Hatters secure Reds replay
Riise own goal gifts Luton deserved draw
Last Updated: 06/01/08 7:38pm
Heads I win: Hyypia and Andrew challenge for the ball
Luton earned a lucrative FA Cup replay with Liverpool after a 1-1 draw with the Premier League titans at Kenilworth Road.
John Arne Riise's unfortunate own goal cancelled out Peter Crouch's opener to secure a money-spinning replay at Anfield.
The League One outfit dominated for large proceedings of the game with Dave Edwards and Drew Talbot going close for the home side.
Liverpool could count themselves lucky to still be in the competition after a lacklustre display by Rafa Benitez's men.
It had promised to be a good afternoon for Liverpool when Ryan Babel tested Dean Brill within seconds of the kick-off.
The striker spun into the penalty before firing in a right-foot shot that Brill did well to hold at the second attempt.
But it was Luton's turn to squander a real opportunity in the fourth minute when Dave Edwards got clear of the Liverpool defence but his shot was well saved by Charles Itandje.
WasteDirk Kuyt was the next Red to waste a real chance when he blazed a pass from Crouch over the crossbar from the edge of the penalty area.
Babel then provided a fine cross for Kuyt moments later but the striker failed to direct his diving header on the target and the chance went begging.
Luton were certainly not being outplayed by the Premier League side and they continued to cause the Reds problems.
Luton's Talbot proved a particular menace and in the 20th minute he burst down the left flank, left Hyypia for dead, and delivered a low cross which Itandje had to clear in haste.
England striker Crouch twice wasted clear chances to put Liverpool in front in the 34th minute but the tall striker could not find the target on either occasion.
Under-fire Liverpool boss Benitez must have thought his side had taken the lead in the 51st minute when Riise let fly with a 22-yard drive which took a deflection off Chris Perry.
But Luton goalkeeper Brill pulled off a magnificent save when he palmed the ball to safety.
Liverpool had a lucky escape themselves in the 54th minute when Darren Currie crossed perfectly for Talbot but instead of planting the ball into the net, he headed the ball over the crossbar from six yards.
OpenerBut Liverpool looked to have won the tie when they scored against the run of play.
A catalogue of defensive errors finally led to Crouch breaking the deadlock in the 73rd minute.
Chris Coyne lost possession on the halfway line and there seemed no danger until Perry's wayward header allowed substitute Andriy Voronin a clear run on goal.
But although Brill saved Voronin's shot it ran free to Crouch to slot home.
But Luton deservedly earned a replay when Riise turned a cross from Talbot into his own net from six yards just three minutes later.
|Luton Town||Team Statistics||Liverpool|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|2||Shots on Target||5|
|8||Shots off Target||10|