Preston North End 0 - 2 Liverpool

Liverpool made hard work of their Third Round tie with Preston North End at Deepdale but are through thanks to goals from Spanish pair Albert Riera and Fernando Torres.

After Albert Riera had given Liverpool an 25th-minute lead with a screaming left-foot drive, it looked as if Rafael Benitez's team would go on and rack up a few goals but Preston, twice winners of the world-famous Cup competition, stormed back and gave the Premier League leaders a real scare in the last half-hour of the match. The game missed out on an obligatory FA Cup romance story after former Liverpool striker Neil Mellor was substituted in the second half, but Preston were intent on making the headlines with their quality of football alone. Sean St Ledger ran away in celebration with 17 minutes to go, believing he had equalised, but Preston's celebrations were cut short when Jon Parkin was spotted by the linesman pulling Jamie Carragher to the ground on the goalline.

Liverpool breathed a sigh of relief and Benitez decided to bring on Fernando Torres in a bid to kill off the match. He showed touches of the brilliance that has made him a favourite with the Liverpool faithful since his move from Atletico Madrid in 2007, while Steven Gerrard had a couple of attempts from distance. But in truth, they failed to match their first half dominance as Preston began piling forward in search of the elusive equaliser.

With seconds left on the clock, however, Liverpool broke free with Gerrard and Torres racing into the Preston half unmarked. The England midfielder carried the ball into the area with only Lonergan to beat and squared for his team mate to slide home his first ever FA Cup goal. Liverpool deserved their win but will know they were made to fight by Irvine's men for a place in the hat for Sunday's draw.

Preston North End 0 - 2 Liverpool Highlights

Arsenal 3 - 1 Plymouth Argyle

Arsenal made a winning start to 2009 as Robin Van Persie took the armband in the absence of Fabregas and Almunia and drove his side into the Fourth Round.

The Dutchman scored twice, including a rare header, and also played his part in creating Arsenal's other goal as they were pushed all the way by a spirited Plymouth side. Clearly Arsene Wenger's half-time words resonated with his players as captain Van Persie scored within seconds of the restart, heading home from a Samir Nasri corner. Within four minutes the lead was doubled as Van Persie was again heavily involved as the Dutchman's cross was turned into his own net by David Gray.

Samir Nasri came close to grabbing a third goal with five minutes remaining, the impressive Larrieu was caught out of goal and the French midfielder chipped a lofted effort that was cleared from the line. Moments later it was three and the captain was again the man on the scoresheet. Van Persie was played through by Ramsey and looked to lift the ball over the onrushing 'keeper, when Larrieu got a hand to the effort the Arsenal forward reacted quicker and smashed the ball home in off the bar.

Arsenal 3 - 1 Plymouth Argyle Highlights

Manchester City 0 - 3 Nottingham Forest

Second-tier strugglers Forest, who only appointed Billy Davies as their new manager on Friday, struck twice before half-time to pile the pressure on City boss Mark Hughes, who did the Midlands side the honour of playing a near full-strength side, even though Brazil midfielder Robinho was rested.

Nathan Tyson struck from outside the box in the 38th minute to put Forest, who have slipped down the standings since losing to Tottenham in the 1991 FA Cup final, ahead. And they were 2-0 up when Wales striker Robert Earnshaw scored from inside the six-yard box. Forest's victory was completed 15 minutes from time when Joe Garner seized on a poor City throw-in to lash the ball past Joe Hart.

Chelsea 1 - 1 Southend United

Southend also shocked one of English football's cash-rich teams in Chelsea by grabbing an injury-time equaliser in a 1-1 draw away to the League's second-placed side.

Southend held out for over half an hour at Stamford Bridge, before falling behind when Salomon Kalou headed in a Frank Lampard corner. However, the third-tier side drew level in the 90th minute as Peter Clarke marked his 27th birthday with a goal.

Other results;
January 2
Tottenham Hotspur 3 - 1 Wigan Athletic

January 3
Hartlepool United 2 - 0 Stoke City
Arsenal 3 - 1 Plymouth Argyle
Cardiff City 2 - 0 Reading
Charlton Athletic 1 - 1 Norwich City
Chelsea 1 - 1 Southend United
Coventry City 2 - 0 Kidderminster
Forest Green 3 - 4 Derby County
Hull City 0 - 0 Newcastle United
Ipswich T. 3 - 0 Chesterfield
Kettering 2 - 1 Eastwood Town
Leicester City 0 - 0 Crystal Palace
Macclesfield T. 0 - 1 Everton
Manchester City 0 - 3 Nottingham Forest
Middlesbrough 2 - 1 Barrow
Millwall 2 - 2 Crewe Alexandra
Portsmouth 0 - 0 Bristol City
Queens Park Rangers 0 - 0 Burnley
Sheffield Wednesday 1 - 2 Fulham
Sunderland 2 - 1 Bolton W.
Torquay United 1 - 0 Blackpool
Watford 1 - 0 Scunthorpe United
West Bromwich 1 - 1 Peterborough United
West Ham United 3 - 0 Barnsley
Preston North End 0 - 2 Liverpool

January 4
Gillingham ? - ? Aston Villa
Southampton ? - ? Manchester United


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