|Luis Suarez and Maxi Rodriguez celebrate Liverpool's second goal...|
Liverpool confidently put three past league one side Exeter last night as the home side only managed a consolation goal from the penalty spot. It was a high tempo clash and Exeter can hold their heads high I feel after getting stuck in for most of the 90 minutes.
A lack of chances for the Grecians was perhaps the main thing holding them back, along with the class of Suarez and boot of Andy Carroll. Liverpool are now safely into the third round of the competition.
The first 20 minutes saw both sides switching possession. Although Exeter were struggling to create chances they were certainly capable of making interceptions and flustering the Liverpool passing system in midfield on a few occasions.
In Liverpool's favour though, whilst in possession, we were beginning to trouble the Exeter goalkeeper. A string of corners from Charlie Adam about 15 minutes in were a danger to deal with for the home teams defence.
The only down side for Dalglish in the early play was that Raul Meireles had to leave the field. Believed to be a shoulder injury, the midfielder was replaced with Andy Carroll.
Liverpool got their first goal just after the 20 minute mark courtesy of Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan who's on 3 goals in 3 games is in superb form and despite the best efforts of the man on the line for Exeter, the power on the strike was enough to put Liverpool 1 nil up.
Shortly after the goal Exeter made a substitution and brought on Jimmy Keohane for his debut. I must say, the lad impressed me, he wasn't at all phased by the calibre of opposition and fully embraced his chance to impress the home crowd, he had some pace behind him n'all!
Half time was reached with no further goals. The strong team fielded by Kenny Dalglish had a good first half but i think it's important to highlight that the back four who aside from Skrtel and are still very much learning their game in the Liverpool ranks were excellent. John Flanagan particularly impressed me, aside from being caught out of position a couple of times he was fantastic.
Nardiello mentioned in the preview was causing the most problems for Exeter, he was unlucky on a few occasions, particularly an early shot in the second half which was sent wide. It felt as though Exeter were knocking on the door but unfortunately for them it was Maxi Rodriguez next to find the net.
Set up by the on fire Luis Suarez, the Argentinian slotted home after a second ball through from Suarez. Liverpool looked confident as Exeter seemed to be loosing the spark they started the game with.
Home fans continued to chant and spur their team on as they looked for their first goal but in less than 3 minutes Dalglish's eleven were at it again.
Andy Carroll who appeared to be getting more and more frustrated, whilst being subject to several renditions of "Gypo, Gypo!" and "Where's your caravan?" finally managed to silence the taunters with a powerful strike.
The relief from the big Geordie was clear to see and hopefully this goal will send him on his way to netting a fair few in the Premier League.
Stewart Downing entered the field of play after the hour mark and replaced Luis Suarez. The ex Aston Villa star once again looked very lively and split open the Exeter defence with his weaving runs. A late chance on a sole run saw him make the wrong decision but other than that, he was very impressive.
Exeter quickly followed suit and their substitution saw Shepard leave the field for McNish. I don't know if anyone else noticed but i swear i heard a loud shout from a disgruntled Exeter fan saying " Shepard, give it up will ya, pick on somebody your own size." after a challenge on Flanagan. To be fair if that's what he said, i agree, he was after Flanno all night and the youngster wasn't troubled one bit haha.
It wasn't fresh legs on the pitch though who eventually got Exeter their consolation goal. Nardiello who had been the main man in attack most of the game converted a penalty, straight down the middle and the home fans finally had something to cheer about.
In a strange way I'm kind of glad they scored, i felt like they deserved at least something from the game.
Liverpool can now relax and await their opponents in the next round whilst they concentrate on their next league game against Bolton.