Friday, December 30, 2011

Liverpool 3 - 1 Newcastle

Returning skipper Steven Gerrard sealed victory over Newcastle following two Craig Bellamy goals as Liverpool rose to fifth in the Premier League.
Gerrard, who made his second appearance since returning from injury, capped a fine cameo when he tucked in late on.
Bellamy had earlier fired in a low shot to level after Daniel Agger diverted Ryan Taylor's cross past Pepe Reina.
And the former Magpie gave Liverpool the lead from a free-kick before Gerrard scored from a tight angle.
His goal was fully merited after a performance which invigorated Kenny Dalglish's side just as Newcastle were beginning to claw their way back into the contest.
The defeat for Newcastle means they have won once in their last eight league outings and perhaps it was a surprise that Liverpool had not added a third goal sooner, such was the quality of Gerrard's deliveries into the box.
But unfortunately for them, Andy Carroll had another night in which he failed to find the target despite crashing a header against the bar from a superb Gerrard centre as he extended his run without a goal to nine matches.
After a period in which Liverpool struggled to turn chances into goals and drew six of their nine games at Anfield, Gerrard's return following an ankle problem that had kept him out since October will have given them a huge lift as they embark on their quest for a Champions League spot.
And it will also give them hope that they can sustain that challenge should leading goalscorer Luis Suarez's eight-match ban for alleged racist comments towards Manchester United's Patrice Evra be upheld.
With the Uruguayan banned for making a gesture towards Fulham's fans in a separate incident, Bellamy took his place in the side and the Welshman was a constant threat down Liverpool's left as he looked to support lone striker Carroll, who was also up against his previous club.
Gerrard has scored seven goals in his last nine Premier League games against Newcastle United.
While the two former Magpies were full of endeavour, their willingness to be involved in the build-up meant there were several occasions when there was no-one in the box to finish their good work.
And in keeping with their promising season thus far, Newcastle withstood the early pressure to pounce from an isolated attack on 25 minutes.
Top scorer Demba Ba has lit up the Premier League this season with 14 goals in his last 13 games and his presence had a hand in the goal as Ryan Taylor's cross from the left was nodded on by Yohan Cabaye and with Ba in close quarters the ball diverted off Agger past Reina.
Having been on top up until that point, Liverpool were stung into life by that goal, although the visitors almost looked like they had cleared the danger.
Cheick Tiote cleared Charlie Adam's low cross from the right, but with men lined in front of goal, Bellamy found the bottom corner.
Dalglish's side pressed further after that and Martin Skrtel went close with a near-post header from a corner, with Adam also inches away from diverting it into the net.
That was enough for Dalglish to bring on Gerrard, and the Liverpool skipper was involved straight away on his 15th outing of 2011, twice picking out Carroll, with the striker being let down by a poor first touch on the second occasion when he was unmarked in the box.
Fortunately for him and Liverpool, they took the lead on 76 minutes though they were a tad lucky to be given a free-kick when Tiote challenged Agger.
Bellamy stepped up to curl a delicious free-kick in, but Danny Simpson made a real hash of defending the line by deflecting the ball past Tim Krul.
Newcastle came close to equalising soon after when Ba somehow clipped the ball past Reina from Cabaye's cute pass, with the French midfielder perhaps fortunate not to be punished for an earlier tackle on Jay Spearing, but Skrtel's goal-line clearance was equally impressive.
Carroll then smashed a header against the bar from Gerrard's cross, but the returning talisman showed his team-mate how to finish when he collected Jordan Henderson's through ball to finish from a tight angle.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Liverpool 1 - 1 Blackburn

Another DRAW result again!! Blackburn Rovers lifted the pressure on manager Steve Kean as they battled to a Boxing Day point against Liverpool at Anfield.
Kean has been subjected to fierce hostility from Rovers supporters and his time in charge looked to be coming to a close after successive home defeats by West Bromwich Albion and fellow strugglers Bolton.
But the Scot finally heard cheers from Blackburn fans as they produced a performance of real resilience to earn a draw and offer some light at the end of a very dark tunnel.
Charlie Adam's own goal gave the visitors the lead in first-half stoppage time before Maxi Rodriguez's equaliser early in the second period set the stage for a typical Anfield finale.
For Liverpool, this was another bitter Anfield disappointment to add to previous draws against Sunderland, Norwich City and Swansea.
And for all the money Dalglish has lavished on his strike force, the grim statistics read the Reds have failed to score two goals at home since the victory against Wolves in September.
Liverpool's supporters spent the early stages noisily registering their support for Luis Suarez after he was handed an eight-match ban and fined £40,000 by the FA after being found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra.
The Uruguayan responded with a typically energetic first-half display that brought a succession of attempts on goal but none that tested Bunn.
Liverpool came closest to breaking through Blackburn's disciplined ranks after 26 minutes when Carroll had a chance six yards out but was blocked by the diving Bunn.
With the interval approaching and a growing sense of frustration inside a subdued Anfield, Rovers took a shock lead when Adam deflected Morten Gamst Pedersen's corner beyond the reach of home goalkeeper Pepe Reina at the near post.
The Reds emerged after the break in the manner of a side stung by the words of their manager and responded with an equaliser eight minutes after the restart. Defender Skrtel was the creator, lofting the ball to the far post where Maxi rose unmarked to head in.
Rovers were penned back in front of the Kop and Dalglish decided to introduce talisman Gerrard for the tiring Adam to push for the victory.
It has been a rearguard action for Kean's men, but with 12 minutes left Blackburn created, and wasted, their best opportunity. Dunn won possession and weaved his way into the area only to shoot wide.
Carroll had not had many opportunities to make his mark, but he was only inches away with header as Bunn stood rooted to the spot.
Gerrard then played in Stewart Downing on the angle, but his side-foot effort was too close to Bunn and he was able to claim comfortably. Downing's header brought another save from Bunn after he was picked out by Craig Bellamy, on as substitute for Maxi, at the far post.
In a grandstand finish, Bunn and Henley emerged as Blackburn's heroes to finally give Kean some respite from his troubles.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wigan 0 - 0 Liverpool

