar 86), Alonso, (Mascherano 74), Lucas, Babel (Voronin 70), Crouch, Kuyt.
Subs Not Used: Martin, Hobbs.

Booked: Alonso, Riise, Hyypia

Goals: Crouch 74

Att: 10,226

Ref: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire).

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Luton Town's Drew Talbot 7.09 (on 90 minutes).

  • Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

    Player Rater
    06 Jan 08 |  Premier League
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    06 Jan 08 |  Football
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