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Monday 07 January 2013

FA Cup: Rodgers praises powerful Sturridge

Reds manager lauds new striker; Arsene Wenger frustrated by Arsenal's 2-2 at Swansea

  • Daniel Sturridge (left) made an immediate impact in his first match for Liverpool at Field Mill

  • Kieran Gibbs put Arsenal ahead but Swansea City hit back to draw

  • Danny Graham earned Swansea a replay with his late leveller against the Gunners

Scroll down for the FA Cup fourth round draw and third round results and fixtures

Manager Brendan Rodgers insists that there is more to come from Daniel Sturridge after the striker scored on his Liverpool debut in the 2-1 FA Cup third-round victory against Mansfield Town.

"He's got searing pace and power that gives us that presence up front and there's a lot to come from him"
Brendan Rodgers

The 23-year-old signed from Chelsea last Wednesday and wasted no time in opening his goal account for the seven-time winners, scoring the opening goal after seven minutes of the contest at Field Mill, before substitute Luis Suarez doubled the visitors’ lead on 59 minutes.

Though Matt Green's strike 11 minutes from time gave the home side a glimmer of hope and the Stags piled forward in an attempt to claim a late equaliser, Liverpool held on for a narrow win, leaving Rodgers pleased with the start made by his latest acquisition.

"He's going to create chances,” said Rodgers. “He's got searing pace and power that gives us that presence up front and there's a lot to come from him.

Rodgers added that, while Suarez has often been deployed as a lone striker this season, Sturridge’s arrival means the Uruguayan is likely to have a strike partner from now on.

“They can play together, there's no problem with that. They have both got different strengths but the idea was to bring in players that are multi-functional and can play in a couple of positions."

Wenger 'frustrated'

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was left frustrated that his side must play an FA Cup replay at home against Swansea City on 16 January after conceding an 87th-minute equaliser by Danny Graham in their third-round encounter at the Liberty Stadium.

"It is frustrating to concede a goal like this when we were first to the ball but didn't clear it, but we showed heart and it is good to repeat that"
Arsene Wenger

The Gunners had come back from a goal down after Michu, who scored twice against Arsenal in their Barclays Premier League victory at the Emirates Stadium on 1 December, scored within 10 seconds of his second-half introduction.

Lukas Podolski’s strike with nine minutes to go and Kieran Gibbs’s well-taken volley two minutes later appeared to have put the tie to bed before Graham pounced with three minutes left as Arsenal failed to clear a corner.

"We should have won this game; the first half was a bit locked and one-paced but the second was much more open,” said Wenger. “We created many chances and found ourselves 1-0 down, but we showed character and quality.

"Unfortunately, I felt on the corner just before their goal, when we conceded it we lacked some calmness and focus. It is frustrating to concede a goal like this when we were first to the ball but didn't clear it, but we showed heart and it is good to repeat that."

The result adds another fixture to the two clubs' busy schedules, with a replay in north London required to decide who will travel to Brighton & Hove Albion in the fourth round.

"I am frustrated as I did not want a replay, but if it is the choice between staying in or going out then I would rather take the replay at the Emirates, and they have a lot of games too."

Laudrup lauds Swansea spirit

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup, who started with top scorer Michu on the bench and rested defender Ashley Williams, felt a draw was a fair result, and again praised the character shown by his side.

"In the last couple of games we have seen the Danny [Graham] we saw at the end of pre-season"

"I think the overall feeling is that it was a fair result. In the second half we made a couple of changes that paid off with Michu's goal, but to be fair to Arsenal they put us under pressure, they kept the ball, took over possession and in those 15 minutes we lost the ball too much.

"Then they scored two very late goals, but again we came back and we again showed the character of our team to score the equaliser."

Graham's strike was his third in as many matches and highlighted his value to Swansea at a time when speculation linking him with a January move is increasing.

"In the last couple of games we have seen the Danny we saw at the end of pre-season,” added Laudrup. “Not just his scoring, but he is making the right runs when we have the ball, and he looks fit and confident and that is positive for us."

"I am talking to the players who have not played regularly, but it does not mean I am telling them they can leave."

In the final tie of the third round, Everton travel to Cheltenham Town on Monday evening.

FA Cup fourth round draw

(ties to be played on the weekend of 26/27 January)

Norwich City v Luton Town
Oldham Athletic v Liverpool
Macclesfield Town v Wigan Athletic/Bournemouth
Derby County v Blackburn Rovers
Hull City/Leyton Orient v Barnsley
Middlesbrough v Aldershot Town
Millwall v Aston Villa
Leeds United/Birmingham City v Tottenham Hotspur
Brighton & Hove Albion v Swansea City/Arsenal
Crystal Palace/Stoke City v Manchester City
West Ham United/Manchester United v Fulham/Blackpool
Southend United/Brentford v Chelsea
Reading v Sheffield United
Huddersfield Town v Leicester City
Queens Park Rangers/West Bromwich Albion v Sheffield Wednesday/MK Dons
Bolton Wanderers/Sunderland v Cheltenham/Everton (playing on Monday)

FA Cup third round results and fixtures

Saturday 5 January

Aldershot Town 3-1 Rotherham United
Aston Villa
2-1 Ipswich Town
Barnsley 1-0 Burnley
Blackburn Rovers 2-0 Bristol City
Bolton Wanderers 2-2 Sunderland
Brighton & Hove Albion 2-0 Newcastle United
Charlton Athletic 0-1 Huddersfield Town
Crawley Town 1-3 Reading
Crystal Palace 0-0 Stoke City
Derby County 5-0 Tranmere Rovers
Fulham 1-1 Blackpool
Hull City 1-1 Leyton Orient
Leeds United 1-1 Birmingham City
Leicester City 2-0 Burton Albion
Luton Town 1-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Macclesfield Town -1 Cardiff City
Manchester City 3-0 Watford
Middlesbrough 4-1 Hastings United
Millwall 1-0 Preston North End
Nottingham Forest 2-3 Oldham Athletic
Oxford United 0-3 Sheffield United
Peterborough United 0-3 Norwich City
Queens Park Rangers
1-1 West Bromwich Albion
Sheffield Wednesday 0-0 Milton Keynes Dons
Southampton 1-5 Chelsea
Southend 2-2 Brentford
Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 Coventry City
West Ham United 2-2 Manchester United
Wigan Athletic
1-1 AFC Bournemouth

Sunday 6 January

Swansea City 2-2 Arsenal
Mansfield Town 1-2 Liverpool

Monday 7 January

7.45pm Cheltenham Town v Everton

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Key Points

  • Daniel Sturridge earned praise from Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers after scoring on his debut against Mansfield Town
  • Arsene Wenger frustrated after conceding late equaliser in 2-2 draw at Swansea City
  • Swansea manager Michael Laudrup full of praise for striker Danny Graham