• match commentary
  • English FA Cup
  • 6 January 2013, 4:00pm
  • Field Mill
  • Attendance: 7,574
  • Green, 79
  • Sturridge, 7
  • Suárez, 59

live commentary

Luis Suarez proved once again why he's such a divisive figure as his controversial goal ultimately settled a rugged FA Cup tie at non-league Mansfield Town.

Daniel Sturridge had given Liverpool a seventh-minute lead on his debut and the visitors should have buried the tie, but missed a string of chances in the first half an hour. The Stags finally came out of their shell after the break, only to be left furious by the nature of Liverpool's second goal.

Stewart Downing played Suarez a square ball inside the area. The Uruguayan's first effort was parried by goalkeeper Alan Marriott, then clearly and deliberately controlled by Suarez with his hand before he tapped into the empty net. He looked sheepish, then celebrated with a few high-fives while the home players and fans pleaded with the officials.

Mansfield never gave up though, possibly fuelled by a sense of injustice. They packed the Liverpool area with bodies and pumped in direct balls, but it was an excellent cross by substitute Colin Daniel that set up a barnstorming finish. Knocked back into the centre, livewire striker Matt Green converted it via a deflection off Sebastian Coates.

Mansfield, roared on by their hyperactive chief executive Carolyn Radford, could not find an equaliser despite their late barrage. Brendan Rodgers will feel the late anxiety should never have occurred. Sturridge, Jonjo Shelvey (twice) and Downing should have put the tie to bed in the first half hour, after Sturridge's cool early finish from Shelvey's lovely pass.

Nevertheless, the Reds can now plan for a fourth-round trip to Oldham. Mansfield will return to the Blue Square Bet Premier and mutter about the day Luis Suarez came to town for years to come.

FULL TIME: Well battled Mansfield, but Luis Suarez's highly dubious goal has ultimately decided this third-round tie. After an inhibited first half-hour, the Stags made this a rugged cup tie, but Liverpool survived their late barrage of pressure to book a trip to Oldham in the next round.

90+2 mins: Mansfield battle on, pummeling long balls forward, but the seconds are ticking down...

90 mins: Yet again it's livewire Green causing consternation for Liverpool, but he's clearly offside here as he shovels a shot away after yet another knockdown in the box, and Jones saves it anyway. Carolyn the chief exec bellows demantedly for one last effort from her boys. We'll have four minutes of injury time.

88 mins: Away goes Green again down the left and substitute Flanagan (who came on for Wisdom a little earlier, I neglected to mention - sorry!) flies in studs-up. It's a free kick level with the box, but Mansfield make nothing of it.

86 mins: Another big punt into the Liverpool box and again Rheade (why wasn't the great ox put on earlier?) flicks it on. Green has a chance to clatter a shot away, but the flag is already up against him.

84 mins: Here we go then. A diaongal hump into a packed Liverpool box, Rhead makes a nuisance of himself, flicking it on and it hits a Liverpool defender before bobbling wide. The ref misses that fact and gives a goal kick.

82 mins: Suarez dinks the ball to Robinson 25 yards from goal, but his off-balance attempt is, on reflection, unwise. It floats into the stand.

82 mins: Suarez dinks the ball to Robinson 25 yards from goal, but his off-balance attempt is, on reflection, unwise. It floats into the stand.

81 mins: No surprises about Mansfield's tactics now - they bring on giant striker Matthew Rhead for Clements. Prepare for a bombardment.

79 mins: MANSFIELD HAVE A GOAL BACK!! Game on! Daniel does brilliantly on the left flank to outwit Downing before chipping up a cross to the far post. It's knocked back into the centre and Green hammers a shot in, which deflects off Coates and Jones and bobbles over the line.

