Liverpool destroy Birmingham 7-0 in FA Cup
LONDON, Mar 22 (Reuters) Liverpool scored twice in the opening five minutes on the way to a 7-0 rout of Birmingham City in an embarrassingly one-sided FA Cup quarter-final at St Andrew's yesterday.
Lanky England striker Peter Crouch netted twice for six-times winners Liverpool, who joined West Ham United in the last four after the London club beat Manchester City 2-1 on Monday.
Chelsea are at home to Newcastle United today and Middlesbrough visit Charlton Athletic tomorrow in the other quarter-finals. The semi-final draw is on Friday.
Liverpool have scored 15 goals in their last three matches after only two in their previous five and manager Rafa Benitez told Sky Sports: ''Today, every time we shot it was a goal.
''Sometimes you need luck (to score). We have quality, the strikers are really good, we needed luck.'' Yesterday's match had barely started when Steven Gerrard floated in a free kick from the left, Mohamed Sissoko nodded the ball on and unmarked defender Sami Hyypia headed home for the visitors.
Crouch made it 2-0 when his header from Gerrard's right-wing cross was parried by Maik Taylor but the keeper could not prevent the ball from crossing the line.
The 25-year-old Crouch notched his fourth goal in three games seven minutes before the interval when he steered the ball past Taylor after Luis Garcia had slipped a perfect pass into his path.
''Once you get a couple they seem to go in a lot easier,'' said Crouch.
GOAL GLUT Fernando Morientes, who came on for Crouch in the 56th minute, added the fourth following a dummy by Garcia.
Left back John Arne Riise struck a blistering fifth 20 minutes from time after running on to a neat flick from Gerrard.
Seven minutes later, City substitute Olivier Tebily tried to block Harry Kewell's low cross but only succeeded in turning the ball into his own net.
One minute from time, Taylor let a shot from the right by substitute Djibril Cisse slip under his body for the seventh, rounding off a nightmare evening for the home side who are also fighting for survival in the Premier League.
The few chances Birmingham had were firmly dealt with by the steady Liverpool defence and goalkeeper Jose Reina.
Liverpool's England centre-back Jamie Carragher made a fine tackle on Mikael Forssell as the striker threatened to score midway through the first half and Jamie Clapham was just wide of the far post with a shot on the stroke of halftime.
Forssell was on target in the 63rd minute but his stinging shot on the turn was parried by Reina.
REUTERS DH RAI0518