On this day in 2006 Liverpool played Luton Town in an FA Cup 3rd round thriller.
The newly promoted championship side were set to face Rafa Benitez’s Reds at Kenilworth Road in the hopes of kick starting their FA Cup campaign in spectacular fashion. Things didn’t get off to the greatest of starts for the hosts as Steven Gerrard curled a magnificent shot into the far post to put Liverpool 1-0 up after 15 minutes. However, Luton responded admirably and goals from Steve Howard and Steve Robinson saw the home side go into the half time break leading the reigning European champions 2-1. In the second half things went from bad to worse for Liverpool as Djibril Cissé missed from the penalty spot before Luton converted a penalty of their own less than 5 minutes later to make it 3-1.
An upset looked to surely be on the cards, with Mike Newell’s Luton putting 3 past the side placed third in the Premier League within an hour, you’d be forgiven for considering this to be a matter of damage limitation for Liverpool.
Though the visitors ‘never say die’ attitude saw them come back into the match as Florent Sinama Pongolle pulled one back on 61 minutes, latching onto a through ball from Gerrard and firing across the goalkeeper, making it 3-2. No less than 10 minutes later, Xabi Alonso notched an equaliser for the Reds in spectacular fashion, lobbing the keeper from 40 yards with a venomous shot to restore the equilibrium. Sinama Pongolle gave the visitors the lead 5 minutes later as he met a Steve Finnan cross with a looping header. Finally, as if to rub salt into the wounds of the hosts, Alonso netted his second of the match in the dying seconds as a Luton corner was cleared to the Spaniard. As the keeper had gone up for the corner the Hatters’ goal was left gaping at the mercy of the Liverpool attack. With extreme composure Alonso rounded the back-peddling keeper and hit an audacious effort from 60 yards that bobbled its way into the net to seal a dramatic 5-3 win for Liverpool.