Liverpool could point to a failed penalty appeal as the turning point, after Xabi Alonso went down under a challenge from Gilberto in the 24th minute and which ended with the home player being cautioned for diving by referee Steve Bennett despite television replays suggesting a spot kick would have been the correct decision.

Two hat-tricks

 

Elsewhere, Frank Lampard lifted the gloom around Chelsea by claiming a hat-trick for the club as the Premiership champions swept into the fourth round with a 6-1 win over minnows Macclesfield.

 

Chelsea's Frank Lampard, left, tussles with Macclesfield's
Alan Navarro [AFP]
But it was another bleak Saturday for top flight strugglers, Charlton and Sheffield United, who fell at their first hurdles in the world's oldest cup competition.

 

Championship highflighers Derby County beat former giant-killers Wrexham 3-1 at Pride Park, after a hat-trick by Arturo Lupoli, the Italian under 21 striker, currently on a season-long loan from Arsenal. It was the first Derby hat-trick in 11 years.    

 

Nottingham Forest, now in League One, the third tier of English football and looking to stay there, beat Charlton 2-0 thanks to first-half goals from Ghana striker Junior Agogo and Grant  Holt.

 

Another League One side, Swansea, ended Sheffield United's involvement with a 3-0 win at Bramall Lane. Thomas Butler was the Swans' hero, scoring twice before being brought down for a penalty that Leon Britton converted.

  

Dion Dublin and Darren Huckerby claimed a pair apiece as Norwich City cruised to a 4-1 win over Tamworth, while Aldershot put up more of a fight before going down 4-2 at Blackpool, for whom Andrew Morrell scored twice.

 

Ten-man Birmingham draw

 

Sebastian Larsson's late equaliser earned ten-man Birmingham an unlikely 2-2 draw with Newcastle. The Championship leaders played the entire second half with ten men following the dismissal of Rahdi Jaidi for a professional foul on Nigeria forward Obafemi Martins.

  

Newcastle had looked set for victory when Kieron Dyer fired them ahead mid-way through the second period after Steven Taylor had cancelled out DJ Campbell's early strike for Birmingham.

  

West Ham's long-suffering fans were given some relief from the club's problems in the Premiership courtesy of a 3-0 defeat of League One side Brighton. Goals from Mark Noble, Carlton Cole and Hayden Mullins completed a badly-needed morale-boosting win.

  

Bolton knocked four goals past League One Doncaster, with Kevin Davies, Andranik Teymourian and Idan Tal all finding the net.

 

Premiership outfits Fulham, Middlesbrough and Newcastle were all taken to replays, by Leicester, Hull and Birmingham respectively, while non-league interest in the competition came to an end with defeats for Tamworth and Aldershot.