Liverpool beat Luton 5-0 in FA Cup

Steven Gerrard scored three times and Liverpool overwhelmed struggling League One side Luton 5-0 on to reach the fourth round of the English FA Cup.

updated: January 20, 2008 11:59 IST
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Steven Gerrard scored three times and Liverpool overwhelmed struggling League One side Luton 5-0 on to reach the fourth round of the English FA Cup.

Robbie Keane's strike gave Tottenham a 1-0 victory at Reading and a fourth-round meeting with Manchester United on Tuesday.

In other replays, it was Millwall 2, Walsall 1; Bury 2, Norwich 1. West Bromwich Albion edged Charlton 4-3 on penalties after a 2-2 draw.

Three of yesterday's eight games were postponed because the playing surfaces were waterlogged. Barnet vs. Swindon, Bristol Rovers vs. Fulham and Sheffield Wednesday vs. Derby will be rescheduled for January 22.

Liverpool's victory at Anfield came with both clubs struggling with front-office problems.

The home crowd gave an enthusiastic reception to manager Rafa Benitez, an apparent show of support in his much publicised squabble with American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr., as well as Jamie Carragher, named captain for the game in his 500th match for the club.

Luton entered the game in League One's relegation zone, a consequence of submitting to financial administration in November and an automatic loss of 10 points. However, the Hatters reportedly have reached an agreement on potential sale to a consortium led by a BBC TV presenter, Nick Owen, who is also a fan.

Liverpool created two chances in the first eight minutes, but Peter Crouch headed wide from close range and Ryan Babel curled a 16-meter shot against the post.

Despite their domination, the Reds didn't lead first-half injury time.

Fernando Torres led a break from midfield, pushing the ball wide to unmarked Ryan Babel, who scored with a low, angled drive from 15 meters.

Liverpool doubled its advantage in the 52nd when Jermaine Pennant's looping cross found Crouch wide of the far post. The
lanky striker headed the ball into the center, where Gerrard converted with a close-range header.

Five minutes later Sami Hyypia headed home Gerrard's corner at the near post for Liverpool's third. Gerrard sidefooted home the fourth in the 64th minute after a shot from Torres had been deflected into his path and the England midfielder scored his third in the 71st with a 30-meter strike for his 15th of the season.

Gerrard said he hoped the result would lessen attention on Benitez's dispute with the club owners, which he described as a lack of support for the manager's aspirations in the transfer market and the revelation that former Germany coach Juergen Klinsmann was interviewed as a potential replacement for the Spaniard.

"It was important the headlines tomorrow were about football. Every time we've put the TV on, we see what's happening off the pitch," Gerrard said. "It's not about the manager. It's about the team and progressing into the fourth round. We need to keep winning so the headlines are about the football."

Benitez declined to talk about his problems with Hicks and Gillett.

"We weren't really thinking about it because we know it's important to progress in the FA Cup," he said. "I was not thinking too much about this. I was thinking about the game.

I'm really happy because we won 5-0 and progressed in the competition."

Watched by England manager Fabio Capello, Spurs went ahead in the 15th minute with Keane's 15th goal of the season and 99th for Tottenham.

Royals goalkeeper Adam Federici did well to push a header from Younes Kaboul onto the bar but Keane followed up to prod
the ball home from close range.

Reading striker Leroy Lita fired high and then glanced a header wide just before halftime, and Stephen Hunt hit the bar
with a powerful shot eight minutes from the end.

Steed Malbranque almost scored a second for Spurs with two minutes to go, but Federici pushed his shot onto the crossbar.