Ali Al-Habsi saved a Charlie Adam penalty and made a string of other fine saves to help Wigan hold Liverpool to a point at the DW Stadium.
Luis Suarez won the second-half penalty when his overhead kick was handled by Gary Caldwell.
Dirk Kuyt also went close but he fired over from just six yards out.
Wigan played their part in a pulsating encounter and Hugo Rodallega could have snatched all three points with a header in the closing stages.
Liverpool enjoyed the best chances throughout, but their wastefulness in front of goal cost them victory in an open game that was theirs for the taking.
Wigan's footballing principles are laudable and this draw, coupled with the point picked up against Chelsea in their last outing, can give them plenty of confidence in their latest relegation battle.
During the pre-match warm-up, Liverpool's players joined manager Kenny Dalglish in sporting t-shirts with an image of Luis Suarez printed on the front.
The Uruguay forward has been banned for eight games and fined £40,000 by the FA for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra at Anfield on 15 October.
The striker started the game - the suspension does not start until the appeal process is over - and was cheered and jeered in equal measure by the rival sets of supporters.
And while Liverpool dominated in the opening half hour, Suarez was not the chief threat as he struggled to get into his stride.
It mattered very little while his team-mates were in such free-flowing form, with Al-Habsi making good saves from Jordan Henderson, Martin Skrtel, Dirk Kuyt and Glen Johnson before the home side finally broke into life.
While Wigan's slick passing game was getting them into trouble at the back, they were exciting in the final third and Roberto Martinez's side almost scored two goal-of-the-season contenders.
First, Mohamed Diame cracked a shot into the side-netting from 40 yards out and then Victor Moses embarked on an amazing run from his own half which only ended when his swerving shot was beaten clear by Jose Reina.
Suarez was brighter in the second half and had a free-kick tipped over the bar by Al-Habsi.
And he won a penalty in the 50th minute when his overhead effort was blocked by the hand of Caldwell.
Adam stepped up, but his spot-kick was spectacularly saved by Al-Habsi.
That appeared to knock the stuffing out of the visitors, who struggled to regroup.
However, they should have gone into the lead when Kuyt hooked over from just six yards out.
Wigan did enjoy good chances of their own, most notably when Rodallega's header was deflected behind by Johnson before Moses stabbed wide from the resulting corner.
But the points were destined to be shared, meaning it is now three games unbeaten for the ever-improving Latics, while Liverpool may live to rue two dropped points in the race for European qualification.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Aston Villa 0 - 2 Liverpool

Craig Bellamy inspired Liverpool to their fifth away league win of the season by scoring one goal and creating another in the space of four minutes.
The former Manchester City man fired home from close range after Jonjo Shelvey's clever flick created the opening from Stewart Downing's corner.
Bellamy then swung in a 15th-minute corner for Martin Skrtel to head home.
Charles N'Zogbia's effort in the first half was the closest Aston Villa came as they slumped to their fifth defeat.
Villa's final-day win over Liverpool at the end of last season was their first in 13 attempts but with the Reds having only one defeat in their 10 previous games before this visit, it was always going to be tough for the hosts.
And Alex McLeish's side's task was made even harder as a sluggish start saw them two down after only 15 minutes.
Downing, making his first visit to Villa Park since his £20m move in the summer to Anfield, squandered an early chance to a chorus of sarcastic cheers from the home faithful.
However, the Villa fans were soon silenced when Downing whipped in a corner that Shelvey diverted goalwards.
Luis Suarez attempted a trick of his own that Guzan blocked but Villa's second-choice keeper could do nothing to deny Bellamy smashing home.
Liverpool have the best defensive record in the top flight, conceding only 13 goals and keeping six clean sheets
Four minutes later, Skrtel grabbed his second goal of the season to double the visitors' advantage with Bellamy turning provider with a pacey corner that the Slovakian defender rose above Alan Hutton to head in.
With Gabriel Agbonlahor suspended and Darren Bent a late withdrawal because of injury, McLeish was missing his two top scorers and it was obvious as they created little in a first half that Liverpool dominated.
N'Zogbia was the one bright spark for the home side as he fired over just before the half-hour mark before hitting another effort into the side-netting soon after.
Bellamy continued to prosper after the restart as he crossed for Daniel Agger but the defender headed wide despite being unmarked at the back post.
Suarez, who was cleared to play after the outcome of disciplinary hearing on Friday was delayed, had a relatively quiet first half but he almost made it three with a move of real class.
The former Ajax forward was played through on goal and he beat both Richard Dunne and James Collins before rattling his effort off the underside of the crossbar.
That was the 16th time Liverpool have hit the woodwork this season and Suarez added the 17th just before the hour.
The Uruguayan found himself on the edge of the area with limited options his deft chip beat Guzan but not the post.
Charlie Adam then had a chance when he waltzed into the area but, with Shelvey in the clear to his left, the Scottish midfielder opted for a shot and it was deflected wide.
It would not prove costly, however, as McLeish's side failed to create another real chance and Dalglish got his first win away at Villa as Liverpool manager on his seventh attempt.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Liverpool 1 - 0 QPR

