Game #4781 

Season | 2002-03 |

Matchday | #26 | 
Manager Game | #39 |

Wednesday, 18 December 2002
League Cup | 5th Round | Home | Liverpool | Villa Park | 38,530 |  

Game Summary

Manager | Graham Taylor | 

Referee | Graham Barber | 
HT Score | 1-1 |

FT Score | 3-4 |
FT Result | Lost |

Last 5 Games | LWLWL | 

Scorers | Darius Vassell | 23’ pen | Thomas Hitzlsperger | 72’ | Own Goal | 88’ |

Line Up |

GK Peter Enckelman |
RB Ulises de la Cruz | 
SUB OFF | 79' | 
CB Olof Mellberg |
CB Ronny Johnsen |
FB Jlloyd Samuel |
M Lee Hendrie | 
SUB OFF | 83' | 
M Gareth Barry |
M Thomas Hitzlsperger | 
GOAL | 72' | 
M Öyvind Leonhardsen |
CF Dion Dublin |
F Darius Vassell |
GOAL | 23' | 

Substitutes |

CF Juan Pablo Ángel for RB Ulises de la Cruz | 79’ | 
M Mark Kinsella for M Lee Hendrie | 83’ |

Unused Substitutes |

M Mustapha Hadji
GK Stefan Postma 
F Marcus Allbäck

Team Stats |

Starting XI Average Age | 26.50 | 

Oldest Player | CF Dion Dublin | 33.68 |

Youngest Player | M Thomas Hitzlsperger | 20.72 |

 On this day 18 December 2002 

Euphemistically called 'ticketing problems'. More accurately it was yet another example of the parsimonious and incompetent way the club was being run. An out of touch Chairman cut back on turnstiles to reduce costs. Cue queues. As unnecessary as it was embarrassing it was yet another sign that the 2002-03 season was a watershed one with incompetence prevalent on and off the pitch. As strange as it may sound the Ellis apologists, of whom there were still a few, began to waver in their support  - not because of his myriad failures to support his managers and the fans' ambition - but because they were made to wait in the cold to watch another Villa capitulation under Graham Taylor. 

Match report

BBC Sport

Wednesday, 18 December, 2002

Liverpool win Villa thriller

Liverpool endured a late night rollercoaster ride at Villa Park to secure a remarkable Worthington Cup triumph. 

Danny Murphy’s injury-time strike, his second goal of the night, destroyed Villa’s brave fightback and saw Liverpool go some way to repairing a season that had looked to be coming apart at the seams. 

Liverpool looked to be cruising when goals from Murphy, Milan Baros and Steven Gerrard had cancelled out Darius Vassell’s penalty. 

But Tomas Hitzlsperger’s fourth goal in five games and a late Dion Dublin strike appeared to have rescued Villa before Murphy’s late goal.

The Villa Park quarter final was delayed by 80 minutes because of crowd congestion, with the hosts overwhelmed by the number of people wanting to cram in for the game. 

That delay meant the fourth semi-finalist in this year’s competition was not known until just before 2300 GMT. 

After the unsettling build-up to the game, Villa settled better and deserved their 22nd-minute lead. 

Liverpool defender Djimi Traore had already survived two penalty appeals before he finally fell foul of referee Paul Barber following a trip on Lee Hendrie. 

Vassell kept his cool from the spot, drilling his penalty straight down the middle to rightly put the home side in front. 
But the lead lasted only four minutes as the setback stirred Liverpool into life. 


Oyvind Leonhardsen tripped Baros on the edge of the penalty area and Murphy’s punishment was as clinical as Vassell’s as he curled a free-kick beyond the reaches of Peter Enckelman. 

Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier was quick to address his side’s early deficiencies as he replaced the hapless Marcus Babbel with Jamie Carragher before half-time. 

Liverpool looked more balanced as a result and they were in front within 10 minutes of the restart. 

John Arne Riise survived appeals for handball as he controlled a long ball and fed Baros, who beat Enckelman with an angled low drive as the Villa defence stood off him. 

With Gerrard emerging as the game’s dominant force, Liverpool began to turn the screw. 
And it was fitting that Gerrard hit their third goal. 


Michael Owen took on the Villa defence and, though he was crowded out, the ball popped free for Gerrard to run into space and lash a low drive beyond Enckelman. 

That appeared to have sent Liverpool through, but Villa hit back defiantly. 

Hitzlsperger gave them hope with 18 minutes left with a superb low drive from just outside the area. 

Mustafa Hadji nearly levelled when he followed a mazy run with a dipping shot that dropped just wide. 

However, it was Dublin who restored parity with an 83rd-minute volley that deflected off Stephane Henchoz to give Kirkland no chance. 

But with extra-time and the possibility of a midnight penalty shootout looming, Liverpool snatched back their lead. 

Gerrard’s hard work ended in a low cross that fell invitingly to Murphy and the England midfielder made no mistake to book Liverpool’s semi-final place. 

*Aston Villa:* Enckelman, De la Cruz (Angel 79), Mellberg, Samuel, Barry, Hendrie (Kinsella 83), Hitzlsperger, Leonhardsen, Hadji, Vassell, Dublin.

Subs Not Used: Postma, Allback, Edwards. 

*Liverpool:* Kirkland, Babbel (Carragher 39), Henchoz, Hyypia, Traore, Murphy, Gerrard, Diao, Riise, Owen (Heskey 76), Baros.

Subs Not Used: Dudek, Smicer, Diouf.

Booked: Murphy, Hyypia, Henchoz. 

*Att:* 38,530 

*Referee:*G Barber (Hertfordshire)