Football: Liverpool profit from Rush record

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The Independent Online
Chesterfield. . .1

Liverpool . . . .4

(Liverpool win 8-5 on aggregate)

IAN RUSH claimed his niche in history and Liverpool their place in the third round of the Coca-Cola Cup in an entertaining though ultimately one-sided match at Saltergate.

Having established himself as Wales's joint top-scorer of all time and Liverpool's leading marksman in Europe already this season, Rush last night equalled Roger Hunt's record of 286 goals for Liverpool. The significance may have been lost on most of the 10,632 spectators, but the Kop will no doubt honour Rush in its own inimitable way in due course.

At Anfield a fortnight earlier Chesterfield had led 3-0 and 4-2, and looked to have set up Liverpool's worst calamity in knock-out competition since they lost to Worcester in the FA Cup 33 years ago. Graeme Souness's side squared the scores at 4-4, and as it turned out, Chesterfield's chance had gone.

They kept the illusion alive splendidly until almost half-time. A mere 62 places and one league behind Liverpool, Chesterfield went ahead after only seven minutes. Steve Nicol's pass to Steve McManaman was intercepted and the ball lobbed by Andy Morris into the danger area, where Trevor Hebberd took it round Bruce Grobbelaar before scoring with aplomb.

The improvement in Liverpool's morale since the first leg was soon evident, however, and by the interval they led 3-1 on the night and 7-5 overall. In the 18th minute, Mike Marsh's cross from the right was helped on by Rush to the unmarked Don Hutchison, who buried a shot beneath the sprawling Mick Leonard for his fourth goal in a fortnight.

Liverpool took the lead for the first time in the tie 17 minutes later. Again Rush was involved, touching a short pass back to Mark Walters inside the centre circle. As the blue-shirted defenders pushed out, Walters chipped the ball over their heads. Jamie Redknapp, timing his run perfectly, held off Tony Brien before firing into the far corner.

By the 41st minute the game was effectively up for Chesterfield. Torben Piechnik, playing with hitherto unseen composure alongside Nicol, robbed Steve Norris. The Dane quickly found Redknapp who in turn picked out Ronny Rosenthal. His shot carried little threat in itself, but Walters turned it into a pin-point cross by steering it home at the far post.

Rush's contribution merited a goal, and it duly came in the 55th minute. Marsh, receiving on the overlap from McManaman, drove the ball into the heart of the six-yard area where the Welshman scrambled it over the line at the second attempt.

Liverpool have now won three successive matches, albeit against moderate opposition, and Souness later praised the young players who had done so much to prevent a repetition of last year's humiliating exit at Peterborough. 'We've got boys playing like men,' he said. 'As for Rush, I've told him he's got five more years and can set a record that will take a lot of getting.'

Chesterfield: Leonard; Lemon, Carr, Williams, Brien, Rogers, Cash, Norris, Morris (Turnbull, 60), Lancaster, Hebberd. Substitute not used: Kennedy.

Liverpool: Grobbelaar; Marsh, Burrows, Nicol, Piechnik, Hutchison, McManaman, Rosenthal, Rush, Redknapp, Walters. Substitutes not used: Tanner, Kozma.

Referee: G R Ashby (Worcester).

(Photograph omitted)