Carling Cup

Crystal Palace 2 v 1 Liverpool

EUROPEAN champions Liverpool brought their big guns Selhurst Park for the third round clash but they could not overcome the Eagles.

Sami Hyypia, Dietmar Hamann, Steve Gerrard, Peter Crouch, Harry Kewell and Fernando Morientes all played yet the night belonged to Palace.

Iain Dowie made five changes from the side which disposed of Burnley at the weekend although three of them were enforced through the withdrawal through injury of Danny Butterfield, Jobi McAnuff and Jon Macken.

Their places in defence, midfield and attack were taken by Gary Borrowdale, Michael Hughes and Dougie Freedman respectively while in goal Gabor Kiraly was replaced by Julian Speroni.

At centre half Mark Hudson played at the expense of Darren Ward, who dropped to the bench.

As was perhaps to be expected the visitors largely dominated the opening stages with Crouch and young full-back David Raven both spurning good opportunities to give their side the lead.

But at the other end the home side showed they were not to be overawed with an attack of their own which culminated in Hyypia nicking the ball off Clinton Morrison's toes to concede the first corner of the game.

In the 12th minute Speroni was forced into making the first save of the match from Kewell who cut inside onto his right foot before unleashing a fierce drive which the Argentinean keeper did well to beat away.

On 17 minutes Palace's best chance of the match fell to Fitz Hall whose firm header carried menace but found only the sure hands of Scott Carson in the Liverpool goal.

Less than 60 seconds later Carson's counterpart Speroni was again called into action after Morientes had found time and space in the Palace box.

But the former Dundee man, enjoying an inspired evening, was equal to the task as he was five minutes later when Gerrard fired in a dipping shot from the edge of the box.

Hudson had to be alert to clear the danger from the resultant corner as the pressure on the home side increased.

The pressure could have been eased had Marco Reich met Hughes' cross with more conviction but the German headed weakly wide.

Five minutes later the young keeper was beaten and, after opening his account at the weekend, it was almost inevitable Freedman would be the provider.

In truth the Scot was left with the simplest of tasks from Hughes' pinpoint cross but it would have mattered little to the Selhurst faithful who sensed an upset.

But Liverpool are not European champions for nothing and within minutes they were on level terms thanks to their inspirational captain Gerrard, who profited from a slip by Hudson to bury a low shot past Speroni.

The frenetic pace of the first period continued after the break and within a minute or so of the re-start Morientes came close to giving the men from Merseyside the lead with a header which shaved Speroni's post.

As the European champions continued to press, Kewell carved an opening for himself and when the Australian's shot was blocked the ball fell kindly for Darren Potter but the youngster's volley sailed high over Speroni's bar.

At the other end a spot of penalty-box pinball nearly resulted in a chance for Morrison but he was denied by an outstretched Liverpool boot.

Just after the hour mark Morientes and Kewell were withdrawn for Sinama Pongolle and Luis Garcia as the visitors went in search of a second goal.

But instead it was the home side who struck through Reich with the German volleying home his fourth goal of the season to send the Holmesdale Road into raptures.

Hughes tested Carson with a low shot 10 minutes before the end but almost immediately the visitors built an attack which promised much but delivered little.

And so it was with some degree that Palace held on to record their second victory of the year over Liverpool.

Line-ups: Palace: Speroni; Boyce; Hall; Hudson; Borrowdale; Reich (Togwell, 82); Watson; Soares; Hughes; Freedman (Black, 74); Morrison (Andrews, 70).

Subs not used: Kiraly, Ward.

Att: 19,673