Luis Suarez's goal was his fifth in the league for Liverpool this season
Luis Suarez scored the only goal against QPR as a dominant Liverpool avoided a fifth successive home draw and climbed to sixth in the table.
QPR kept the hosts out until 69 seconds into the second half when an unmarked Suarez headed in Charlie Adam's cross.
It was Suarez's first league goal since netting against Everton on 1 October - and comes in the week he was charged by the Football Association for a hand gesture made towards Fulham fans.
Radek Cerny made several superb saves.
But his team rarely threatened, except from corners, and almost conceded an own goal when Shaun Wright-Phillips hit the bar late on.
Uruguayan Suarez, 24, had scored five goals for his country since his last Premier League strike.
But he has consistently been in the headlines as he faces a second FA charge relating to an alleged racial slur against Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.
If the win kept Liverpool on the fringes of the race for the Champions League places, it also left nagging doubts about their stuttering home form, which has seen them draw with both title-chasing Manchester clubs but also Sunderland and the two sides promoted with QPR - Norwich and Swansea.
The game, and particularly the opening 45 minutes, gave a taster of why Kenny Dalglish's side have drawn so often this season and failed to secure more points at Anfield.
Liverpool dominated possession, won 10 corners, and created a reasonable number of chances - but rarely forced Cerny into serious action.
Maxi Rodriguez was the man most frequently denied by the Czech keeper but, in truth, he should have scored after he was sent clear by Dirk Kuyt's perceptive pass Cerny got down quickly to make a one-handed save from the Argentine's shot.
Just before the interval, Cerny's decision to stand up until the last possible moment proved the right one as Suarez tried to chip the ball into the net from an acute angle and the keeper palmed the ball away.
In first-half stoppage time he then moved quickly to his left to gather a Stewart Downing shot as QPR saw out the first phase of their containment operation at Anfield.
Suarez had frequently glimpsed goal in the first half but was unable to capitalise on his prodigious work-rate and unerring ability to find space.
He sent a free header straight at Cerny early on, miscued after being teed up by Maxi, and ended the half allowing the ball to flash past him, possibly due to a misunderstanding with Daniel Agger, who was in close proximity.
However all QPR's good work went to waste in the second minute after the restart when Suarez was left unmarked and the Uruguayan guided his header into the corner of the net from the edge of the six-yard box.
QPR then lost Anton Ferdinand through injury but the visitors - Cerny in particular - continued to frustrate Liverpool.
The Rangers keeper threw himself to his left to tip Maxi's shot on to the post and then bravely denied the same player after the Argentine completed a one-two with Suarez.
With the clock running down, QPR forced a flurry of corners, one of which Reina was forced to clear from almost under his bar.
Liverpool might have had a second goal in stoppage time when Wright-Phillips almost scored an own goal as his defensive clearance from a Craig Bellamy centre hit the underside of the Rangers bar.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Fulham 1 - 0 Liverpool

Clint Dempsey's late winner gave Fulham victory against 10-man Liverpool in the Premier League and ended the visitors' hopes of a seventh away win in a row.
The visitors saw Jay Spearing dismissed after 71 minutes when he won the ball but then clattered into Moussa Dembele.
Liverpool were punished in the 85th minute as Dempsey finished after Jose Reina spilled Danny Murphy's strike.
Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing's shots against the woodwork meant that Liverpool have hit it 12 times this season - at least fives times more than any other Premier League team
Jay Spearing became the third Liverpool player to see red this season in the Premier League - with all having been in London
Exactly half of Fulham's 14 Premier League matches this season have been goalless at half-time, more than any other club.
Fulham had failed to win any of their last seven Premier League matches in which the half-time score was goalless.
The sending off was crucial to the outcome and was a controversial one as Spearing got the ball. However, he followed through and caught Dembele, meaning that the Liverpool midfielder was always in danger of getting a red card.
His dismissal meant that a game that had been even swung in favour of Fulham and Liverpool's resistance was broken when Reina made a bad error, having produced several important saves beforehand.
The result meant that Fulham won for only the second time in nine league games at Craven Cottage, moving them up to 13th in the table, and it did little to change Liverpool's reputation as a side that unduly struggles against lesser sides.
The visitors were facing up to life without their influential defensive midfielder Lucas Leiva - ruled out with a knee injury for the rest of the season - and Spearing was the man drafted in to replace him.
Both goalkeepers were forced into early saves with Reina the first to be called into action as he saved Dembele's side-footed effort before Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer kept out a 10-yard snapshot from Andy Carroll.
Reina was then forced to keep out long-range efforts from Dembele and Dempsey, but Henderson's quick thinking almost gave Liverpool a 28th-minute lead as he cut inside and unleashed a curling strike that struck a post.
Luiz Suarez fired wide for the visitors but Fulham finished the first half strongly as Dempsey again tested Reina from distance before firing a shot off target.
The momentum swung again after the break as Liverpool piled on the pressure with a Jose Enrique volley from 30 yards being palmed out by Schwarzer.
Kenny Dalglish's side had a penalty appeal denied after a brisk counter-attack ended with Charlie Adam being brought down by Philippe Senderos, but the Swiss defender was adjudged to have been outside the box when he pulled back the Scottish international.
Liverpool kept pushing hard. Craig Bellamy dragged a shot wide from Glen Johnson's pass and Suarez had a strike ruled out for offside, but the Merseyside club's hopes took a huge blow when Spearing was shown his straight red on 71 minutes, playing the ball first but then making heavy contact with Dembele.
Dempsey was inches away from scoring in the 81st minute, hitting the bar after cutting inside in similar fashion to Henderson earlier, and Fulham gained late momentum, with Dembele forcing a save from Reina and also shooting wide.
Liverpool could have snatched a goal themselves as Downing surged forward and forced Schwarzer to push the ball on to the post, but the away side were cruelly sunk with five minutes to go.
Murphy beat Glen Johnson on the edge of the 18-yard box and Reina embarrassingly spilled the midfielder's low shot.
Dempsey reacted quicker than Daniel Agger and won the game with a simple, close-range finish.
Fulham manager Martin Jol: "We dropped points at home against Everton when we were the better team - we were pretty unlucky. Tonight we had the rub of the green.
"We weren't the better team but it was even. Mark Schwarzer is one of the best in the business and he saved us.
"I think it was a bad tackle [by Jay Spearing]. His ankle was there and I think it was a sending-off."
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish: "We didn't play as we have been but we did enough to come away with something from the game.
"But we didn't and we can't feel sorry for ourselves. Even when we went down to 10 men we kept pressing, and I can't fault that.
"Jay Spearing won the ball, but upset the referee with the follow-up. Sometimes it's a red, sometimes it's not."

