Sturridge and Lallana keep Liverpool’s FA Cup dream intact

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Sturridge and Lallana keep Liverpool’s FA Cup dream intact

Leicester enjoyed the best of the first half at Villa Park, with Marcin Wasilewski’s header grazing the post and Matty James forcing Shay Given into a sensational one-handed save.

By (Agencies)

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Published: Mon 16 Feb 2015, 4:54 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 8:05 PM

Aston Villa’s Leandro Bacuna (second left) shoots to score against Leicester City in Birmingham. — Reuters

Aston Villa’s Leandro Bacuna (second left) shoots to score against Leicester City in Birmingham. — Reuters

 London: A half-time rallying cry from new manager Tim Sherwood inspired Aston Villa to beat Premier League rivals Leicester City 2-1 on Sunday and reach the FA Cup quarterfinals.

Leicester enjoyed the best of the first half at Villa Park, with Marcin Wasilewski’s header grazing the post and Matty James forcing Shay Given into a sensational one-handed save. But Sherwood, watching from the stands after being appointed as the successor to Paul Lambert on Saturday, made a visit to the home changing room at the interval and Villa were a different team in the second period. After Christian Benteke had twice gone close, Leandro Bacuna broke the deadlock in the 68th minute when he collected a pass from Ron Vlaar, cut inside Danny Simpson and curled a shot around Australian goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer from 18 yards.

A terrible blunder from the veteran Schwarzer, who allowed a tame shot from Villa substitute Scott Sinclair to squirm past him, saw the home side double their lead in the 89th minute. Andrej Kramaric replied for Leicester with a magnificent header in the first minute of stoppage time, but it was too little, too late. On Sherwood’s half-time intervention, Villa assistant manager Scott Marshall told the BBC: “Yeah, he came in there and made a few points to the lads. The boys took them on board and delivered it in the second half.” 

Meanwhile, Brendan Rodgers claimed Liverpool are hitting top gear at the right time as they booked their place in the quarterfinals.

Liverpool have now lost just once from their last 16 games in all competitions. The Merseysiders are making a charge for a Champions League return in the Premier League.

Rodgers’ side are still in the hunt for silverware in the Europa League and now they are three victories away from ensuring Steven Gerrard signs off with an FA Cup winners’ medal.

Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana helped Liverpool earn the comeback 2-1 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Rodgers admits England striker Sturridge’s return from a long-awaited injury that has wiped out over half of the season cannot be underestimated. He said: “Danny is working his way back. It’s about extending his game time.

“I have to do that or you risk reinjuring him, and that’s something we can’t afford. “You can see his qualities, his speed and his touch. “The team is functioning at a high level at the moment. His return gives us a big boost for the last part of the season.”

Fraizer Campbell handed Crystal Palace a first-half lead at a ground where Liverpool had not won since 1997. But Sturridge kept up his amazing FA Cup goal-scoring run by notching his 10th goal in 12 games to haul Liverpool level.   


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