The FA Cup - Replay
LiverpoolLiverpool3ExeterExeter City0

Liverpool 3-0 Exeter City

By Aimee LewisBBC Sport

Liverpool set up a fourth-round FA Cup tie against West Ham as they easily saw off League Two Exeter at Anfield.

It was one-way traffic as the hosts dominated, monopolising possession and their pace was too much for Exeter.

Joe Allen put the Reds ahead, sweeping home from close range after good work by Brad Smith and Christian Benteke.

Sheyi Ojo, put through by Jordon Ibe, brilliantly curled in beyond Robert Olejnik, while Joao Teixeira sealed the victory with a calm finish.

Jurgen Klopp's men will now prepare to host West Ham, a side who have comfortably beaten them twice in the league this season, on 30 January.

All eyes on Benteke

Christian Benteke touches
As this heatmap shows, Benteke played mostly on the fringes of the penalty area

Klopp fielded a slightly more experienced line-up for this replay than the one at Exeter, which had just three players boasting more than four first-team appearances.

Adam Bogdan paid the price for his poor performance in the original tie with regular goalkeeper Simon Mignolet stepping in as one of three changes, though the Belgium international was largely unemployed.

Allen, Jose Enrique and Ibe added Premier League know-how, though all eyes were on £32.5m striker Benteke who has been a substitute for many of Liverpool's biggest games this season.

The striker, criticised for his performances since his summer arrival, again failed to impose himself on a match. He had a number of chances - heading over the crossbar and into the side-netting, messing up when clear on goal after the break while failing to hit the target when clean through in stoppage time.

However, the 25-year-old - who Klopp said this week had a long-term future at Anfield - did play a part in the opening goal, feeding Smith as the Australian charged forward to cut back to Allen, and assisted Teixeira as he struck from 12 yards.

Klopp defends misfiring Benteke

Benteke received the support of his manager after the match, with Klopp blaming referee Neil Swarbrick for making life difficult for the Belgium international.

"I saw Christian after the game, he was in good shape," said the German. "The ref didn't help, it wasn't easy for him. There were a lot of times when Christian was penalised for a foul and I didn't see a foul. He worked for the spaces in and around the box and it would have been nice for him to score but it's OK.

"Our next opponent is West Ham. We didn't play well at West Ham so we have to correct it and show we can do better - but it's a good game and a very important tournament for us."

Christian Benteke
Benteke has scored six goals for Liverpool this season

Flanagan returns for Reds

Academy product Jon Flanagan, absent for 18 months because of injury, was introduced in the 51st minute and received a standing ovation from the 43,000 crowd.

The 23-year-old, a key player during the club's Premier League title challenge under Brendan Rodgers two season ago, has undergone two separate knee operations since he last played for the team in May 2014.

Former Reds captain Steven Gerrard said the team had missed the full-back and had predicted earlier in the day on social mediaexternal-link that Anfield would "erupt" should Flanagan be introduced.

A number of Klopp's young players caught the eye. Ibe's pace gave Exeter problems and the 20-year-old twice went close, hitting the crossbar on one occasion with the ball agonisingly dropping on the line. Ojo, Cameron Brannagan and Smith also showed much promise.

Liverpool's team last time Flanagan played
Liverpool's team is much changed since Jon Flanagan last appeared for them 619 days ago

Reward in defeat for Exeter

Before the match Exeter manager Paul Tisdale had urged his team to play with "no fear", but they were not allowed to play at all as Liverpool pressed with urgency, forcing the visitors to retreat into their own half, in the first half especially.

Playing on a better surface, the League Two side were unable to rattle their opponents like they had done at St James Park where they were 2-1 up until Smith's late equaliser.

Tisdale's men, 14th in League Two having won just one of their last seven games, lacked the pace to trouble Liverpool's much-maligned defence but they did improve after the break as attacking substitutions were made, with Tom Nichols, Will Hoskins and David Wheeler introduced in a switch to 4-4-2.

But there is a silver lining for the Devon side, whose chairman Julian Tagg described the competition as the club's "lifeblood", as their trip to Anfield is estimated to have earned them £700,000.

