After-match reaction – Crystal Palace 2 Liverpool 1

Rafael Benitez after Liverpool were knocked out of the Carling Cup: "I cannot say much. You can’t accuse the players of not working this evening. I cannot fault them for that. I won’t criticise my players if they work hard but we have made some mistakes in defence and that is the reason that we lost. And I was disappointed that we did not take the opportunities we had. If we had scored one or two more goals in the first half then it would have been different. We needed to score but to be fair their keeper had a good game. Palace continued to work hard in the second half and we tried to but it was not easy."

Benitez comparing the game to defeat days earlier at Fulham: "It was not the same as the other day – we had a better intensity and we started the game well and worked hard until the end. But we cannot change the result now. Saturday is a Premiership game and we must now start thinking about that one."

Benitez on squad rotation and the yet-to-score new signing Peter Crouch: "I have a squad and I try to use my squad. Things will change from Crouch when he starts scoring goals. He worked hard tonight and played okay but does need to score. Harry Kewell and Fernando Morientes have both been out injured for a while and they still need to keep playing games to improve their level. The strikers have quality and are working hard and they will eventually score goals."

Opposite number Iain Dowie: "Our display was very good overall. It was definitely our best home performance of the season. Some of our football was outstanding. I felt we got it down and passed it. Everyone from the full-backs to the wide men looked creative and full of energy. Ben Watson and Tom Soares were excellent in midfield, as were Michael Hughes and Marco Reich. You cannot shut up shop against Liverpool, and they had the maestro back in Gerrard."

Dowie had some encouraging words for his victims: "In a few weeks’ time when they get everybody back fit I wouldn’t be surprised if they go on a run. They have Gerrard back now, who is a big player for them. We rode a 20-minute period in the first half where they were on top but in the second half we were much more creative. European football is more ponderous and slower and it gives players more time, and that’s why Liverpool have done better in that, but I would be amazed if they are not in the top four come the end of the season."