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Exeter City overwhelmed by excellent Liverpool despite brave performance

Liverpool's Christian Benteke (right) and Exeter City's Christian Ribeiro battle for the ball during the Emirates FA Cup, third round replay at Anfield, Liverpool Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Images

Exeter City's hopes of a memorable cup upset against football giants Liverpool never materialised on a difficult night at Anfield.

Liverpool took an early lead in the tenth minute through Joe Allen after opening up the Grecians with a neat move involving Christian Benteke and Brad Smith.

Exeter clung on despite numerous shots on their goal until the 74th minute when Sheyi Ojo was afforded too much space and curled a brilliant strike into the top corner.

Joao Teixeira added a third for Liverpool on the break to finish off a decent night for Liverpool and a disappointing one for Paul Tisdale's players.

But there will be plenty of memories to take for both Grecian players and fans from two entertaining games against one of the biggest teams in the country.

Liverpool's Kevin Stewart (right) and Exeter City's Jordan Moore-Taylor battle for the ball during the Emirates FA Cup, third round replay at Anfield, Liverpool Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Images

It was backs-to-the-wall stuff for Exeter from the beginning as Liverpool took control.

They were good value for their early lead as Brad Smith exchanged passes with Christian Benteke on the left-hand-side before squaring back to Joe Allen to slide home from 6 yards out.

It was a particularly well-worked move to open up the Grecians and from then on they were always fighting a losing battle.

Jurgen Klopp and Paul Tisdale Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Images

Liverpool continued to dominate throughout the first half, with Christian Benteke heading a decent chance over the bar before Cameron Brannagan tested Bobby Olejnik in the Exeter goal.

Olejnik was in inspired-form in the first half, saving from Jordan Ibe's long-range effort and twice sliding out bravely to claim the ball at Liverpool feet.

The half-time shot count summed up Liverpool's dominance. While the home team had 13 shots on goal, Exeter were still to register one.

Bobby Olejnik was in inspired form for Exeter, responding well to constant Liverpool attacks. Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Images

Paul Tisdale made two half-time changes, bringing on top goalscorer Tom Nichols for Clinton Morrison and striker Will Hoskins for defender Danny Butterfield.

The break looked to have brought some new energy to Exeter who made a decent start to the second half with Alex Nicholls firing well wide after good work from his namesake Tom.

But Liverpool reminded Exeter of their threat almost instantly as winger Jordan Ibe smashed a powerful shot onto the underside of the Exeter bar.

It was a big reprieve for Paul Tisdale's side as replays showed the ball was just inches from crossing the line.

Sheyi Ojo celebrates Liverpool's second. Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Images

The game became more stretched as Exeter began to gamble in the hope of forcing an equaliser. Will Hoskins came closest when his header landed straight in the arms of Simon Mignolet in the Liverpool goal.

But at the other end Liverpool looked increasingly dangerous and eventually found a telling second goal to finish the game.

After picking up the ball on the edge of the area Sheyi Ojo was afforded a little too much space by Craig Woodman and he punished him, curling a deft strike into the top corner.

Six minutes later Liverpool had their third with the otherwise disappointing Benteke setting up Joao Teixeira to fire home from 12 yards and finish off the Grecians once and for all.

But although their efforts were ultimately unrewarded Exeter have plenty to be proud of - especially a 2-2 draw at St James Park a few weeks ago that will live long in the memory.

Liverpool's Carlos Teixeira celebrates Liverpool's third goal as Exeter's tired players realise the game is up. Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Images

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