Man of the match - Sheyi Ojo

Sheyi Ojo
The 18-year-old scored a wonderful goal on his debut and, just as he had done in the original tie, made an impact after coming off the bench.

What the Exeter manager said

Paul Tisdale: "I'm disappointed but not surprised. We have to be realistic, it was a big challenge. I knew I had to pace the team. We couldn't overdo it too early. We didn't get to grips with the game in the first 20 minutes.

"But I'm proud of the players, a lot of them excelled. The key was to show purpose but we took too long to get there. We had our chance in the first tie and the reality was that it was going to be a big challenge.

"The second goal killed the game, but it was a good experience for the players and a great day for the club. The money helps, we're a very small club. We very rarely get these windfalls so it will be put to good use."

The stats you need to know

  • After going 17 games in all competitions without a goal, Joe Allen has now scored in consecutive appearances for Liverpool.
  • Brad Smith has been directly involved in three goals in three appearances in English cup competitions this season for Liverpool (one goal, two assists).
  • Liverpool have never lost to a fourth-tier side in the FA Cup, going 15 games unbeaten (W12 D3).
  • Liverpool have won six and lost none of their past eight FA Cup games at Anfield.

What next?

Liverpool will turn their attention to the Premier League where Klopp is expected to make a number of changes for the trip to Norwich on January 23. It is back to reality for Exeter who host play-off hopefuls Accrington in League Two on Saturday.

Jon Flanagan
Jon Flanagan tweeted his appreciation for the support he received at Anfield



Formation 4-3-3

  • 22Mignolet
  • 56RandallSubstituted forFlanaganat 51'minutes
  • 26Ilori
  • 3Enrique Sanchez Diaz
  • 44B Smith
  • 32Brannagan
  • 35Stewart
  • 24AllenSubstituted forOjoat 65'minutes
  • 33IbeSubstituted forChirivellaat 79'minutes
  • 9Benteke
  • 53Vilaca Teixeira


  • 34Bogdan
  • 38Flanagan
  • 40Kent
  • 48Sinclair
  • 54Ojo
  • 57Maguire
  • 68Chirivella


Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 1Olejnik
  • 6Ribeiro
  • 39Brown
  • 15Moore-Taylor
  • 3Woodman
  • 2ButterfieldSubstituted forHoskinsat 45'minutes
  • 14Nicholls
  • 8OakleySubstituted forWheelerat 64'minutes
  • 11Davies
  • 10Holmes
  • 13MorrisonSubstituted forNicholsat 45'minutes


  • 5McAllister
  • 16Hoskins
  • 20Nichols
  • 21Hamon
  • 22Wheeler
  • 26Tillson
  • 31Grant
Neil Swarbrick

Match Stats

Home TeamLiverpoolAway TeamExeter
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Liverpool 3, Exeter City 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Liverpool 3, Exeter City 0.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Brad Smith (Liverpool).

  4. Post update

    Tom Nichols (Exeter City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  5. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Arron Davies (Exeter City) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Tom Nichols.

  6. Post update

    João Teixeira (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Christian Ribeiro (Exeter City).

  8. Post update

    Foul by Brad Smith (Liverpool).

  9. Post update

    David Wheeler (Exeter City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  10. Post update

    Attempt saved. João Teixeira (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Brad Smith.

  11. Post update

    Attempt saved. Christian Benteke (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Cameron Brannagan.

  12. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Tom Nichols (Exeter City) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Christian Ribeiro with a cross.

  13. Post update

    Offside, Liverpool. Kevin Stewart tries a through ball, but Christian Benteke is caught offside.

  14. Goal!

    Goal! Liverpool 3, Exeter City 0. João Teixeira (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Christian Benteke with a through ball.

  15. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Pedro Chirivella (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Sheyi Ojo.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Christian Benteke (Liverpool).

  17. Post update

    Jordan Moore-Taylor (Exeter City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Liverpool. Pedro Chirivella replaces Jordon Ibe.

  19. Post update

    Sheyi Ojo (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Craig Woodman (Exeter City).