Everton's teenager Dan Gosling scored the extra-time goal that dramatically eliminated Liverpool from the FA Cup last night but it is the loss of Steven Gerrard with a hamstring injury that may yet have greater implications for Liverpool's season. Gerrard lasted just 15 minutes of the 120 played last night and the severity of his injury will be assessed today.
At a jubilant Goodison Park, Gosling, 19, scored after 118 minutes to give Everton a place in the FA Cup fifth round against Aston Villa. It precipitated a triumphant attitude in Gosling's manager, David Moyes, who attacked the favouritism he perceived among the press towards his city neighbours, accusing them of "talking up that team. What are you Liverpool-supporting press going to do?" he said, "you all look stunned."
Liverpool played with 10 men from 75 minutes after a second yellow card for the Brazilian midfielder Lucas Leiva. However, it is the future of Gerrard that made Rafa Benitez angrier. The Liverpool manager even launched an attack on the England manager, Fabio Capello, wondering aloud whether Gerrard "will have to go to London and do three scans in case there are any doubts" ahead of Wednesday's friendly against Spain.
Benitez was referring to Capello's insistence that Gerrard come to London to have a stomach muscle injury examined by Football Association officials before the Germany friendly in November. In reality, Gerrard is almost certainly out of the Spain game. The Liverpool manager said that Gerrard's injury had demonstrated why he had taken him off early in the league game against Wigan Athletic, a decision for which he had been criticised.
"He [Gerrard] was tired against Wigan – now you can see the consequences," Benitez said. Asked whether he regretted selling Robbie Keane now that Gerrard is injured and Fernando Torres, substituted last night, looks tired, Benitez said that it showed why he had needed a bigger squad. "People said he [Keane] should play every minute," Benitez said. "Now you see the consequences [of the perception that Keane would not play a role in the season].
On the FA Cup defeat, Benitez said: "It's very negative to be out the Cup, we have to concentrate on the league and the Champions League. They are massive competitions and we are in very good shape."
Gerrard will go for a scan today to assess the scope of his injury. He will certainly miss Saturday's game against Portsmouth in the league and the England friendly, and after that he will have a rest until Liverpool's next league game against Manchester City on 22 February. Lucas's red card was the 23rd in games between these two sides, although the first when they have met in the FA Cup.
Moyes refused to discuss the details surrounding his falling-out with Victor Anichebe yesterday morning after the striker told him he was injured and could not play tonight. "The way the young boys [Gosling and Jack Rodwell] came into an FA Cup replay was fantastic," Moyes said. "We had all these injuries and more in the game. It shows that we are prepared to give the young boys a chance. In my mind I thought once they were down to 10 men we dominated the game the way they did the first match at Anfield.
"We struggled to break them down, but in the end we got the goal. There is more to come. We enjoyed that game and now we move on. The draw has not been kind to us with Liverpool and then Aston Villa, that is really tough. We don't win the Cup tonight, but there are many out there who will feel that we have."
Gosling said: "It's a great day for the club and all the fans. I was thinking, 'Just shoot and get it on target'."
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