Craig Bellamy and Dirk Kuyt fired Liverpool into the fourth round of the Carling Cup as Brighton were dispatched 2-1 on Wednesday night.
The Reds became the first giant to visit the new Amex Stadium and came away worthy winners after Bellamy hit his 10th goal for the club early in the game and Kuyt finished the job late on. The one blot came with minutes to spare as substitute Ashley Barnes smashed home a penalty. A productive night for Kenny Dalglish was made even sweeter by the return of Steven Gerrard from injury. Liverpool will now await Saturday's draw as their quest to reach the new Wembley for the first time continues. The visiting teamsheet was most notable for a player not in the XI - our club captain being named among seven substitutes after six months in the treatment room. As in round two, the starters were familiar names. Bellamy, Kuyt, Luis Suarez, Jamie Carragher, Lucas Leiva and Pepe Reina were all on duty, while Uruguayan new boy Sebastian Coates was granted a full debut after a substitute appearance at White Hart Lane. Just seven minutes had elapsed when Liverpool got their reward for a lively opening, Bellamy sliding an angled finish beyond Casper Ankergren after being set up by Suarez. It took a late clearance from Brighton captain Gordon Greer to prevent Kuyt making it 2-0 after a Maxi Rodriguez cross. The Dutchman then had a header hacked from the goalmouth following a well-worked corner. Liverpool's attacking rotation was proving too much for one of English football's in-form teams, though Brighton were not playing the subservient host, breaking forward whenever the chance arose without consistently troubling a defence marshalled terrifically by Carragher. A lovely one-two with Kuyt left Suarez with only the goalkeeper to beat but our No.7 was uncharacteristically wasteful in lashing wide. Many of the newspapers sent their chief reporters to this game, no doubt hopeful of an upset - but the seven times winners were not obliging. All that was missing was a second goal. It almost came on 31 minutes when the irrepressible Bellamy swung a free-kick towards Suarez, whose header kissed the post. Aside from the goal, the moment of the first half came with just five minutes remaining when Bellamy bulleted a 35-yard dead ball onto the underside of the bar, earning a look of relief from the static Ankergren. Spearing was then denied his first Liverpool goal when a left-foot drive was tipped wide. It could have been 5-1 - Brighton being thwarted late on by a superb intervention from Martin Kelly - but instead the Reds still had work to do as the second period began. A misplaced clearance from Coates might have let the Seagulls back into the contest immediately after the restart but erstwhile Liverpool youngster Alan Navarro was unlucky in smashing the crossbar. Coates made amends shortly after with a well-timed challenge on Scouser Craig Noone - one of several glimpses of his potential throughout the game. Some nice one-touch passing allowed Matt Sparrow to navigate the Reds backline only to have his big moment spoilt by Reina, but Brighton were proving to be a different proposition following some half-time words from manager Gus Poyet. Former Valencia star Vicente came close after replacing the injured Will Buckley but Liverpool gradually began to regain control. There were 73 minutes on the clock when Dalglish introduced his skipper, Gerrard replacing Suarez amid feverous cheers from the travelling set. Seven minutes later the victory was secured after a brilliant ball from Bellamy set Maxi on the counter-attack. The Argentinean was unselfish in finding Kuyt, whose finish trickled into the goal right in front of the fans wearing red. A trip by Carragher allowed Brighton to plunder a consolation from the penalty spot, Barnes lashing into the top corner as injury-time loomed. The home fans roared but the remarkable comeback they sniffed never materialised. Liverpoolfc.tv journalist's Man of the Match: Craig Bellamy