Liverpool a step nearer Wembley


ROBBIE FOWLER and Stan Collymore grabbed the goals at Anfield last night that took Liverpool into the last eight of the FA Cup.

Fowler opened the scoring after 12 minutes with his 27th goal of the season. And Collymore weighed in with the second after 59 minutes - his 14th of the campaign following his £8.5 million move from Nottingham Forest.

It is little wonder Ian Rush cannot get in the starting line up and has decided to leave Anfield. However, he replaced Collymore for the last 11 minutes last night and was given a rapturous reception by the Kop.

The man who holds the record for the most FA Cup goals this century - 42 - almost added to his tally within minutes of coming on. Fowler unselfishly released Rush and it seemed a certain goal but, not for the first time Charlton goalkeeper Mike Salmon made a marvellous block.

The Londoners gave a spirited display, befitting a team with such an impressive record away from home this season.

Liverpool were forced to endure a nervy final three minutes after substitute Kim Grant pulled a goal back. It was the first goal Liverpool conceded in the competition this season and they were relieved to hear the final whistle.

Charlton almost made a dream start when Jason McAteer misdirected a cross from Mark Robson but Lee Bowyer could not get any power on his shot.

Fowler put Liverpool ahead with a goal that is fast becoming his trade mark, making space in the penalty area to get on the end of a cross from McAteer.

Collymore should have scored before the break but Charlton defender Richard Rufus made a hurried clearance.

Liverpool went further ahead when Michael Thomas picked out Collymore who was lurking in the penalty area and this time he made no mistake.

Grant beat David James with a speculative 20 yard shot that looped over the Liverpool goalkeeper to give Charlton a glimmer of hope.

But Liverpool weathered the late storm to take their unbeaten run to 15 matches and set up a quarter final tie at Leeds.