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Chelsea 0 - 2 Liverpool

Chelsea were again struck down by the curse of Kenny Dalglish as Liverpool increased the pressure on manager Andre Villas-Boas with a comfortable Carling Cup quarter-final victory at Stamford Bridge.
Maxi Rodriguez and Martin Kelly both scored in a five-minute spell after the break to maintain Dalglish's unbeaten record against Chelsea in 13 matches as Liverpool manager.
Liverpool's win was fully deserved, even with the inspirational Luis Suarez rested, as they were able to recover from the setback of Andy Carroll's missed first-half penalty to secure their third straight victory at Stamford Bridge.
It was a fully deserved win, following hard on the heels of the Premier League triumph here 10 days ago and confirming a renaissance that has seen Liverpool go undefeated in their last eleven games.
And as his side closed in on the semi-final, Dalglish showed special appreciation for the contribution of Craig Bellamy when he was substituted late on.
He was withdrawn from Sunday's game against Manchester City at Anfield following the death of his mentor and Wales manager Gary Speed, but returned in style at Stamford Bridge to create both goals.
Liverpool can now contemplate their first semi-final in this competition since 2005, when they reached the final only to be defeated by Jose Mourinho's Chelsea.
The only cloud over Liverpool's night was a knee injury that saw midfield man Lucas stretchered off. He will now undergo a scan to determine the extent of the problem.
In contrast to Dalglish's obvious delight, Villas-Boas cut a dejected figure as the momentum built by the victory against Wolves on Saturday was snuffed out by an impressive Liverpool display.
The 34-year-old Portuguese coach insists he has the full backing of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and there is no doubt he is currently presiding over a squad in need of major repair.
But this result only makes next Tuesday's defining Champions League meeting with Valencia at Stamford Bridge an even more crucial moment for Villas-Boas, despite his managerial career at Chelsea being in its infancy.
And it was another disappointing night for Chelsea's £50m British record signing Fernando Torres, who cut an almost apologetic figure against his former club as he laboured in vain on the margins.
Carroll and Torres were both given chances to impress as both managers made changes - but it was referee Phil Dowd who was the central figure early on as he ignored two penalty appeals.
He booked David Luiz for diving when he was clearly felled by Sebastian Coates as he raced into the area - but the Chelsea defender was then lucky to escape punishment for a push on Carroll.
Dowd did award a penalty, albeit after a lengthy delay, at the third time of asking in the 22nd minute when Alex handled needlessly. Carroll claimed the penalty with some confidence only to drill it straight at Chelsea keeper Ross Turnbull.
The official was not enjoying his finest night, as he proved when he booked Ryan Bertrand for a dangerous tackle on Jordan Henderson - by Romelu Lukaku.
Chelsea at least posed a whiff of danger early in the second half when Florent Malouda's downward header looped up on to the bar, but this was only the signal for Liverpool to put the game out of their reach.
Liverpool went ahead just before the hour when Bellamy broke clear down the right and crossed perfectly for Maxi, who also scored in the recent league win at Chelsea, to beat Turnbull comfortably at the far post.
Villas-Boas immediately prepared the introduction of Juan Mata and Nicolas Anelka, but he was not able to make the change before Liverpool extended their lead.
Bellamy's free-kick found Kelly unmarked in the area and the defender took advantage to head past the exposed Turnbull.
Mata and Anelka came on, but Liverpool cruised to victory untroubled to move a step closer to Wembley.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Liverpool 1 - 1 Man City

Joleon Lescott's own goal cancelled out Vincent Kompany's effort as 10-man Manchester City restored their five-point lead at the top of the Premier League.
Mario Balotelli was sent off for two yellow cards in the space of 18 minutes after coming on as a substitute.
But City, who dropped points for the second time this term, held on to draw.
Liverpool's Wales forward Craig Bellamy was left out following the death of Gary Speed.
Reds manager Kenny Daglish took the decision to send the striker home.
He said: "It was best for us to make the decision for Craig. He was very close to Gary, who was a mentor to him, and he admired and looked up to him."
On Roberto Mancini's 47th birthday, City had the opportunity to take advantage of second-placed Manchester United's 1-1 draw with Newcastle on Saturday to move seven points clear at the top of the table.
They deserved their lead after Kompany headed in, only for Lescott to divert Charlie Adam's shot into his own net less than two minutes later.
But after Balotelli was shown a second yellow card with seven minutes left, City were grateful to cling on for a point.
Initially City coped well with Liverpool's high-tempo pressing game and Yaya Toure went close to giving the visitors an early lead when he thumped a shot just past the top corner after the Reds struggled to clear Samir Nasri's corner.
Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina also had to be alert as he rushed out to get to Jose Enrique's weak back-pass ahead of Sergio Aguero.
Just after the half hour, the leaders were rewarded for their quiet authority when David Silva's corner picked out Kompany's near-post run and the ball glanced off the Belgian's shoulder and into the top corner.
Liverpool had still not managed an effort on target but their response was almost immediate and they drew level when Adam's shot, which looked like it was going well wide, deflected off Lescott and past Joe Hart.
The hosts continued to pile forward and Hart did well to turn away Adam's low drive with his foot before Glen Johnson curled wide from just outside the area.
City cut through once again when Aguero exchanged passes with Silva and his stabbed effort was blocked at the near post by Reina.
After the restart Nasri drove a cross-shot past Reina's post and at the other end Dirk Kuyt headed wide from Stewart Downing's cross.
When City failed to spot Adam taking a short corner to Daniel Agger, the Dane crossed for Downing and the former Middlesbrough man's strike was turned over the bar by Hart.
But after coming on as a substitute, Balotelli was shown a second yellow card after catching Martin Skrtel with an elbow, his third dismissal since joining from Inter Milan in the summer of 2010.
Manchester City managed just one goal for the first time in the Premier League this season
City only had seven shots on goal and their previous low for the season was 14 (against Villa and Newcastle)
As the hosts pressed for a winner, Hart turned Suarez's drive around the post before Silva had the chance to steal it for City after a quick breakaway.
Hart also pulled off a fine double save from Andy Carroll and Suarez deep in stoppage time.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Chelsea 1 - 2 Liverpool

