Football: Dublin lifts the Sky Blues sky high

Liverpool 1 Redknapp 7 Coventry City 3 Huckerby 45, Dublin 62 , Telfer 87 Attendance: 33,888
Click to follow
Out of a clear blue sky, Coventry are suddenly inflicting more structural damage on the North-west than the gales.

Last week it was the runaway Premiership leaders; this week the region's other aristocrats had their roof blown off and their furniture rearranged on their way out of the FA Cup.

Even when they fell behind to a soft and early Liverpool goal, Coventry always looked capable of embarrassing a side which had finally found consistency, with four Premiership wins in a row and who started the game as joint favourites for the Cup.

Coventry adapted better to the conditions and in their attacking spearhead of Dion Dublin and Darren Huckerby they had two players who were never kept quiet for long.

Huckerby, scorer of the dramatic late winner against Manchester United last Sunday, was a constant threat and it was his goal just before half- time that deservedly put his side level.

As he can when he is at his best, he used his exceptional pace to lose the Liverpool defence, and his delicate touch to chip the ball into the far corner of David James' goal.

Dublin was Huckerby's provider all afternoon, his deft touches with both head and foot constantly stretching a jittery Liverpool defence. Just after the hour, though, he was the beneficiary of more good work from Huckerby, whose shot came back off James to leave his captain with an open goal.

It was a joint effort that begged the question of how the Coventry manager, Gordon Strachan, will be able to accommodate Viorel Moldovan, the club's record signing, in an attack playing with such assurance.

Indeed it was the mutual understanding between the two that clinched the game four minutes from time, Dublin picking out Huckerby, who was allowed to get in a low shot that rebounded from the post for Paul Telfer to round off a memorable afternoon for the Sky Blues.

For all Liverpool's bluster after they had gone behind, it was always Coventry who had looked more likely to score. Even Strachan said that he had not expected his side to come to Anfield and create as many chances.

Their ultimately resounding victory had looked particularly unlikely after seven minutes when Paul Williams had needlessly pushed over Karlheinz Riedle to give Jamie Redknapp a free-kick that sneaked into the corner of the net. Soon after that, Redknapp chipped on to the bar.

Despite that flying start, Liverpool were never convincing, nervous at the back, out-fought in midfield and, in the absence of the virus victim Michael Owen, sadly lacking in the attacking menace that Coventry showed all afternoon.

Both sides had reasonable penalty appeals turned down, while one or two of Coventry's biting midfield challenges caused a reaction on the Liverpool bench.

"But I don't think we can possibly have any complaints," Roy Evans, the Liverpool manager, said. "We got a goal start and still couldn't get to grips with the game. They out-fought us and were quicker to the ball all game."

Comments