Liverpool-Reading: Liverpoop!

David JacobsCorrespondent IJanuary 14, 2010

READING, ENGLAND - JANUARY 02:  Rafael Benítez, manager of vLiverpool during the FA Cup 3rd Round match sponsored by e.on between Reading and Liverpool at the Madejski Stadium on January 2, 2010 in Reading, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Liverpool have been flushed out of the FA Cup by the Royals who, for the moment, sit high and mighty on their thrones.

Liverpool's season has just become a lot more unbearable after last night's
shocking 2-1 defeat to Reading on their own turf, although, it's not that much of a shock to some.

It was only an average performance from Liverpool, and it has been made clear more than once in the past that Rafa has only been relying on and nursing three or four players rather than firing up the whole squad.

Spanish hit man, Fernando Torres had to be withdrawn after about 30 minutes due to a knee injury which was assumed not to be too serious, but is still being assessed.
David N'gog took his place upfront.

Liverpool's game still opened with promise as Gerrard hit a shot which deflected off Reading defender Ryan Bertrand to give Liverpool the opener in the first half.
It ensured that at half time, the Kop were feeling more optimistic about salvaging something from their season.

This year had already seen the Reds crash out in the Champions' League group stages and the League Cup. Therefore, every FA Cup game would feel like the Cup Final over and over again.

Gerrard was also substituted due to a hamstring injury. He came off at half time.
His replacement was Dutch winger Ryan Babel.

Reading fought all the way through to the end and deserved their moment(s). McAnuff was inches from scoring what would've been the best goal of the FA Cup this season. Taking a passport-sized photo of Ryan Giggs in his shorts, he ran past five Liverpool players, burst through the defence and into the box.

He came face-to-face with Liverpool's second-choice goalkeeper Diego Cavalieri, who had given up the ghost at this point expecting the goal. McAnuff attempted to curl it into the right hand side of the net, but didn't get enough on it.

The ball went inches wide and he played the remainder of the half with a glazed I'm-crying-now look in his eyes to personify both his and the fans' disbelief that a golden opportunity had come to nothing.

In the final minute of injury time, Gylfi Sigurdsson went down in the Liverpool penalty box, earning a penalty. He read Cavalieri's movement and slotted it into the
bottom-left of the net.

Extra time offered no relief for anybody. Liverpool were pushing for the win at this point. Benayoun came close to lifting the roof with cheers after going one-on-one with Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici, but his shot was comfortably saved.

Shane Long scored the winner with a swift, glancing header and Liverpool were unable to equalise.

I am going to be honest about Liverpool's managerial situation. Rafa fans, you might not want to hear this, but Rafael Benitez's position at the club has only been maintained by financial circumstances.

Their debt stands at £280 million, and sacking him would only cost extra money. If he's not careful, the four golden boys Benayoun, Gerrard, Torres, and Kuyt may have to be sold to free up funds. Then the team may find themselves in a Spurs 2008/2009 situation.

On a separate note, it makes me think how ungrateful those Manchester City suits are. Mark Hughes had always done what he could, mentored all players in the squad (not just four) and earned sixth place, despite the many draws. Yet, it's him who got sacked and not Rafael Benitez.

Either the entire squad need to be mentored correctly, or they'll struggle more in terms of accumulated injuries. The choice is yours, Rafa.