Glen Johnson's late winner gave Liverpool victory as Chelsea's indifferent run of form continued.
The Reds recorded a Premier League double over Chelsea last season - and secured three points again as Johnson produced a moment of individual brilliance to clinch victory with three minutes left.
The recalled Maxi Rodriguez crowned a sweeping passing move to give the visitors a half-time lead, but Blues boss Andre Villas-Boas looked to have changed the course of the game when substitute Daniel Sturridge equalised after the interval.
Johnson made his spectacular intervention against his former club just as the points looked set to be shared, taking Charlie Adam's pass in his stride before cutting through the hosts' defence to beat Petr Cech.
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish celebrated wildly on the touchline, but it was total despair for Villas-Boas as Chelsea slumped to their third loss in four Premier League games.
And of great concern to Villas-Boas will be the fact that their high-profile meetings with Manchester United, Arsenal and now Liverpool have all ended in defeat.
The Londoners stand 12 points behind leaders Manchester City and on this evidence their hopes of winning the title may have already disappeared.
Chelsea officials insisted before kick-off that reports of the first cracks surfacing in the relationship between Villas-Boas and owner Roman Abramovich were "total nonsense", but there is no question their form has deteriorated after a competent rather than spectacular start to the season.
For Liverpool, the joy at the final whistle was a world away from the jeers that greeted the goalless draw with Swansea at Anfield in their last league game.
Chelsea have lost consecutive Premier League matches at Stamford Bridge for the first time since Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003
Villas-Boas and Dalglish left £85m of striking talent on the bench as £50m Fernando Torres missed out on the chance to start against his former club and Andy Carroll was excluded from Liverpool's starting line-up.
They only made late appearances, with Torres introduced in a vain attempt to win the game for Chelsea and Carroll emerging as Liverpool tried to ensure they would hang on to their lead.
Chelsea's first-half display was lamentable but they did create an early opportunity when Juan Mata fired across the face of goal, while large sections of the Stamford Bridge crowd thought they had taken the lead when Didier Drogba's free-kick hit the side-netting.
Liverpool, in contrast, were composed and ordered with the movement of Luis Suarez and Craig Bellamy a constant threat, especially to the indisciplined David Luiz.
Chelsea were unable to pierce the visitors' midfield and the visitors went ahead after 33 minutes when Jon Obi Mikel conceded possession to Adam in dangerous territory. Suarez then found Bellamy, whose perfect pass was an open invitation for Maxi to sweep his finish past Cech.
Dalglish's side ended the opening 45 minutes in complete command - forcing Villas-Boas to respond by removing the labouring Mikel and sending on Sturridge.
The change was rewarded 10 minutes after the restart when Florent Malouda was allowed too much time and space to run into the area before crossing for Sturridge to tap in to an unguarded net.
As the momentum changed, Pepe Reina produced a brilliant save from Branislav Ivanovic's low header with Chelsea sensing the game was now turning in their favour.
Liverpool, for the first time, were in retreat and Malouda should have put Chelsea in front with 16 minutes left, only to scuff a finish across the face of goal with Reina exposed.
Chelsea introduced their two former Reds players, Torres and Raul Meireles, with six minutes left - but it was Dalglish's side that immediately had a chance to regain their advantage.
Substitute Jordan Henderson skipped past a succession of challenges to allow Downing to set up Dirk Kuyt who shot wastefully wide, much to Dalglish's obvious disgust.
Chelsea failed to heed the warning and Liverpool made no mistake when they created another opportunity with three minutes remaining.
Adam's raking pass found Johnson, who evaded Ashley Cole and Malouda to score with great composure and give Liverpool their latest Stamford Bridge win.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Liverpool 0 - 0 Swansea

