Liverpool beat Man Utd in the FA Cup

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Liverpool claimed their first FA Cup victory over Manchester United for 85 years with relative ease as they confirmed their place in the quarter finals with a 1-0 win at Anfield.

A first half Peter Crouch header gave The Reds revenge for the defeat at Old Trafford in January that saw Gary Neville charged by The FA for his controversial celebrations.

However, there was little cause for joy for the United skipper in the latest instalment in one of English football's most heated derbies, as a shaky backline contributed to United's exit from the competition they have won on 11 occasions.

Indeed matters were compounded for the visitors in the final minutes as substitute Alan Smith had to be stretchered off after a nasty looking leg injury that caused considerable concern in The Red Devils' ranks.

Neville was predictably the recipient of some heavy booing after his antics at Old Trafford, and the England international was also on the receiving end of a crunching challenge from Harry Kewell within four minutes that could have yielded a booking for the Australia international.

The opening exchanges were not quite providing the spectacle expected of this clash between English football's most successful teams, but Portuguese winger Cristiano Ronaldo attempted to inject some energy into the affair as he unleashed a low drive that Jose Reina grabbed at the second attempt.

Liverpool maintained an aerial bombardment with a series of John Arne Riise throw-ins and Gerrard set-pieces, and were millimetres away from taking the lead when Edwin van der Sar dived to tip away a Kewell header with the very ends of his fingers after a dangerous free kick from the Reds captain.

However, from the resulting corner Crouch was on hand to become the first Liverpool striker to score in 2006 as he sent Anfield into raptures on 19 minutes.

Gerrard's short corner saw Steve Finnan find the gangly hit-man unmarked, and van der Sar was unable to replicate his previous heroics as his touch failed to prevent Crouch's header going in off the post.

United were keen to respond immediately but were struggling to test Reina, and Riise did well to block a Wayne Rooney effort after Darren Fletcher had played the young star in on the edge of the box.

However, it was Liverpool who posed more of a threat as a United backline, shorn of Rio Ferdinand due to injury, looked uneasy on a number of occasions - although Nemanja Vidic produced a good block to prevent Fernando Morientes a sight at goal just after the half hour mark.

Just a minute later The Reds should have had a penalty when Ryan Giggs received a yellow card as he came through the back of Kewell, and, from the Gerrard free kick given instead, Finnan was lurking unmarked at the far post and only found the side netting as he wasted a glorious volleyed opportunity.

Mohamed Sissoko also attempted an ambitious long range effort as Liverpool ended the half firmly on top to give Sir Alex Ferguson plenty to ponder at the interval.

The Scot responded to his side's troubles by introducing French striker Louis Saha for defensive compatriot Mikael Silvestre, but the defensive jitters continued early in the second period when Wes Brown headed just over his own bar from a Riise cross.

His central partner Vidic, new to the club in January, also looked uncomfortable and a lack of communication between the Serbia & Montenegro international and van der Sar allowed Crouch to steal in and a hook a long leg around the defender - although his effort crept wide of the post with the United keeper stranded.

Seemingly lacking inspiration, the visitors suddenly threatened as Neville delivered a top-quality cross from the right that Finnan intercepted with Ruud van Nistelrooy waiting to tap into an empty net.

Sami Hyypia then found his name in the book after a challenge on Neville, and from the resultant Giggs free kick, Rooney, puzzlingly left unattended on the edge of the box, pulled his drive wide.

Despite their brief flurry United still looked shaky at the back, and van der Sar flailed at an attempted punch to set up a run of play that saw Crouch head weakly at the Dutchman from another Gerrard corner.

Van Nistelrooy was enduring a frustrating afternoon as he turned neatly before losing the ball in the box, and was later denied by an offside flag after a neat through-ball from Saha.

For Liverpool both Sissoko and Kewell pulled shots wide across the face of goal when they should really have given van der Sar a stern test, but United's defence were failing their own examination as both Neville and Vidic were shown the yellow card for clumsy challenges on Kewell and Luis Garcia respectively.

The ongoing feud between the United captain and Liverpool's Australian winger continued as Kewell also sustained a yellow for a clattering piece of retribution, whilst Ferguson's men looked to be finding their range when van Nistelrooy saw an overhead kick deflected wide by Jamie Carragher before Giggs fizzed a strong volley just over.

