Liverpool cruised into the League Cup third round with a 3-1 win over minnows Exeter City, inspired by Uruguay international striker Luis Suarez.
Kenny Dalglish’s team were playing in the second round of the competition for the first time since 1999 following a rare failure to qualify for any European event.
But the seven-time League Cup winners were never in danger of crashing to a embarrassing defeat at St James’ Park as goals from Luiz Suarez, Maxi Rodriguez and Andy Carroll gave Dalglish his 200th win in all competitions over two spells as Liverpool boss.
“We won because we approached the game properly. The most pleasing thing was the attitude of the players,” Dalglish said.
Dalglish also confirmed Raul Meireles has damaged his collarbone and will be out for several weeks.
“I don’t know how serious it is, but it’ll be a few weeks,” he added.
Dalglish made eight changes but the Reds took the lead in the 23rd minute when Artur Krysiak could only tip Jordan Henderson’s cross to Suarez, who volleyed home despite Richard Duffy’s attempt to clear.
Rodriguez got the second goal when he converted a Suarez pass in the 55th minute and substitute Andy Carroll scored from the edge of the area three minutes later.
Exeter grabbed a consolation goal in the 80th minute when Martin Skrtel tripped Daniel Nardiello and the striker picked himself up to score the resulting penalty.