Liverpool will meet Leeds United in this afternoon's final of the Carlsberg Trophy. Leeds beat Lazio 4-2 on penalties after a far from satisfying match, which ended 1-1. Lee Bowyer equalised in the last minute after Rosario Aquino's opener for the Italian side in the 79th minute.
For the opening match, Michael Owen, a substitute in Liverpool's 2- 0 defeat away to Rosenborg in his first appearance for them since the World Cup, was again on the bench.
Liverpool's defence looked shaky. Phil Babb in particular had a game he will want to forget in a hurry, needlessly bringing down Martin Kelly for the St Patrick's captain Eddie Gormley to score from the spot and keep Liverpool within range at 3-2 just before the break.
Patrik Berger had opened the scoring after 13 minutes with a left-foot shot from the edge of the area. St Patrick's equalised after half an hour when a cute free-kick from Gormley beat the Liverpool offside trap. Colin Hawkins finished neatly, unopposed, but within a minute a forceful run from Paul Ince provided the German Karlheinz Riedle with a chance to restore Liverpool's advantage. Danny Murphy increased it with a beautiful, curling free-kick from 30 yards before Gormley's penalty.
When Owen came on, to a rousing reception, he spent much of his time in a withdrawn or wide role so any assessment of a meaningful new relationship will have to wait, possibly until later today when Liverpool meet Leeds and Lazio.
Leeds' George Graham has once again this summer not been as busy in the transfer market as some other Premiership managers. His two signings of note have been Danny Granville from Chelsea, who started in an advanced position on the left flank against Lazio last night, and the Dutchman Clyde Wijnhard, who did not appear at all.
Lazio were without a host of internationals - Couto, Salas, Boksic, Jugovic, Nesta, Almeyda - but Sven Goran Eriksson was still able to include Yugoslavian World Cup players Sinisa Mihailovic and Dejan Stankovic and Czech international P avel Nedved in midfield for what proved a fitful game.
Chances were few and far between in a sterile first 45 minutes and the stalemate was not broken until Nedved picked out Rosario Aquino's late run into the area for the substitute to slide the ball past Nigel Martyn 12 minutes from time.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink blazed over a good chance to equalise, but in the final minute two substitutes of their own, Lee Matthews and Derek Lilley, combined with Gunnar Halle to give Bowyer the simplest of headers to take the game to penalties. The substitute Lee Matthews was the hero for Leeds with the winning spot kick.
St Patrick's Athletic (4-5-1): Wood; Clarke, Lynch, Hawkins, Doyle; Braithwaite (Croly, 72), Gormley, Osam (Gilzean, 80), Russell (Devereux, 80), Molloy (Byrne, 83); Kelly.
Liverpool (4-4-2): James; McAteer, Carragher, Babb, Staunton; Leonhardsen (Kvarme, 72), Ince (Bjornebye, 63), Murphy (McManaman, h-t), Berger; Dundee (Thompson, 80), Riedle (Owen, h-t).
Referee: J McDermott (Dublin).
Leeds United (4-5-1): Martyn; Kelly, Molenaar, Radebe, Harte; Halle, Hopkins (Matthews, 74), Bowyer, Ribeiro (McPhail, 74), Granville; Hasselbaink (Lilley, 87).
Lazio (4-4-2): Marchegiani; Negro, Lopez, Mihailovic (Lombardi, 84), Favalli; Rambaudi (Venturin, 53), Stankovic (Gottardi, 53), De La Pena (Marcolin, 62), Nedved, Iannuzzi (Aquino, 53), Mancini.
Referee: R O'Hanlon (Waterford).