Steven Gerrard may have failed with his third penalty at Old Trafford but 27 years ago Jan Molby did managed to score a hat trick of penalties in a League Cup 4th round replay with Coventry.
The Reds had drawn 0-0 at Highfield Road a week earlier in front of a capacity crowd of nearly 27,000, but Anfield was less than half full for this replay, which took place on 26th November 1986. With the Reds again failing to find the net in the league against Everton on the Sunday, player manager Kenny Dalglish dropped Paul Walsh and recalled himself to the starting line-up. Ex Reds reserve keeper Steve Ogrizovic was in goal for Coventry, who also had Micky Adams and Cyrille Regis in their starting eleven.
It took just four minutes for Liverpool to get ahead, Dalglish playing the ball into the area where Ian Rush was brought down by Steve Sedgeley. Molby stepped forward and coolly despatched the ball to Ogrizovic’s left as he dived to the right. It was the big Dane’s seventh goal of the season and the sixth from the penalty spot.
Dalglish’s decision to restore himself to the team was certainly paying dividends and he was a constant menace to Coventry’s defence in the first half. He had a shot ricochet into the keeper’s hands and then crossed dangerously for Rush, whose effort was blocked as was that of Steve Nicol who the ball had then rebounded to.
Dalglish then had a hand in the second penalty in the 39th minute when he collected a pass from Molby before laying it back off to him. As Molby surged into the area he was blocked by Lloyd McGrath and referee George Curtis pointed to the spot. The kick was a carbon copy of he first one, Ogrizovic diving to his right but seeing the ball go to his left.
On the hour Coventry pulled one back when played the ball forward to Dave Bennett who shook off the challenge of Mark Lawrenson to fire the ball past Bruce Grobbelaar from the edge of the area. The goal was very much against the tun of play against a Reds side who had been strolling and it was enough to make the crowd nervous for a while. Coventry suddenly found some momentum and pushed the Reds into their own half, but they were unable to convert this possession into meaningful chances.
With eighteen minutes left Liverpool were given another penalty when Lawrenson played a clever ball into the path of Rush and he was bundled over by Sedgely as he got ready to shoot. Once again, Molby stepped forward and placed the ball to Ogrizovic’s left, with the keeper diving right for the third time.
The win set up a quarter final with Everton at Goodison, where Ian Rush scored the only goal of the game. A semi final victory over Southampton followed but the Reds were then beaten 2-1 by Arsenal in the final, the first time that Ian Rush had scored for the club and ended up on the losing side.