London: Liverpool emerged from a wretched domestic slump to reached the English League Cup semi-finals with a remarkable 4-3 win at Aston Villa on Wednesday.
The Anfield club have lost four straight games in the Premier League to fall to fifth in the table, but two goals from Danny Murphy and one each from Milan Baros and Steven Gerrard, who was named Man of the Match, at Villa Park lifted the gloom.
Villa’s Dion Dublin thought he had forced extra time after levelling at 3-3 with six minutes remaining, but in the second minute of injury time Murphy struck again to stun the five-times winners.
Villa had taken the lead with a Darius Vassell penalty and German Thomas Hitzlsperger made it 3-2 in the second half of a match delayed for 80 minutes because of crowd congestion.
Liverpool, six times winners of the competition, now face first division Sheffield United, with Manchester United playing holders Blackburn Rovers in the other two-legged semi-final tie.
Houllier’s side exited the Champions League in November and, though they have progressed in the Uefa Cup, their last Premier League win came against West Ham United on November 2.
Gerrard, named Man-of-the-Match said: “We seem to have to go a goal down before we start playing, and we know people have been talking about (the poor form). But the manager has asked us to keep fighting and that’s what we did tonight.”