A late wonder save from goalkeeper Michel Vorm earned Swansea a memorable point as Liverpool failed to win at Anfield for the third succesive game.
The Dutchman tipped over Glen Johnson's 20-yard shot in a thrilling goalless draw but Andy Carroll should have given Liverpool an early lead at Anfield.
Carroll hit the Swansea bar but the visitors may have won it when Mark Gower squandered a great late chance.
And both teams had penalty appeals turned down in a frantic second half.
Swansea's Leon Britton was fouled by defender Daniel Agger on the line of the Liverpool penalty area after breaking from midfield.
But referee Phil Dowd insisted the offence was committed outside the box.
Gower wasted the subsequent free-kick before Liverpool's dangerman Luis Suarez, who had tested Vorm on numerous occasions, claimed he was brought down in the area.
Swans right-back Angel Rangel was the covering defender in the final minute of added time but experienced official Dowd judged that Suarez was fairly challenged.
The Swans, who have never won at Anfield, impressed with their passing and possession game and deserved the draw that gives them only their second away point of the season.
England striker Carroll, however, would have been disappointed not to convert a seemingly simple chance in the opening seven minutes.
A sublime move between Charlie Adam and Stewart Downing sliced open the Swansea defence but, from just six yards out, unmarked Carroll could not apply a fitting finish from Downing's cross as his strike crashed against the crossbar.
Suarez then fired just wide but the visitors gave a signal of intent as Liverpool keeper Jose Reina's point-blank reactions were tested following a good move down the Swansea left.
Wayne Routledge beat two defenders before firing an inswinging cross into the danger zone.
And, if Danny Graham had got any kind of touch to Routledge's superb ball, then the Swans striker would have almost certainly celebrated his fifth goal in as many games.
Reina's Swansea counterpart Vorm needed his reactions to be spot on when he tipped a 25-yarder from Suarez wide before Joe Allen curled a shot wide for Swansea.
Carroll tested Vorm again with a towering header from Adam's corner as the keeper nudged the effort wide.
Suarez continued to threaten for Liverpool, who are unbeaten at home, and the Swans stopper needed to be alert to save the Uruguay striker's flicked header from Adam's inswinging free-kick.
Liverpool hearts fluttered when Reina spilled Nathan Dyer's 20-yard shot into the path of Graham but the captain made amends to block the follow-up.
Liverpool are unbeaten in six matches, their longest run since manager Kenny Dalglish returned. Liverpool have won just three of their last 11 matches against newly promoted sides
This was the first time in 16 visits that Swansea have kept a clean sheet at Anfield
And after Britton's Swansea penalty shout, the visitors, who suffered a record 8-0 defeat on their last Anfield visit in a 1990 FA Cup tie, could have snatched victory in the final minutes.
But an unmarked Gower blazed over from 12 yards after Graham's perfect knock-down from Nathan Dyer's deep right-wing cross.
Liverpool substitute striker Dirk Kuyt did put the ball in the Swans net but it was ruled out for offside by assistant referee Sian Massey.
The Vorm show concluded an entertaining game as, just moments after the Swansea keeper saved a long-range strike from Suarez, he kept out Johnson.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

West Brom 0 - 2 Liverpool

Charlie Adam and Andy Carroll were on the scoresheet as Liverpool extended their unbeaten run of games to seven with a comfortable win over West Brom.
The Baggies failed to match their opponents throughout the game and went behind to an early Adam penalty when Luis Suarez was tripped.
Carroll scored just before half-time when he was put through by Suarez's pass following Jonas Olsson's error.
Somen Tchoyi had the hosts' best chances but they were well beaten.
A shot past the post from the Cameroonian striker - a stand-in for the injured Shane Long - just after the break represented one of West Brom's few meaningful efforts.
Liverpool were crisp in their passing and willing to make more supporting runs from the beginning of the game, and at times they outclassed their opponents.
Kenny Dalglish's side, who were without Steven Gerrard with an ankle infection and Jamie Carragher with a calf strain, were also quicker to the loose ball.
While West Brom seemed to sit too deep, allowing Adam and his team-mates time to switch play with relative ease.
West Brom's defending will have disappointed boss Roy Hodgson, whose sides usually pride themselves on hard work and organisation.
And they did not make any significant inroads in attack as Liverpool climbed to fifth in the Premier League.
The visitors were handed an early gift when Jerome Thomas brought down Suarez for a ninth-minute penalty.
West Brom's supporters were furious with what was a debatable decision, made by assistant referee Gary Beswick, but Adam made no mistake from 12 yards.
Referee Lee Mason was continually booed thereafter, but the frustration of the home fans should have been directed towards their team, who were second best and did not create their first real opening until after 40 minutes when Peter Odemwingie could not reach Tchoyi's cross.
They failed to harry the Liverpool defence and Suarez and Carroll had chances to add to their total before they doubled the lead.
Olsson gave the ball away straight from a free-kick and once it was swept to Suarez on the right, the Uruguayan found his unmarked striker partner Carroll, who, after a heavy first touch, tucked in left-footed past the advancing Ben Foster with his second.
Throughout the first period Hodgson grew ever more angry, at one point throwing his coat off in disgust, but his side started the second half better with Tchoyi screwing a shot wide of Pepe Reina's right-hand post.
That proved only a brief interlude, though, and Suarez was continually released on the break by Adam to cause more havoc.
Olsson made a superb block to deny Liverpool's top scorer, and Foster saved well from Jose Enrique and Carroll as the visitors poured forward.
Stewart Downing could have made it 3-0 when he hit a post late on and that scoreline would not have been an unfair reflection on Liverpool's accomplished display.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Stoke 1 - 2 Liverpool

Luis Suarez capped a superb individual display with a late winner as Liverpool came from behind to beat Stoke in the Carling Cup fourth round.
The hosts went ahead just before the break when Kenwyne Jones headed a low cross from Jon Walters into the corner.
Liverpool hit back when Suarez nutmegged Ryan Shotton and curled a stunning strike past Thomas Sorensen.
And four minutes from time, Jordan Henderson volleyed a cross to the far post where Suarez headed home.
Liverpool then withstood a late onslaught to reach the last eight for the first time in four seasons and exact revenge for their 1-0 league loss to Stoke in September.
For the hosts, who had a Walters goal harshly ruled out in the first half, defeat at least enables them to focus their attention on the league and on continuing their impressive progress in Europe.
After a relatively even opening, in which Walters and Carroll both went close from long range, the Reds took control of the first half and almost went in front through Suarez.
Lucas played a one-two with Maxi Rodriguez and squared the ball for the striker, whose shot from point-blank range was smothered by Sorensen.
A fortunate deflection then fell at the feet of Carroll, but his shot with his weaker right foot was straight at the Stoke goalkeeper.
Stoke thought they had taken the lead against the run of play when Walters headed a Rory Delap long throw into the net only for referee Lee Probert to disallow the goal for a push on goalkeeper Pepe Reina.
Any sense of grievance was short-lived as Stoke took the lead following a sloppy error from Liverpool centre-back Sebastian Coates.
The Uruguayan's mis-hit clearance enabled Walters to escape down the right wing and send over a low cross for Jones to glance a header into the far corner.
Shortly afterwards, Suarez wriggled into the box and stayed on his feet under a challenge from Ryan Shawcross before dragging a shot well wide.
Stoke began the second half on the front foot but were undone by a moment of magic from Suarez.
Picking up the ball on the left, he skipped past Shotton, advanced into the area and whipped an unstoppable shot just inside the far post.
With the game drifting towards extra-time, Reds boss Kenny Dalglish introduced Craig Bellamy and the Welsh striker was soon into the thick of the action, exchanging passes with the disappointing Carroll before hitting the post from the edge of the box.
Liverpool's winner arrived moments later when a headed clearance fell to Henderson just outside the box.
The midfielder's first-time cross picked out the unmarked Suarez at the far post and the Uruguayan planted a header across Sorensen.
Suarez hobbled off soon afterwards with a calf problem and watched from the sidelines as some desperate defending prevented Stoke from taking the game into extra-time.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Liverpool 1 - 1 Norwich

