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10:45 25th August 2011

Exeter City 1 Liverpool 3

£22m striker Luis Suarez inspired Liverpool to a comfortable Carling Cup Second Round victory over a spirited City side at The Park tonight. The eyes of the world were on the Grecians and they didn't let themselves down and can be pretty proud of their display against a team containing eight internationals. Suarez, player of the tournament during this summer's Copa America, fired the visitors infront on 23 minutes with an effort that Richard Duffy almost scrambled off the line. The Uruguayan then put the second goal on a plate for Maxi on 55 minutes before Andy Carroll, the eighth most expensive footballer of all time, thundered home the goal of the night  three minutes later. City, who gave home debuts to Danny Coles and first half substitute Jimmy Keohane, scored a late consolation through Dan Nardiello's penalty after he was fouled. The Grecians' hopes of a place in the Third Round of the Carling Cup suffered their first blow in the cramped away dressing room at 6:45pm. Kenny was taking this seriously. 14 internationals were named in his 18, £75m worth of talent in the starting line-up alone. After Liam Sercombe was ruled out and with Steve Tully suspended Tisdale was forced into naming an extremely youthful bench who, with the exception of a striker struggling with an injury in Richard Logan, had just one City start between them. His starting XI saw a home debut for Danny Coles alongside Richard Duffy at centre-back while the Nardiello/Bauza partnership was given another chance to flourish. Troy was deployed infront of a back four which included Golbourne at right-back. It was quite an assured start from City with both teams keeping the ball on the floor. When the Grecians got possession though, they were often keen to give it away which meant a lot of rushed clearances and passes when team-mates weren't prepared. Both sides had a player apiece in David Noble and Charlie Adam dropping deep into the quarterback roles and getting plenty of touches. And the latter had the first real chance of the match on 12 minutes, drilling an effort at Artur Krysiak's near post after a short corner which the Pole did well to save. Adam's strong and powerful deliveries from corners, described by Sir Alex Ferguson last season as worth £10m alone, were being dealt with impressively by the City defence. Nardiello then won a free-kick on 16 minutes which he then rose to meet with a flicked on header that was comfortably taken by captain for the night Pepe Reina. Suarez had two earlier sighters and Adam shot over before the away side were then forced into a early change after an awkward fall for Raul Meireles meant the introduction of £35m man Carroll, looking for his first goal of the season. Golbourne had a cross taken by Reina after City's best move so far but the away side countered and took the lead. Billy Jones lost out to Carroll and was dragged into the Liverpool half, allowing Maxi to slip in Jordan Henderson, bombing on in City's left-back position, and the former Sunderland man had time to pick out a right footed cross. Artur couldn't hold it and Suarez pounced at the back post and fired a right footed drive through Duffy on the line. The first goal was always going to be huge in a tie like this and Exeter's prospects of equalising were dealt a huge blow with yet another injury to a striker. Bauza pulled up after laying a pass forward and his night was over. It meant number 22 Irishman Keohane, with the club after a successful trial spell following his release from Bristol City, was introduced for his City debut. The Irishman's introduction meant Nardiello was the lone frontman. But it was certainly a successful City bow for Keohane who used the ball very well, looked lively and impressed the SJP crowd with his distribution. Both sides had spells with the ball before the interval, City weren't being overawed and it certainly wasn't the one-sided encounter that many had predicted. The last chance of the half fell to Suarez who showed stunning awareness and a lovely first touch to knock the ball away from Jones before sending a chip over the bar. Just seconds after the break came a great chance for the home side. James Dunne chipped a ball over Martin Skrtel and Nardiello's pace got him to the ball before the outrushing Reina and he lifted a right footed shot over his head but it bounced wide of the far post. It was great movement from Nardiello playing on the shoulder of the back four and Reina did extremely well to race off his line. Five minutes later and the away fans thought they should have had a penalty when Henderson flew past Jones and into the box before going down under a challenge from Coles. The referee's whistle blew…but for a City free-kick and the summer signing was booked. Henderson then played a role in Liverpool's second goal on 55 minutes. He broke away from midfield and threaded Suarez in down the right hand side. At the second time of asking the Uruguayan teed up Maxi in the centre of the box and he made it 2-0. Liverpool were beginning to move up the gears and a passing move from front to back led to the third on 57 minutes. Suarez, yet again, showed great footwork to beat Troy before running at the City and teeing up Carroll. And the Reds' number nine knocked the ball from right foot to left before thumping an effort into the back of the net from inside the D. Suarez was then replaced to raptuous applause from all four sides of St James Park and another international and big money signing was on in Stuart Downing. 19-year-old Callum McNish was then introduced for Shephard and the average age of the side fell even more and he had an early half-chance when he fired a left-foot shot into the midriff of Reina. The tempo of the cup tie then began to slow for a while with both teams happy to keep the ball and the only chance of note in the 15 minutes that followed fell to Downing whose left-footed shot was kept out by Krysiak infront of a packed Big Bank. Tom Nichols, not 18 until Sunday, then received quite a birthday present as he was introduced as a substitute, for the fifth time this season, for the final 12 minutes against the five time European champions. But it was his strike partner who grabbed City's consolation on 79 minutes. Nichols threaded the ball into his path on the left-hand side of the box and Nardiello jinked past Skrtel who tripped the Manchester United man and the referee instantly pointed to the spot. City's number 10 thumped his spot-kick down the middle and the 7000+ home crowd had something to celebrate. The unlikeliest of comebacks was never going to be on but Nardiello had a shot deflected wide and Jones' free-kick skimmed wide of Reina's post before the final whistle called an end to City's cup run. But the young Grecian side deserved all the applause they received as they walked off in the pouring rain, the effort was certainly there as well as some great performances but Liverpool's class just shone through. Keep visiting the official website for the thoughts of Paul Tisdale and Kenny Dalglish.  
    Data provided by Press Association