FA Cup Quarter Final.
Birmingham 0 Liverpool 7 (S Hyypia 1, P Crouch 4, 37, F Morientes 59, J Riise 69, O Tebily o.g. 76, D Cisse 88)
Rafael Benítez: “We have already won one cup this season, the Super Cup, and we hope the FA Cup can be the second. We always want to do well in the cups and this competition is no different. The FA Cup is very important for us. We have confidence and will try to do the same things again in the next round but we have to take one game at a time and see what happens.
“I am delighted with the final result and the performance of the players tonight. They worked really hard and it is the first time in my professional career that I have won by seven goals.
“Sometimes you have lots of shots but cannot score, like against Charlton recently, but tonight almost everything we hit went in. Also, sometimes you need a bit of luck in front of goal and tonight we had that with a couple of the goals.
“Despite the victory I still stand by my pre-match comment that you cannot play two games in three days at this high level. We changed some players tonight and it showed because we had fresh legs out there. For this reason we were able to keep going. The players wanted to keep scoring and were determined to keep a clean sheet.
“I was particularly pleased with the return of Momo Sissoko. This was really good news for us. He showed great character.”
“I’m delighted with the final result and the performance of the players, sometimes you cannot score goals after 30 attempts – as against Charlton – but here every time we shot it was a goal.
“We have quality. The strikers are really good, and in this case we had a lot of luck. We are closer to the final and we will try to do the same things, play well. But in one game anything can happen.”
Rafa on Steve Bruce: “Games like this are difficult for a manager. I think Birmingham worked hard but to start a game and then suddenly find yourself two down after five minutes is never easy. He can be proud of the effort his players put in and I do feel some sympathy. If you are losing 2-0 inside five minutes, it is very difficult. They did a lot of things to try to score but at 3-0 it was virtually impossible for them to win. You try to go forward, you leave spaces and we have done a good job also.
Birmingham manager Steve Bruce: “I’ll analyse myself but I want to turn it round. I’m not going to take anything for granted and questions will be asked. The board have always been good to me, but I still think I’m the right person to see it through. The one thing I am is resilient and I’ll need to be. Sometimes football kicks you in the teeth – and certainly that is the biggest one I have taken.
“I’m shell-shocked, disappointed and humiliated. It was men against boys, a result possibly waiting to happen with the patched up side we have got. It’s possibly the worst night I have ever experienced, certainly in management and with the players there are a lot of dented egos in the dressing room – and my ego is dented as well.
“There is very little you can say to them. They are absolutely humiliated. You have got to try to go again. It’s going to be a long 24, 48 hours but the one thing about football is there is another game around the corner.
“We have got Manchester United coming up and Chelsea after that. It’s going to be a big test for us all, myself, my staff and my managerial ability to try to lift everyone if I can. But I am determined to try to do it.
“Have I the backing of the board still? You will have to ask them that. It is hard for me to answer that. It is a question for the board themselves.”
Steven Gerrard: “I was listening to some of the Everton players saying they were happy to be coming to Anfield full of confidence, but I think it’s the same for us now. We’ve been getting criticised for not scoring goals of late but hopefully we have proved the critics wrong. We’re really pleased with our performance tonight.
“Nothing has changed in terms of why we’re suddenly scoring goals. I just think we’re getting more luck now. We’ve always been playing well but the strikers hadn’t been having much luck. Now they’re starting to go in and we’re delighted.”
Peter Crouch: “I was a bit gutted not to have a chance of a hat-trick, but I think the manager was thinking about the Everton game.
“It was a great performance by us and a good result. It’s always the case that when you score a couple of goals then the next ones tend to go in a bit easier. Hopefully we can keep this run going now.”
Birmingham: Maik Taylor, Melchiot, Cunningham, Martin Taylor (Tebily 45), Painter, Pennant, Johnson (Bruce 75), Clemence, Clapham, Forssell, Dunn (Kilkenny 71).
Subs Not Used: Vaesen, Lazaridis.
Booked: S Clemence 44, D Johnson 66, A Bruce 79
Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Traore (Kewell 22), Alonso, Gerrard (Cisse 71), Sissoko, Riise, Crouch (Morientes 56), Luis Garcia.
Subs Not Used: Dudek, Kromkamp.
Referee: Rob Styles (Hampshire).