75 mins: And lo, the Suarez debate begins. "That's it mike, jump on the Suarez hating bandwagon with the rest of them........good god!" says Rich. Jamie in Hull weighs in: "Why is it that everyone cant wait to have a go at suarez mike dale included the ball rebounded off the keeper and hit suarez but everyone calls him a cheat did he move his hand towards the ball? erm i dont think he did!" Whereas Gazin Wales says: "As gd a player Suarez is. He the biggest cheat goin! He should hold his head in shame! idiot." Rich and Jamie - watch it again. Suarez *knew* what he had done. His face told the story. It's no personal agenda against Suarez - that's just your paranoia.

71 mins: Unfortunately that second goal has rather sapped the chutzpah from Mansfield's players. They're still working tirelessly, but you sens the belief has gone.

68 mins: Liverpool really should have sealed the win - again. Downing feeds Suarez, who chips it left for Shelvey inside the box. He side-foots past the keeper Marriott but wide of the far post. A big 'Ooooh!' from the Reds fans behind that goal.

67 mins: Mansfield continue to battle and fly into tackles, no doubt fired up by Suarez's antics. The crowd certainly is, berating the substitute's every touch with boos. I'm not sure how either the referee or linesman failed to spot that handball.

65 mins: The Stags make a change with Briscoe replaced by Colin Daniel.

63 mins: Miekle's lofted ball sends Green clear into the area. He opts not to take it first time, and is therefore forced a little wide, before ambitiously trying a curler that he lifts over the bar.

59 mins: SUAREZ MAKES IT TWO!! Oh dear. There is a massive, fat dollop of controversy in this one. It's not a stretch to call this blatant cheating by the Uruguayan. Downing plays him a square ball inside a packed area. His first effort is blocked by the keeper, the ball rebounds to him and he clearly and deliberately controls it with his hand, before tapping the ball into an empty net. Suarez's celebrations are extremely sheepish as Mansfield players and fans appeal in vain to the officials. Let there be no doubt- Suarez knows what he's done, yet he high-fives his team-mates and trots back to the halfway line. His guilty face says it all though.

57 mins: Suarez is straight into the mix, bursting into the box and trying to curl a shot towards the bottom corner with the outside of his right foot, but it fizzes wide. Decent chance.

56 mins: Here comes Luis Suarez, replacing Sturridge, so we're denied the chance to see them in partnership. Brendan Rodgers also replaces Suso with Henderson.

54 mins: Liverpool break from that Mansfield corner and Sturridge smashes an angled drive just wide of the far post. The TV replay of that six-yard box melee in Liverpool's area shows a possible Allen handball on the line.

53 mins: There is total carnage in the Liverpool defence! Robinson possibly handballs a long diagonal ball on the edge of the box in his desperation to intercept it. It bounces through for Briscoe, whose smack towards the near post is palmed out by Jones. From the corner, total chaos ensues with head tennis aplenty. Green's header is hacked off the line.

52 mins: Another chance for Mansfield. They're fighting their way back into this through sheer guts and adrenalin. Green marauds into the box and only Carragher's lunge prevents him from unleashing a shot from just six yards.

49 mins: Now Mansfield really have their tails up. A long punt into the box falls for Briscoe, whose shot from close range is blocked, then Meikle flashes a cross-shot into the box which Jones spills under pressure. The crowd is suddenly up for this now, and so are Mansfield.

48 mins: A quite ludicrous booking for Sturridge. Trying to charge down a clearance from Dempster he jumps, turns his back and lands in a crumpled heap near the Mansfield man. It was purely accidental, but Andre Mariner adjudges it not only a foul, but a yellow card. Dear me.

47 mins: A sniff of a chance for Howell but his shot from a tight angle is closed down and smuggled around the post by Jones.

46 mins: "I've just encouraged them to believe in themselves, because they didn't for the first half an hour," says Mansfield boss Paul Cox to an interpid ESPN reporter as he makes his way to the bench. The second half is under way.

HALF TIME: Well, Mansfield aren't out of this yet, but Brendan Rodgers is entitled to be a bit fed up that his side haven't put this one to bed. Downing, Sturridge, Shelvey (twice) and Wisdom could all have added further goals to Sturridge's early debut strike. But the Stags, who improved gradually after an inhibited start, are just about still alive. Stay tuned.

