Rafa Benitez opted to rest Pepe Reina in goal, and with Glen Johnson, Albert Riera, Martin Kelly and Nabil El Zahr out injured, and Javier Mascherano suspended, there were starts for Philipp Degen and Alberto Aquilani.
Fernando Torres picked up a knock to his knee early on and was replaced by David Ngog. The substitution looked more precautionary than anything though and he should be fit for next week’s big Premier League clash against Spurs.
After a lacklustre first half, the Reds were fortunate to going into the half-time break leading, with Reading having the better of the chances.
But on the stroke of half-time Steven Gerrard played a one-two with David Ngog and his cross accross goal with cruely turned into his own net by Ryan Bertrand.
But the relief that mounted round Anfield at half-time did nothing to inspire any resurgance in the second half from the Reds, who emerged for the second half minus Gerrard, who was replaced by Ryan Babel.
Liverpool were punished for their lack of creativity and not getting a second to seal the game when Shane Long was clipped by Yossi Benayoun just inside the penalty area to earn Reading a penalty in the second minute of injury time. Gylfi Sigurdsson stepped up and calmly slotted past Cavalieri to send the game into extra time.
Ten minutes into the second half and Liverpool found themselves behind. Long turning a header in in front of the Kop with too much ease as frustrations mounted further around an increasingly impatient Anfield.
Team Line-ups and Substitutions
Liverpool: Cavalieri, Agger, Insua, Carragher, Degen (Skrtel 90), Aquilani, Gerrard (Babel 46), Benayoun, Lucas, Torres (Ngog 29), Kuyt.
Subs not used: Gulacsi, Aurelio, Spearing, Pacheco.
Reading: Federici, Mills, Ingimarsson, Bertrand, Cisse (Howard 59), Gunnarsson, McAnuff, Karacan (Long 81), Sigurdsson, Church, Rasiak (Kebe 65).
Subs not used: Hamer, Pearce, Tabb, Matejovsky.