Liverpool stunned by plucky Cobblers

LIVERPOOL (2) VS NORTHAMPTON(2)

AET, Northampton win 4-2 on pens

LIVERPOOL manager Roy Hodgson apologised to fans after his side suffered a humiliating third-round exit against League Two Northampton Town at Anfield. David Ngog and youngster Nathan Eccleston missed their penalties after the Reds had to come from behind just to force a shoot-out. Milan Jovanovic put Liverpool in front but Billy McKay’s equaliser took it to extra time, where Michael Jacobs looked to have won it before a 116th-minute Ngog strike.

“All I can do is congratulate Northampton and apologise to everyone; the fans came expecting to see us win and I expected us to win but it wasn’t to be,” said Hodgson.

“We must all take our responsibility. I am just bitterly disappointed that the team I had so much faith in did not repay that faith this evening with the exception of one or two performances. We wanted to do well in the Carling Cup and we haven’t done. We were given a kind draw against a team three leagues below us, were expected to win and when you don’t you can expect to be criticised from the top downwards.”

A shock defeat heaps further pressure on Hodgson, who has suffered a disappointing start since leaving Fulham for Anfield in the summer. His youthful selection was missing Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres, Pepe Reina, Joe Cole and Jamie Carragher, among others. But that did not dilute the joy of Northampton manager Ian Sampson after pulling off arguably the greatest result in the club’s 113-year history.

“It is certainly up there as one of the best nights of my career,” he said. “To be a manger and win at Anfield after only one year in the job – I’m absolutely delighted.”