With the Reds trying to put their racism saga behind them, Kenny Dalglish named a strong side, with only Daniel Agger and Craig Bellamy missing from the match-day squad. However, Reds fans will have felt finally rewarded for their patience as Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll started together for the first time since the strikers arrived last January. It would take the Reds just four minutes to slice through Brighton’s defence, with Martin Skrtel heading home near post to put the Reds in control of the match. Jose Enrique accepted an invitation to cut inside from the left and the Spaniard found Stewart Downing, who turned his man and powered a shot that was deflected over for a corner. Gerrard stepped up to take the corner, who found Martin Skrtel time his run perfectly to be waiting for the cross near post, scoring his third goal of the season.
Gerrard nearly added a second on the quarter-hour mark after a quickly taken free kick found Brighton’s defence unfocused and on the back foot. Anfield would be in for a bit of a scare however, as it was the visitors who added the second goal to the score-sheet. Kazenga Lua-Lua avoiding the extended arms of Pepe Reina on 17 minutes with a dead-ball blast 25 yards from goal. Six thousand Brighton fans sprang from their seats in the Anfield Road End, sniffing the scent of a potential Cup upset. It was an all-too familiar feel for Reds fans, with recent FA Cup upsets against Reading and Barnsely ringing in their thoughts.
Bridcutt’s misery began though as the Brighton defender turned the ball into his own net, gifting Liverpool the lead before half-time. Carroll would be next on the score-sheet, scoring his sixth goal of the season. The big No. 9 headed into the roof of the net after being picked out by Gerrard, giving Liverpool the 3-1 lead.
Bridcutt would once more put into his own net, as would Lewis Dunk, putting Liverpool in cruise control. Liverpool had the determination to score more however, with Dirk Kuyt nearly adding himself to the score-sheet. Kuyt’s header glanced off the cross-bar before being taken-down just minutes later, awarding the Reds the penalty. Suarez stepped up to take the penalty in an attempt to get himself back on the good-side of football, but the Uruguayan’s penalty was poorly taken and the the score remained at 5-1. However, Suarez’ excellence prevailed, as he headed the ball back across goal as Carroll picked him out with a headed pass.
The Reds have marched onto the quarter-finals following their victory where they will take on Stoke City at Anfield, but all eyes will be on Wembley Stadium next Sunday. In Kenny Dalglish’s first full campaign as a manager he is on course to win a cup double, and Kopites can only hope they walk out of Wembley victorious. The recently de-throned English Kings of Football have a project worth taking notice of, and it could all hit the next gear with a set of silverware this season.