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Alan Pardew's dream of reprising a celebrated 25-year-old FA Cup triumph was scuppered by Liverpool as the seven-times champions came from behind to book a place in the quarter-finals with a 2-1 win at Crystal Palace on Saturday.
This year's shock-laden competition had continued with second-tier Blackburn Rovers' 4-1 thrashing of Premier League Stoke City.
Yet Liverpool were determined not to become the latest illustrious victims as two second-half goals in nine minutes from England internationals Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana turned their fifth round tie around.
At Selhurst Park, the home fans had unveiled a vast banner of Palace manager Pardew in his playing heyday when the midfielder's most famous goal had knocked out the then mighty Liverpool in the 1990 Cup semi-final.
Once Frazier Campbell had put Palace ahead after 15 minutes, it even seemed as if their new boss might pen another high-flying Eagles' story.
But a volleyed strike from Sturridge after a perfect chipped cross from Jordan Henderson four minutes after the break - a goal described by Pardew as "almost unstoppable" - levelled affairs.
Then substitute Mario Balotelli, who scored his first Premier League goal for Liverpool in midweek and again made an impact here after coming on at half time, both earned a free kick and then struck it fiercely through Palace's defensive wall.
Goalkeeper Julian Speroni could only parry it, allowing the alert Lallana to swoop and sweep in the rebound.
"We changed it around at half time and it worked quite well," Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers told BT Sport. "We had to show character and the character in the team has been immense in the last few months."
Even Pardew, with his big day ruined, conceded that the best team had prevailed. "I'm not too disappointed but I do think it is an opportunity missed. Liverpool had a grip of the game from the off. I think they deserved to win."
Earlier, record signing Brown Ideye scored twice as West Bromwich Albion also progressed to the quarter-finals with an emphatic 4-0 victory against West Ham United at the Hawthorns.
So it was left to Championship side Blackburn to follow up the fourth round shocks, which saw Chelsea beaten by Bradford and Manchester City defeated by Middlesbrough, with a Josh King hat-trick inspiring their win over Stoke.
Peter Crouch gave Stoke a 10th minute lead but Blackburn restored parity with King's header after 36 minutes.
After Stoke's Geoff Cameron was dismissed for a last-man tackle, Rudy Gestede gave Blackburn the lead on the verge of halftime.
King fired home his second and Blackburn's third in the 50th minute before he raced clear of a lumbering Stoke defensive line to complete his hat-trick in the 55th minute.
Nigerian Ideye, signed from Dynamo Kiev in July but yet to shine, applied a simple finish to give West Brom a 20th-minute lead against West Ham and James Morrison added a second before the break with a stunning long-range strike.
Ideye headed his second in the 57th minute and Saido Berahino completed the rout with his fifth goal in three FA Cup appearances this year after West Ham substitute Morgan Amalfitano, brought on in the 60th minute, was dismissed for a poor challenge and a shove to the face of Chris Brunt.
Reading joined Blackburn as the other non-Premier League team in the last eight so far with a 2-1 defeat of fellow Championship side Derby County.
Liverpool are among the Premier League's 'big three' now most fancied to lift the trophy, with favourites Arsenal hosting Championship hopefuls Middlesbrough on Sunday and Manchester United visiting third tier Preston North End on Monday.
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