Sunday 11 March 2001 14:00  Tranmere Rovers  -  Liverpool  2 - 4  FA Cup 6th Round
Sunday 11 March 2001 14:00 FA Cup 6th Round
"Tranmere Rovers" 2 - 4 "Liverpool"
 Yates 47, Allison 58    Murphy 12, Owen 27, Gerrard 52, Fowler 82 p.
Team: 1. John Achterberg, 18. Richard Hinds, 15. Graham Allen, 31. Richard Jobson, 2. Steve Yates, 9. Andy Parkinson, 8. Nick Henry (c), 16. Jason Koumas, 3. Gareth Roberts, 25. Paul Rideout, 11. Stuart Barlow.

Subs: 13. Joe Murphy, 5. Dave Challinor, 12. Alan Morgan, 4. Wayne Allison, 10. Scott Taylor.
  Team: 1. Sander Westerveld, 12. Sami Hyypia, 23. Jamie Carragher, 29. Stephen Wright, 6. Markus Babbel, 13. Danny Murphy, 17. Steven Gerrard, 21. Gary McAllister, 20. Nick Barmby, 10. Michael Owen, 9. Robbie Fowler (c).

Subs: 19. Pegguy Arphexad, 27. Gregory Vignal, 25. Igor Biscan, 37. Jari Litmanen, 7. Vladimir Smicer.
 Rideout (Allison 57), Jobson (Challinor 60)    Barmby (Biscan 66), Murphy (Smicer 83), Owen (Litmanen 87)
Referee: Alan Wiley (Burntwood)
 Booked: Allen 50, Henry 63, Roberts 80    Booked: Gerrard 42
Prenton Park (capacity 16,587)
Attendance: 16,344
  John Aldridge (Tranmere R)
Gerard Houllier (Liverpool)

Official matchday programme  Price: J2,00











  Houllier's steady Reds hit the double trail

  Tranmere Rovers yesterday discovered that the FA Cup is loth to permit two seismic upsets in any one round. Only in those rare moments when honest endeavour threatened to eclipse true class did the First Division's bottom club seem capable of following Wycombe Wanderers into this season's semi-finals.

  Premiership flesh usually withers and dies on the Wirral peninsula. In the past two seasons John Aldridge's journeymen have beaten seven members of the English game's aristocracy on home soil. But Liverpool to their great credit bucked the trend and with only Wycombe now blocking their path to Cardiff they may well become only the second club, after Arsenal, to win both the FA and League Cups in the same season.

  "I said it would be a difficult day and it was," said Liverpool's manager Gйrard Houllier. "Tranmere work so very, very hard; they never give you anything. I'm delighted to be through. Wycombe? That won't be easy either."

  The suspicion remains that for all the household names scrapping for public acceptance within Liverpool's over-crowded ranks, the grand jigsaw puzzle is still incomplete.

  Only a fool prone to debilitating bouts of xenophobia would now decry the input of Houllier, for if nothing else he has introduced order and almost reverential calm where there was seething discontent which at times appeared to verge on outright mutiny.

  Tranmere's football is high-octane stuff sustained by sheer effort. Though Liverpool's defence is, of course, an admirably proficient unit, yesterday it was subjected to disruption and was thus rather less mean and watertight than of late. Indeed, in the opening, frantic exchanges it boasted all the repellent powers of sodden tissue paper.

  With Markus Babbel moved to centre-back to cover for the loss of the injured Stephane Henchoz, Liverpool were exposed down their right flank where young Stephen Wright struggled, initially at least, to hang on to the coat-tails of Jason Koumas, Tranmere's most gifted player.

  Had Tranmere managed to find a way through during this brief period of supremacy, the outcome might have been different. "I'm proud of them; they gave it everything they had," said Aldridge.

  As it was, much as they had done in Porto three days earlier, Liverpool simply soaked up the pressure. This time, however, they were to shake off the drips and score.

  After 12 decidedly uneasy minutes Tranmere caved in, Danny Murphy arriving almost unannounced at the far post to head home a fine Michael Owen cross from the left.

  Thereafter there was much ado about nothing until Liverpool strolled forward to double their advantage on 27 minutes. Sami Hyypia's long and forceful clearance was craftily controlled by Murphy, who then simply ran the ball square into the path of Owen who, quite naturally, scored from no great distance.

  But, Tranmere never give up, however lost the cause may appear to be. Barely 60 seconds into the second half they were back in the frame, Steve Yates heading home Koumas's cross at the far post.

  Liverpool would have been forgiven had they moved into panic mode, for in the previous round Southampton had given up a three-goal advantage at the same venue. Instead, on 52 minutes the tireless Steven Gerrard rose inside a crowded area to head in a Gary McAllister corner.

  Still Tranmere were not done and six minutes later, only seconds after being introduced by Aldridge, the substitute Wayne Allison put the outcome of the match back into the melting pot when he collected Robbie Fowler's weak back-pass and converted.

  It was not until Fowler atoned for that error from the spot eight minutes from the end, after McAllister had been hauled down by Yates, that Liverpool were home, dry and dreaming of another day trip to south Wales.

  Tranmere (0) 2 - 4 (2) Liverpool
  Yates (47)
  Allison (58)
  Murphy (11)
  Owen (27)
  Gerrard (52)
  Fowler (82) pen

  Tranmere Rovers
  Achterberg; Allen, Hinds, Jobson (Challinor), Roberts, Yates; Henry, Parkinson; Barlow, Koumas, Rideout (Allison).

  Westerveld; Babbel, Carragher, Hyypia, Wright; Gerrard, McAllister, Murphy (Smicer); Barmby (Biscan), Fowler, Owen (Litmanen).

  Referee: A. G. Wiley (Burntwood)

  Attendance: 16,334

  Tranmere Rovers: Allen (50) Henry (63) Roberts (80)
  Liverpool: Gerrard (42)

  Sent off


  Tranmere Rovers: 16
  Liverpool: 16


  Tranmere Rovers: 6
  Liverpool: 9

  Goal attempts

  Tranmere Rovers: 5
  Liverpool: 10

  On target

  Tranmere Rovers: 3
  Liverpool: 7

  Hit woodwork

  Tranmere Rovers: 0
  Liverpool: 0


  Tranmere Rovers: 4
  Liverpool: 3

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