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Rafa Benitez major embarrassment after 'comical' Liverpool intervention and forgotten dismissal

Liverpool Echo logo Liverpool Echo 18/01/2022 Mark Wakefield

The 2004/05 season is one of the most memorable in Liverpool’s history.

May 2005 saw Rafa Benitez guide the Reds to the Champions League with their historic victory over AC Milan in Istanbul.

However, just a few months before, Liverpool had arguably one of their lowest moments of that season.

January 18, 2005 saw Liverpool take on Burnley at Turf Moor in their rearranged FA Cup third round tie.

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Initially the match was due to be played 10 days earlier, but it was called off as heavy rainfall left the Turf Moor pitch waterlogged and unplayable.

Liverpool may have hoped that the original date for the tie went ahead, as what happened 17 years ago today is one that is remembered as one of the most embarrassing in the club’s recent history.

Benitez started a mixed team for the trip to Burnley, with no Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher, Luis Garcia, Harry Kewell, John Arne Riise, Steve Finnan, Xabi Alonso or Didi Hamann in the squad.

The first half saw very little goalmouth action, with the game goalless going into the interval.

But that all changed just a few minutes into the second half.

A cross into the box should have been easily dealt with by Djimi Traore, but what happened instead has gone down in infamy for Liverpool as one of the most comical goals conceded in the club's history.

Whilst appearing to try and sort his feet out, Traore instead backheeled the ball into his own goal and past goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek, who was powerless to stop the goal.

Benitez pushed for an equaliser, bringing on Milan Baros and Neil Mellor off the bench to strengthen Liverpool’s attacking.

But no goal came, and just when Liverpool’s day could not go any worse, it did.

Strill chasing the game, Reds forward Antonio Nunez dived into a challenge on Tony Grant. When the pair returned to their feet, Nunez lashed out at Grant’s face with an elbow which led to the forward being shown a straight red card in the final moments.

Liverpool would exit the competition at the third round stage for the first time since the 1997/98 season when they lost 3-1 to Coventry City.

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