FOOTBALL: Palace in the way

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Liverpool were yesterday given the Coca-Cola Cup semi-final draw they did not want, when they found themselves facing Crystal Palace in the last hurdle before Wembley.

The Anfield side, installed as favourites after beating Arsenal in their quarter-final on Wednesday, have bitter memories of their last semi-final encounter with the Selhurst Park men. In 1990, when the two sides met in the last four of the FA Cup at Villa Park, Palace came back from a goal down at half-time to win an astonishing match 4-3.

A club from outside the top flight will be in the final for the first time since 1990, when Oldham lost to Nottingham Forest. Swindon and Bolton, both from the Endsleigh League First Division, will meet in the other twoleg semi-final.

Coca-Cola Cup Semi-final draw: Liverpool v Crystal Palace; Swindon Town v Bolton Wanderers. (First legs week commencing 12 February; second legs week commencing 19 February).