TOPOFTHE SPOTS; Deadly duo prove to be pen masters.
MERSEYSIDE'S penalty prize guys endured mixed fortunes on Sunday.
While Leighton Baines' successful spot-kick set the seal on Everton's fifth round defeat of Swansea, Steven Gerrard's clinical effort became something of an afterthought in the furore which surrounded another spot-kick which wasn't given.
But the strikes underlined that both Everton and Liver pool have players who are supremely reliable when it matters most from 12 yar ds.
Skipper Gerrard's spot kick on Sunday was his 45th for the club - only Phil Neal has taken more - and while a handful of misses early on in his career have lowered his all-round ratio, he has conver ted 27 of his last 30.
And that impressive tally includes high pressure kicks against Arsenal in the quarter-final of the Champions League, at Old Trafford in the heat of a Premier League title race and one in a Europa League decider against Napoli.
Most penalty records, unfairly, fail to include penalty shoot-outs - probably the most pressurised environment of them all in which to stare down a goalkeeper from 12 yards. And while Gerrard missed against Cardiff in the League Cup final, he did score in a League Cup shoot-out against Ipswich, the FA Cup final against West Ham and Chelsea in the semi-final shoot-out of the 2007 Champions League.
Leighton Baines, meanwhile, has taken only a third as many kicks as his cross-city rival - but he has missed one of his 16 - and a very large percentage have been late deciders.
His first spot-kick for Everton was a 92nd minute winner against his old club Wigan, the next was in the 90th minute against Carlisle and subsequent kicks included an 82nd minute leveller against Aston Villa, a 78th minute point saver at Wigan, an 83rd minute winner against Wolves and an 87th equaliser at Wigan.
Even this season his first penalty kick of the campaign was an added time point saver at Stoke City.
His only miss came in a League Cup tie at home to Chelsea - which means he is currently the only Premier League footballer who have taken more than 10 kicks, to boast a 100 per cent record in league action (11 out of 11).
And while he missed in a penalty shoot-out in an FA Cup tie at Chelsea in 2011, a match in which his sublime late free-kick actually took the match into extra time, he also scored in a League Cup tie at Brentford and at Wembley in the FA Cup semi-final victory over Manchester United.
The bottom line is, Merseyside can boast two men with very reliable records from 12 yards.
BAINES' PENALTY RECORD SCORED Wigan Athletic 30.8.09 2-1 Premier League SCORED Carlise United 02.01.10 3-1 FA Cup (below) SCORED Aston Villa 02.04.11 2-2 Premier League SCORED Blackburn Rovers 16.04 2-0 Premier League SCORED Wigan Athletic 30.04.11 1-1 Premier League SCORED A Villa 10.09.11 2-2 Premier League (below) MISSED Chelsea 26.10.11 1-2 League Cup SCORED Wolves 19.11.11 2-1 Premier League SCORED Sunderland 26.12.11 1-1 Premier League SCORED Tamworth 07.01.12 2-0 FA Cup SCORED Wigan 06.10.12 2-2 Premier League (below) SCORED Cheltenham 07.01.13 5-1 FA Cup SCORED West Bromwich Albion 30.01.13 2-1 Premier League SCORED Oldham Athletic 26.02.13 3-1 FA Cup SCORED Stoke City 01.01.14 1-1 Premier League (below) SCORED Swansea City 16.02.14 3-1 FA Cup 16 in total: Scored 15 Missed 1.
SPOT THE STATS...
? LEIGHTON Baines boasts the Premier League's only 100 per cent record in league games.
Mathew Le Tissier missed just one of his 26 - and with cup ties included boasted the phenomenal record of 48 successful kicks from 49. His only miss came when Nottingham Forest keeper Mark Crossley saved from him on March 24, 1993.
? OTHER players to boast a near perfect penalty record in Premier League action were: Danny Murphy 18 from 19; James Beattie 16 from 17; Julian Dicks 15 from 16; Thierry Henry 23 from 25; Frank Leboeuf 10 from 11; Gary Speed 10 from 11; Peter Beardsley 18 from 20; Emmanuel Adebayor nine from 10.
? JAN MOLBY has scored the most penalty kicks in Anfield history. David Unsworth is the most prolific from 12 yards for the Blues.
But which Mersey marksmen boast the best ratio from the penalty spot? Below is our top 12 from both sides of Stanley Park (only players who have taken 10 penalties or more are included).
GERRARD'S PENALTY RECORD SCORED 30.11.03 3-1 Birmingham City Premier League (below) MISSED 17.04.04 0-0 Fulham Premier League MISSED 16.04.05 2-2 Tottenham Premier League SCORED 26.07.05 3-1 FBK Kaunas Champions L. 2nd. QR. 1st leg SCORED 05.11.05 2-0 Aston Villa Premier League (above) SCORED 02.01.06 2-2 Bolton Wanderers Premier League SCORED 29.01.06 2-1 Portsmouth FA Cup 4th round (below) MISSED 14.02.06 1-0 Arsenal Premier League MISSED 09.12.06 4-0 Fulham Premier League SCORED 18.04.07 2-0 Middlesbrough Premier League (below) SCORED 10.11.07 2-0 Fulham Premier League SCORED 28.11.07 4-1 Porto Champions L. 1st Group Ph.
SCORED 02.12.07 4-0 Bolton Wanderers Premier League MISSED 11.12.07 4-0 Marseille Champions L. 1st Group Ph.
SCORED 02.02.08 3-0 Sunderland Premier League SCORED 08.04.08 4-2 Arsenal CL Quarter-final 2nd leg (below) SCORED 16.09.08 2-1 Marseille Champions L. 1st Group Ph.
SCORED 29.10.08 1-0 Portsmouth Premier League SCORED 04.11.08 1-1 Atletico Madrid Champions L. 1st Group Ph.
SCORED 10.03.09 4-0 Real Madrid CL 1st knockout r. 2nd leg SCORED d 14.03.09 4-1 Manchester United Premier League SCORED 22.03.09 5-0 Aston Villa PremierSCORED 22.03.09 5-0 Aston Villa Premier League MISSED 09.05.09 3-0 West Ham United Premier League SCORED 16.08.09 1-2 Tottenham Premier League SCORED 09.11.09 2-2 Birmingham City Premier League SCORED 18.03.10 3-0 Lille Europa League of 16 (left) SCORED 05.08.10 2-0 Rabotnicki Europa League 3QR 2L SCORED 19.09.10 2-3 Manchester United Premier League SCORED 04.11.10 3-1 Napoli Europa League GS MISSED 05.01.11 1-3 Blackburn Rovers Premier League SCORED 06.01.12 5-1 Oldham Athletic FA Cup 3rd round SCORED 11.01.12 1-0 Manchester City League Cup Semi-final 1L (left) SCORED 25.01.12 2-2 Manchester City League Cup Semi-final 2L SCORED 26.12.12 1-3 Stoke City Premier League MISSED 11.02.13 0-2 WBA Premier League SCORED 17.02.13 5-0 Swansea City Premier League SCORED 10.03.13 3-2 Tottenham Premier League SCORED 31.03.13 2-1 Aston Villa Premier League SCORED 05.10.13 3-1 Crystal Palace Premier League (left) SCORED 19.10.13 2-2 Newcastle United Premier League SCORED 12.01.14 5-3 Stoke City Premier League SCORED 18.01.14 2-2 Aston Villa Premier League SCORED 12.02.14 3-2 Fulham Premier League SCORED 16.02.14 1-2 Arsenal FA Cup 45 in total: Scored 37, Missed 8.
COOL HEADS: Steven Gerrard and (below) Leighton Baines scored from the spot again at the weekend