Reading stun Liverpool
Kevin Doyle scored Reading's second after the slightest of touches from Nicky Shorey's free-kick.
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Saturday, 08, Dec 2007 07:34
Reading's unchanged lineup pulled off a superb 3-1 victory to leave a much-changed Liverpool seven points behind league leaders Arsenal.
Rafa Benitez had selected a front three of Fernando Torres, Peter Crouch and Andriy Voronin but goals from Stephen Hunt, Kevin Doyle and James Harper earned the Royals a famous win at the Madejski Stadium and Liverpool their first league defeat of the season.
Reading had taken the lead in contentious fashion, after referee Andre Marriner adjudged Jamie Carragher to have brought down Brynjar Gunnarsson in the penalty area.
Stephen Hunt slotted home from the spot but television replays revealed that Carragher's challenge had been outside the 18-yard box.
But Steven Gerrard pulled Rafa Benitez's men back into the game with a stinging shot past Marcus Hahnemann after a well-placed assist from Torres.
Young defender Jack Hobbs was making his first Premier League start but wasted a chance to mark the occasion with a goal after blazing a half-volley over the bar.
And after Liverpool saw penalty claims turned down when Torres was barged off the ball by Ibrahima Sonko, Doyle made matters worse for the Reds by getting the faintest of touches on Nicky Shorey's whipped in free-kick to restore Reading's lead.
Steven Gerrard was unlucky after a 35-yard drive struck the bar, but James Harper put Reading 3-1 following a speedy counter-attack as a Bobby Convey pass split the Liverpool defence.
Though Benitez earned the ire of the travelling support by taking captain Gerrard off with 20 minutes to go, Liverpool continued to create chances, with substitute Harry Kewell and Crouch both going close.
But despite Crouch hitting post from the edge of the box with one of the last kicks of the game, Reading weathered the late storm to grab the win and move up to 12th in the table.