Carling Cup: Bellamy back on song for Liverpool
Brighton 1 Liverpool 2: It was not entirely convincing, but Liverpool indicated as they moved into the last 16 of the Carling Cup that they are most intent of all the big-name teams on winning the competition rather than treating it as a finishing school.
Manager Kenny Dalglish was pleased to see talismanic captain Steven Gerrard make his comeback in the 2-1 win over Brighton.
Craig Bellamy and Dirk Kuyt scored the goals which put Liverpool through to the next round, Bellamy's low strike in the seventh minute his debut goal for the club following his return.
Ashley Barnes pulled a late goal back for the Seagulls from the spot after Jamie Carragher fouled Vicente Rodriguez.
Midfield dynamo Gerrard came on with 15 minutes to go to play in his first game of the season for the Reds after being ruled out for six months with a recurring groin injury, and Dalglish admitted he still did not want to take too may risks with his skipper.
“If it had been four or five goals we'd have maybe given him a bit longer,” Dalglish said. “We'll say again what we've said many times before, we'll manage Steven as well as we've managed everyone else and we'll look forward to that continuing.
“We're not going to throw him in and give him too many minutes. It's fantastic to see him back so don't let's spoil it by being irresponsible. We want to see the talisman back and he's on his way there which is great for everybody.
“He's suffered a lot and he's been through a lot and he's made a lot of sacrifices to get where he is.”
And Dalglish paid respect to Gus Poyet's battling Brighton side.
“We have total respect for Brighton and for what Gus Poyet's achieved but you can't say we didn't deserve to win that game,” Dalglish said.
The win came on the back of a 4-0 rout by Tottenham in the League last weekend, and Dalglish was thrilled to get back to winning ways after making seven changes to his side, which included debuts for Bellamy and Sebastian Coates.
“I think for us it was a fantastic response for what happened on Sunday so we're delighted,” added Dalglish.
Gerrard said: “If we were two or three up at half-time I might have got a few more minutes but it wasn't about me, it was about progressing to the next round of the cup and getting that Tottenham performance out of our systems.
“I think we've done that tonight. It's nice to come through the first test and hopefully I'll be selected in the first 18 against Wolves and get some game time.”
The defeat was Brighton’s first at the Amex Stadium but Poyet said: “You need to pay credit to Liverpool because I think today the four more offensive players especially were outstanding.”