45 mins: Sturridge almost fashions a goal out of very little. A little stepover gets him clear of the last defender, then he flashes a right-footed shot towards the bottom corner which is brilliantly tipped wide by Marriott. From the corner, Coates (I think) volleys wide.

45 mins: Sturridge almost fashions a goal out of very little. A little stepover gets him clear of the last defender, then he flashes a right-footed shot towards the bottom corner which is brilliantly tipped wide by Marriott. From the corner, Coates (I think) volleys wide.

42 mins: Liverpool's dominance has just ebbed slightly in the last ten minutes. Mansfield have settled after their 'rabbit in the headlights' start, although you couldn't say an equaliser looks particularly likely.

39 mins: Briscoe brings a couple of tricks out of his locker to get past Shelvey down the right and win a corner. When it comes in, Liverpool get a soft free kick for some argy bargy. "Typical Liverpool, loads of chances but no goals," moans Samy in Manchester. Erm, you are aware they have actually scored though Samy?

38 mins: Now Lucas is booked for grabbing hold of Green from behind.

36 mins: Beevers is booked for a niggly foul.

34 mins: Silky run by Sturridge to get past three defenders and rush to the byline, the ball seemingly glued to his left foot. He cuts it back for Shelvey, but Geohaghon hasread the pass and intercepts just as the Reds midfielder was about to knock it in.

32 mins: A chance for Mansfield! Goodness me, a chance! Geohaghon feeds Green on the edge of the 'D'. No-one closes him down so he has a whack. It's heading towards the corner until Jones sticks out a hand to repel it solidly.

29 mins: Yet again, Liverpool slice through the middle of Mansfield's defence but fail to convert the chance. Shelvey it is this time who gets in behind Geohaghon, but the big defender this time does manage to make up ground, and a little sly tug on Shelvey's shoulder is enough to put him off his stride. In the end he can only poke the ball tamely into the keeper's grasp.

27 mins: Young Liverpool full-back Robinson is brought down by Murray. The Stags midfielder won the ball cleanly, but because he dived in quite aggressively, the referee wrongly sees it as a foul.

25 mins: Liverpool miss another fantastic chance. Downing slaloms past a couple of pretty pitiful challenges and has only the keeper to whack it past, until Clements appears from nowhere, hurling his body across the path of the winger's strike to block for a corner.

22 mins: What are genuine Mansfield fans' opinions on Carolyn Radford, I'm curious to know? When your new chief executive gets engaged to the man who employed her just a few weeks into her new job, it must raise a few eyebrows, surely? Her TV appearances in the last few days have been, erm, interesting too. She's more hyperactive than a four-year-old about to unwrap his Christmas presents.

20 mins: A fabulous team move by Liverpool, with first-time passes threading together fluently. It ends with Wisdom being played clean through, right of goal, but he's foiled by a terrific last-gasp sliding challenge from Meikle. "Got a sneaky quid on Sturridge 1st goal and 4-1 liverpool. so far so good!" says Nathan in Weymouth. Can't see Mansfield getting one at the moment Nath!

17 mins: Suso hits the wall with a free kick, then Shelvey hurriedly takes a swing at the follow-up, but the ball came to him quickly, which accounts for him making a total mess of it.

15 mins: Glorious chance for Sturridge to effectively end the tie! He's slipped in behind a calamitous Mansfield offside trap and has an age to pick his spot. He dithers once, then twice, and by the time he does get his shot away, Marriott has closed him down sufficiently to make a crucial block.

13 mins: Allen fires in a low fizzer from the edge of the box but Marriott is always comfortably behind it. Mansfield just haven't settled at all.

