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Derby fear Anfield mauling

Derby fear Anfield mauling

By Richard Bright
Last Updated: 2:00am BST 30/08/2007

Billy Davies claims his Derby side are "cutting their own throats" with their defensive deficiencies and insists it is a problem they must address before their Barclays Premier League trip to Liverpool on Saturday.

Derby's woeful start to the season continued on Tuesday as they went out of the Carling Cup to Championship newcomers Blackpool on penalties at Pride Park.

Davies accused his side of "naivety" and "schoolboy errors" after they twice allowed the visitors back into the second-round tie with late, headed goals.

Losing goals at crucial times has been a recurring theme for Davies' side. They conceded inside the opening couple of minutes on their way to league defeats against both Tottenham and Birmingham.

The Scot insists Derby must buck the trend in time for their trip to Anfield this weekend or face the possibility of a heavy defeat.

"The mistakes that we are making and the lack of concentration and switching off at crucial times is mind blowing. The players are cutting their own throats," Davies said.

"We can't afford to keep making the mistakes we are making and it is a situation we have got to learn from quickly.

"We can't go to a place like Anfield and be so naive because if we do Liverpool are the sort of team that will punish you severely."

Reading manager Steve Coppell admits he is "a little bit bemused" by his team's poor disciplinary record this season. Reading are just five league and cup games into the campaign, but have picked up three red cards and 14 yellows.

Defender Sam Sodje became the latest to see red in the Carling Cup second-round victory over Swansea.

Sodje, who could be a Sheffield Wednesday player by the end of this week, was sent off for two yellow cards that meant Reading faced the final 32 minutes - and then extra time - with 10 men.

Striker Leroy Lita's neat 105th-minute finish ensured they left South Wales with a 1-0 win and a place in round three, but Coppell is concerned about the flurry of cards.

He said: "I have been amazingly proud of our disciplinary record, and yet five games into this season we've had three sendings-off.

"I am a little bemused by it. I always like to say we are competitive, but we are not a dirty side. I try to bite my tongue sometimes because I don't like complaining about referees.

"I just felt we were on the wrong end of quite a few decisions. Sodje's hardly made a tackle."

Talking about Sodje's possible loan move Coppell added: "It is ongoing. It should be sorted out over the next 24 hours. I don't know how it will work out. Any move has got to be something that is attractive to him."

The Reading manager, who rested Kevin Doyle, was also delighted to have Lita back in tandem with Dave Kitson, who was sent off on the opening day of the season against Manchester United, receiving a three-match ban.

Coppell said: "It is nice to have Lita back. Both him and Kitson did terrifically well to come through it.

"In everything we did, I thought we showed our desire to be in the next round. I know people criticise what I do in cup competitions with changing the players around, but we always want to go through. We were playing against a very good side."


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