The Welsh star also saw a free kick hit the wall, with Ronaldo also unable to beat Reina from a drive, before United's woes were compounded by a nasty injury to substitute Smith.

Play was delayed for a lengthy spell as the midfielder was attended to on the pitch, with Smith appearing to sustain substantial damage to his ankle after blocking a Riise free kick and landing on his left leg.

Seven additional minutes were added after Smith was stretchered off the field of play, but United were unable to threaten in what remained of the tie as they bowed out of the FA Cup at Anfield.

Brilliant performance from Liverpool, we totally outclassed Manure all over the park and got what we deserved :D

Sorry to see Alan Smith suffer a serious injury, kudos to the Liverpool medics for helping him as well (Y)

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Manchester United have confirmed that Alan Smith has suffered a broken leg, as well as a dislocated ankle, in an injury that Sir Alex Ferguson has described as one of the worst he has seen in football.

The England international came on as a substitute in the 1-0 FA Cup defeat at the hands of Liverpool, but was stretchered off with full time approaching after blocking a free kick from John Arne Riise.

Smith appeared to fall heavily on his left ankle and the incident caused considerable concern amongst the United players as he lay stricken on the ground.

Seven minutes of injury time were added at Anfield, and it has now been confirmed that Smith has gone to hospital after suffering the nasty break.

Red Devils boss Ferguson has gone as far as to suggest that Smith's problem is one of the worst he has seen in over 30 years of management, and puts the former Leeds man's potential participation in the rest of the season, as well as the World Cup finals, in extreme doubt.

"He has broken his leg and dislocated the ankle joint," Ferguson told MUTV.

"It is a bad one. He has gone to hospital, it looks very long term - it is one of the worst I have seen. I am sure he will be back."

Even though I am a Liverpool fan, Alan Smith has always been a good player in my eyes. What a terrible and horrific injury, hope he makes a full recovery :o

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Man U fan here. Terrible on Man Us part, created no worthy opportunities. Dont get me wrong, they played ok, but you dont play like this against Liverpool.

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Was behind Liverpool all the way. There was only Giggs who looked dangerous, as usual.

I really don't like Smith but that shouldn't happen to anyone, Rise really gave that some welly.

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I support Man UTD but for now I really want some change, such as change the manager or sell some old player.

The team need the new blood or new player not School, Giggs, Neville, Brown oh ! You've seen these guy playing in the red shirt for more than 5 years. Take a look at Liverpool Chelsea or Arsenal, there are almost all new player.

sorry for my bad english*

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I support Man UTD but for now I really want some change, such as change the manager or sell some old player.

The team need the new blood or new player not School, Giggs, Neville, Brown oh ! You've seen these guy playing in the red shirt for more than 5 years. Take a look at Liverpool Chelsea or Arsenal, there are almost all new player.

sorry for my bad english*

I wouldnt agree with that to be honest. Sir Alex Ferguson will never be sacked, he single handedly built Man Utd.

It is always important to have a few older and more experienced players in your squad, especially when players like Scholes, Neville and co were actually developed at Manchester Utd. Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal built the base of their squad many years ago and it is not good for team spirit and continuality to chop and change the squad all the time.

Liverpool's base of players - Hyypia, Carragher, Gerrard, Fowler, Finnan, Riise, Hamman,

Chelsea's base of players - Lampard, Terry, Gudjohnsen, Cudinci,

Arsenal's base of players - Henry, Pires, Ljungberg, Cole, Campbell, Lauren

So you can see that arguably the best teams in the Premiership actually started blooding their squad a while ago, and it is important to have a solid and experienced base to any team.

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pretty sure fergie's signing ballack on free and gattuso 7mil end of season. anyway we did play crap 2day smith shuda started along with saha. rvn and saha in strike with rooney and smith in central midfield. midfield was the weakest. we got physically dominated in that area

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Smith dislocated ankle and broken leg. :cry:

I don't care for the result, I'm more gutted by this!

But yeah, Chelsea will win the FA Cup this year. It wasn't a great performance by Utd as playing two wingers in centre mid was a stupid idea that didn't pay off. You need muscle in there, not fancy touches; especially in such a game as this.

Crouch scoring was even lamer though.

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