Carling Cup: Brighton and Hove Albion v Liverpool, Amex Stadium, 19:45BST, 21/09/11 (1-2)

A strong Liverpool side visited Brighton’s new Amex stadium in Withdean for the first time and saw-off the Championship side despite a spirited display.

Liverpool dominated early on and Craig Bellamy scored as he and Suarez showed some early understanding with each other, although this was not always the case as the game progressed. Bellamy and Liverpool could have had more goals by half-time, as the goal frame got rattled a couple of times. Brighton seemed to be playing a counter-attacking 4-5-1 with one of the striking stars of league football, Craig Mackail-Smith, up front on his own, but it was he who actually made two outstanding defensive plays in the first half, with a must-win tackle in the box and a clearance off the line.

Brighton were more of a threat in the second half and had a couple of half-chances that could have found the net but for some solid defensive cover. With ten minutes left, we counter attacked and Kuyt found himself in the left side of the box and slid the ball across the keeper to see it go in off the far post for 0-2.

A slip by Spearing in the box in the 90th minute gifted possession to Brighton and a desperate tackle by Carra gave away a penalty which was put away by Barnes, but there was no genuine threat of an equaliser in what there was of added time.

With only two subs used, one of which was in the last few minutes, and with Carroll and Downing left on the bench in favour of giving Stevie G a brief run (his first appearance in six months – and as a sub for Suarez), I expect Carroll and Downing to start against Wolves this coming Saturday.

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