Liverpool just managed to shade Conference league side Mansfield Town 2-1 en route to a spot in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Minnows Mansfield fought valiantly but were undone by some below par refereeing as Luis Suarez dispatched the ball into the net after clearly using his hand.
Earlier, Daniel Sturridge scored on debut for the Reds before Suarez got the visitor’s second goal just when Mansfield looked the more likely to score.
Matt Green pulled one back for the hosts in the 79th minute and they pushed Liverpool relentlessly until the final whistle but could not force a replay.
Sturridge made a dream start in Liverpool colours as he opened his account in the seventh minute after tearing past the opposition centre backs and cooley slotting home.
Jonjo Shelvey provided the telling pass on that occasion and continued to threaten throughout but Sturridge proved very wasteful in front of goal following his clinical strike for the goal.
After the break Mansfield came out all guns blazing and will feel they should have had a penalty when Jamie Carragher appeared to handle Green’s shot.
Towering defender Exodus Geohaghon caused the Liverpool backline all sorts of problems with his long throw capabilities but the visitors were able to scramble the ball away nervously on a few occasions.
At the other end a handball again went unnoticed as Suarez saw his shot saved by Alan Marriott only to control the rebound with his arm and deposit the ball into the net before kissing his hand in celebration to reaffirm his status as one of football’s most hated figures.
Shelvey should probably have had the Reds’ third but volleyed wide where after the game turned firmly in favour of the Stags.
Green got Mansfield a deserved goal in the 79th minute when he powered home a loose ball after Liverpool failed to clear their lines.
The heavy underdogs were relentless in trying to find an equaliser with Green again going close as Liverpool camped in front of their own goalmouth and saw out the game.