Substitute Grant Holt rescued a point for Norwich against a wasteful Liverpool at Anfield.
Martin Skrtel and Luis Suarez hit the woodwork before Craig Bellamy's deflected shot put Liverpool ahead just before the break.
But, only three minutes after coming on, Holt planted a bullet header beyond Pepe Reina to equalise.
With Liverpool pushing for a winner, John Ruddy pulled off an instinctive save from Suarez to deny the hosts.
Suarez had looked certain to snatch victory for the home side but the Canaries goalkeeper tipped the striker's shot from close range over the bar.
The Uruguayan's effort capped a string of spurned chances as Liverpool laid siege on Ruddy's goal in the closing stages.
The 24-year-old had kept his side level in the opening exchanges of the game, too.
Suarez collected Bellamy's pull back and the former Ajax forward struck a first-time shot that was touched on to the post by the inspired Ruddy.
By that time Skrtel had already rattled the crossbar as Liverpool started strongly.
Norwich steadied the ship and created a couple of half chances of their own, but Reina was equal to what Steve Morison and Anthony Pilkington created in front of goal.
Liverpool have lost just one of their last 15 Premier League home matches
Despite being unable to convert their territorial advantage into clear opportunities, Liverpool were far superior and deserved the lead when it came a minute into first-half injury time.
Latching on to Jose Enrique's clipped ball over the Norwich defence, Bellamy muscled his way past the remaining City defenders to slot his shot past Ruddy via the heel of Marc Tierney to score his first league goal since returning to the club.
Norwich, stubborn and disciplined throughout, were then rewarded for their second-half fearlessness with an equaliser on the hour.
Having been sent on only moments earlier, Holt darted between Jamie Carragher and Glen Johnson to emphatically head Pilkington's pinpoint cross beyond a stranded Reina.
The visitors should have been ahead when another Pilkington cross - this time from the left - found Holt again, but Reina reacted well to palm away the substitute's header.
Suarez, who waged an ongoing battle with the officials for their repeated refusal to award decisions in his favour, was Liverpool's chief goal threat and he promised to restore the home side's lead several times.
Weaving his way into a shooting position, Suarez seemed certain to roll the ball into the bottom corner - but a desperate block by Russell Martin diverted the ball on to the post.
With time running out Andy Carroll, a late replacement for Bellamy, could have been the hero but he headed Steven Gerrard's cross agonisingly wide.
But that accolade will go to Norwich goalkeeper Ruddy, whose stunning save denied Suarez and Liverpool victory.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Liverpool 1 - 1 Man Utd

Substitute Javier Hernandez earned Manchester United a point after England striker Wayne Rooney was left out of the starting line-up at Anfield.
The Mexican levelled nine minutes from time after Steven Gerrard, making his first start since undergoing groin surgery in April, put Liverpool ahead with a 68th-minute free-kick.
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson revealed he dropped Rooney after he was left "devastated" by the three-match ban that rules him out of England's Euro 2012 group games following his red card in Montenegro.
As well as Rooney, Ferguson also left Hernandez and Nani on the bench in a much-changed United team.
It looked like proving an expensive decision as Gerrard slotted a free-kick through the United wall to make it 1-0.
That was the signal for Ferguson to make changes - and Hernandez rescued a point with a close-range header.
Liverpool substitute Jordan Henderson almost snatched victory twice in stoppage time but United held on to end a run of three successive Premier League defeats at Anfield.
United were second-best for long periods as they struggled to adapt to an unfamiliar line-up and were ultimately fortunate to leave Merseyside with their unbeaten league run still intact.
And Ferguson was largely indebted to young keeper David de Gea, who has had his critics this season but made crucial saves to keep United in contention as they came under concerted pressure in the closing stages.
Sir Alex Ferguson raised expectations by elevating Manchester United's meeting with Liverpool to a level above Spain's "el Clasico" between Barcelona and Real Madrid - then dropped them to the floor with the arrival of his teamsheet
Ferguson, perhaps recalling how United had been comprehensively outfought in the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool last season, opted for a side with a more pragmatic look with Phil Jones moved into a midfield role.
And in an undistinguished opening, Jones had the best chance when he met Patrice Evra's cross at the far post but headed weakly off-target with what proved to be United's most inviting opening of the first half.
Liverpool captain Gerrard then created confusion in the United six-yard area with a whipped cross - but the clearest opportunity fell to Luis Suarez in the 33rd minute. Charlie Adam's shot deflected invitingly into the Uruguayan's path but, after cleverly wrong-footing Jonny Evans, he was thwarted by De Gea's block.
It was Liverpool who once again carried the momentum after the break and the recalled Rio Ferdinand was booked for a foul on Suarez, whose confrontational approach and brilliant natural ability was proving hard to handle.
After Evra was also shown a yellow card following a prolonged bout of bickering which also involved Suarez, Ferguson decided on a double change by replacing Park Ji-sung and Ashley Young with Nani and Rooney.
As they stood waiting to come on, Liverpool took the lead as Gerrard showed what his side have been missing. United hotly contested the free-kick awarded when Adam tumbled under Ferdinand's challenge - and Gerrard steered a 20-yard free-kick past De Gea, thanks in no small part to Ryan Giggs jumping out of the wall.

