Retro game: When Liverpool were pushed all the way by Preston North End in the FA Cup
Preston North End bowed out of the FA Cup at the hands of Liverpool, but only after giving the Reds a run for their money.
The Saturday teatime meeting on January 3, 2009, was played in front of a capacity 23,046 crowd at Deepdale.
While the Reds led from the 25th minute, they didn’t get their second goal until stoppage-time.
In between, North End had the ball in the net only for the effort to be chalked off, as Jon Parkin was adjudged to have fouled Jamie Carragher in the build-up.
Preston started brightly and did not seem overawed by the reputation of their Premier League visitors.
Skipper Paul McKenna went charging through the middle, only to be flattened by Daniel Agger 35 yards from goal.
When Ross Wallace took the free-kick he whipped it left-footed towards the right-hand post, but keeper Diego Cavalieri flung himself across to turn the effort round the post.
Youl Mawene was wide of the far post with a header from the resulting corner.
After an uncomfortable 10 minutes the Reds began to settle, and Robbie Keane put a first-time shot well wide after Albert Riera teed him up.
Steven Gerrard had a shot on the turn, which Andrew Lonergan saved comfortably.
Richard Chaplow got a sight of goal after 20 minutes when the Liverpool defence opened up in front of him, but his low shot was no trouble for Cavalieri.
Liverpool began to grow in confidence, and they took the lead after 25 minutes. When a corner on the left was not cleared, the ball came to Riera on the right of the box and he switched it to his left foot before firing past Lonergan into the roof of the net.
Lonergan had to race out and punch clear off Keane’s head after Mawene’s headed backpass fell short.
The Republic of Ireland striker was guilty of the miss of the match when he poked the ball wide of the far post from just three yards out.
After the break, Lonergan pulled off a top-drawer save to claw a shot out of the top corner.
On 64 minutes Sean St Ledger headed the ball into the visitors’ net, but the goal was chalked off after Parkin was adjudged to have held back Carragher.
St Ledger went close again 10 minutes later when a free-kick from McKenna found its way through to him on the edge of the six-yard box, but he saw it late and the ball hit his leg and rolled to keeper Cavalieri.
Fernando Torres came on in the 73rd minute to replace the disappointing Keane and his first effort was woefully wide of the right-hand post.
A couple of half chances fell Preston’s way, but three minutes into stoppage time their resolve was finally broken as Liverpool scored their second goal.
Gerrard galloped off downfield and slipped a pass through for Torres, who had the simple take of tapping home from three yards.
Preston: Lonergan, Jones, Mawene, St Ledger, Davidson (Nolan 49), Sedgwick, Chaplow (Nicholson 81) McKenna, Wallace, Parkin, Mellor (Elliott 62). Subs (not used): Carter, Whaley, Brown, Neal.