11 mins: Mansfield's first glimmer of opportunity as they get a free kick 25 yards out. Clements unfortunately hits the defensive wall. "I have a wierd feeling its going to be 1-0 Mansfield," writes Keith in Northwich, his prediction arriving in my inbox just as Sturridge's shot crossed the line. Bad luck, Mystic Keith.

9 mins: Sturridge is almost gifted a second by Dempster's shy backpass. The ex-Chelsea striker seems favourite to get to the ball first, but 'keeper Marriott smothers it as Sturridge gallantly jumps over his body, rather than putting his studs in.

7 mins: DEBUT GOAL FOR STURRIDGE! Mansfield cough up possession in centre field to Shelvey who picks out the run of his new team-mate with an excellent diagonal ball. Sturridge, with his marker - the lumbering Geohaghon - nowhere near him, has just the keeper to beat and the £12m man slots past Marriott with a very cool finish.

6 mins: Possession stats so far read 90% to Liverpool. Mansfield are just hammering clearances straight back to red shirts.

4 mins: Downing cuts inside from the left and rasps at goal right-footed but his blast thuds into Geohaghon and out for a corner. It comes to nowt, but Suso is soon on the attack again, smashing an overly optimistic shot way over the bar.

3 mins: Liverpool keeping the ball in their own half early on, just patiently awaiting an opportunity to threaten. The Stags are hunting down the ball hingrily. Lots of breezily confident predictions coming in from you Reds fans. Gaz in Warrington reckons: "3-0 Sturridge hat trick," while Alice in Cheshire says: "easy for liverpool 4 nil." Anyone got any interesting bets on?

0 mins: Liverpool get the game under way. The pitch looks a bit ropey and sodden. Apparently Masnfield trained on it deliberately to rough the surface up a bit. Nice of them.

1559: Perhaps some kidology at play here as Mansfield are nearly five minutes late emerging from the dressing room. Liverpool are lined up in the 'tunnel' (if you can call it that) and Jamie Carragher in particular loos mighty displeased at being made to linger. Finally, the home team appear and we're ready to roll...

Welcome along to Field Mill, where all the FA Cup cliches apply - non-league side faces mighty Premier League giant, the cramped visitors' changing rooms, the leaky showers and terraces that are usually empty packed with Jonny come lately locals. Throw in a blonde, slightly manic chief executive who trails a whiff of scandal and perfume behind her, and you've got yourself a big story.

Team news: Brendan Rodgers has made eight changes, resting Daniel Agger, Steven Gerrard and Martin Skrtel among others, while Luis suarez is on the bench. New £12m signing Daniel Sturridge makes his Reds debut. Both line-ups are below.

There's no place for Stags top scorer Jake Speight, so Matt Green is up front. Goalkeeper Alan Marriott will presumably be kept busy, and last week made his 500th appearance in non-League football, but at the end of last season he was effective in an attacking sense, scoring from his own area against Wrexham in April.

Orange's Mike Dale will be bringing you all the latest from Field Mill from 1600. You can send him your predictions and your reaction to the fourth-round draw via the text box above.

text the commentator

team line-up

1Alan Marriott
33Exodus Geohaghon
17Lee Beevers
3John Thompson
4John Dempster
7Lindon Meikle
14Chris Clements81
13Anthony Howell
11Louis Briscoe64
21Adam Murray
10Matthew Green


16Matthew Rhead81
8Jake Speight
26Lee Stevenson
12Nick Wright
31Colin Daniel64
2Ritchie Sutton
25Ben Hutchinson


Andre Marriner

team line-up

1Bradley Jones
23Jamie Carragher
47Andre Wisdom79
49Jack Robinson
16Sebastián Coates
24Joe Allen
33Jonjo Shelvey
19Stewart Downing
21Lucas Leiva
15Daniel Sturridge55


14Jordan Henderson56
35Conor Coady
7Luis Suárez55
38John Flanagan79
37Martin Skrtel
42Peter Gulacsi
31Raheem Sterling


Andre Marriner

match stats

possession %3465
shots on target97
shots off target39
tackles won1719