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Liverpool ease past Cardiff into FA Cup fifth round

LIVERPOOL: Liverpool beat a young Cardiff City side 3-1 in the FA Cup on Sunday at Anfield to advance to the fifth round, with second-half goals from Diogo Jota, Takumi Minamino and Harvey Elliott.

While Juergen Klopp named a strong Liverpool team, four academy graduates started for Cardiff with manager Steve Morison making several changes due to injuries and with one eye on the Championship relegation battle where they are 20th.

The first half was one-way traffic as Liverpool dominated possession and attempted several shots on goal but Cardiff's rearguard stood firm to keep the home side at bay.

Liverpool's perseverance paid off eight minutes into the second period when Jota rose highest to head home a Trent Alexander-Arnold cross from a set piece for his 15th goal of the season in all competitions.

"Cup games are always hard, even when playing lower league teams and we know the magic of the FA Cup," Jota said.

"It was crucial to get the first goal, it's hard to get the space against a low block and in the end we got three and are in the next stage."

Liverpool doubled their lead when a defensive mix-up allowed new €45 million (US$51.5-million) signing Luis Diaz to steal the ball in Cardiff's box and cut back after some nifty footwork to Minamino, who fired home.

Elliott then marked his return to action after ankle surgery earlier this season with a dazzling strike when the 18-year-old expertly controlled a cross from Andy Robertson before turning on the spot and volleying home in front of the Kop.

Cardiff pulled one goal back as a consolation when 19-year-old Rubin Colwill initiated a counter-attack after stealing the ball in midfield, and he finished it with aplomb with a shot from the edge of the box.

"I'm really disappointed that we conceded a set piece and it was two poor goals that gave them the other two," Morison told ITV Sport.

"Coming away from Anfield frustrated that we've given them three poor goals, it's tough ... We had to withstand some pressure but I thought we did it well."

Liverpool will host Norwich City in the fifth round.

Source: Reuters

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