Ferguson frustrated with 'soft' free-kick
Ferguson then made another change as Liverpool moved within sight of victory, sending on Hernandez for Jones in the hope that the Mexican's goal-poaching instincts could be the catalyst for a comeback.
And so it proved when Hernandez arrived with perfect timing on to Danny Welbeck's flick from a corner to send a header flashing past Pepe Reina.
De Gea was United's hero again within seconds of Hernandez's equaliser, diving to his left to claw away Dirk Kuyt's shot as he got on the end of a superb cross from Stewart Downing.
Liverpool were still pressing for the winner in stoppage time with another substitute, Henderson, prominent. His angled finish was brilliantly turned away by De Gea and he also headed just over. Defender Martin Skrtel should have done better than sky a chance into the Kop in the dying moments - and it was the Manchester United supporters who were happier with a point at the final whistle.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


STEVEN GERRARD will answer England's call if manager Fabio Capello selects the Liverpool skipper for the vital European Championship qualifier against Montenegro on Friday night.
Capello was on Merseyside to watch Gerrard take another step towards full fitness following six months out in the aftermath of a groin operation.Although the player admits that he is short of match fitness his love for the Three Lions will see him make the trip to the Balkans if Capello gives him the nod in the squad announced tonight.Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has already called for common sense from England, believing that the Montenegro game has come too soon for the inspirational midfielder.But Capello believes he should make the final decision on the 31-year-old when it comes to England duty.He is planning to talk to Gerrard, stating: “He can tell me if he is not fit or if he can play. It is really important that the player tells me.“We have some problems in midfield. For this reason we need to be careful. Some players can stay on the bench, or come on at half-time, not all the game.“I want to speak with Steve. If he decides ‘yes, I can’, he will be with us. If he says he can’t, he will stay at home.”Gerrard, who played another 23 minutes as a substitute in yesterday’s 2-0 win over Liverpool, will never turn his back on his country.If Capello gives him the go-ahead, he will report for international duty.

Dalglish hails victorious Reds on Derby day

Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish was delighted to claim victory over Everton in the Merseyside derby.
However, he admits that he does not know whether they would have claimed their 2-0 win had it not been for Jack Rodwell's early dismissal.
Rodwell's red card looked incredibly harsh on the Evertonmidfielder, and Liverpool took advantage of the extra man with second-half goals from Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez giving them the win.
"Up until they lost a man it was even, Luis had a chance they went up the park and I think a header with Pepe's great save," he told Sky Sports.
"We are delighted with the result, whether we would have won if they had 11, I don't know.
"There isn't much between the teams and sometimes the numerical advantage works in your favour, sometimes it goes against you, but they will be disappointed to lose the game but I don't think Moysie will be disappointed with the attitude and effort his team put in, but it was difficult and hot out there and we kept moving the ball and had patience."
Asked about the sending off and Dalglish admitted he was not bothered by referee Martin Atkinson's decision following Rodwell's challenge on Suarez.
"I haven't seen it and don't intend to," he said, insisting he was delighted with the attitude his players showed after the red card.
"I think they were very professional, when you play against 10 it is easy to lose your concentration and easy to be complacent and I don't think they did either of those and did well."
The Liverpool chief was quick to pay tribute to Andy Carroll - who he labelled as his Man of the Match - after he grabbed his first league goal of the season.
Andy is off the mark with a league goal which is great for us and Luis gets another one, it is good for us and for me I thought the best player was Carroll," he said.
Dalglish insisted that any talking points surrounding Carroll are only an issue according to the media.
"I don't think confidence is the problem with Andy, I think the problem with Andy Carroll is the media - so just let the boy live a bit.
"People talk about his way of life but nobody knows what it is so how can they accuse him? His stats in training are better than most - but perhaps they should be authors as they have vivid imagination.
"His price tag is irrelevant - he is every bit as important to us as wee Jay [Spearing], Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher - who cost us nothing - so forget about money.
"The goal is good but he has nothing to prove to us."

Everton 0 - 2 Liverpool

Liverpool's £58m strikeforce of Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez scored the goals that settled the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park - but Everton were left complaining bitterly about Jack Rodwell's controversial early red card.
Rodwell was sent off by referee Martin Atkinson - who has shown 15 red cards since the start of last season - after 23 minutes for what appeared to be a legitimate challenge on Suarez.
Everton had started well but were then forced to mount a rearguard action with 10 men following Rodwell's dismissal.
The hosts survived when goalkeeper Tim Howard saved Dirk Kuyt's penalty late in the first half after Phil Jagielka felled Suarez.

But with Goodison Park openly directing its full hostility towards Atkinson, Liverpool went ahead when Carroll turned in his first Premier League goal of the season after 70 minutes.
And Suarez took advantage of a misunderstanding between Leighton Baines and Sylvain Distin to add a second with eight minutes left.
Everton boss David Moyes will be frustrated at the turn of events that halted his side's early momentum - but counterpart Kenny Dalglish will happily take victory on his return to Goodison Park as Liverpool manager, the place where his first spell in charge ended more than 20 years ago.
Tim Cahill was fit for Everton after suffering a shin injury at Manchester City last week - and his value was illustrated as he was swiftly into his stride and unsettling the Liverpool defence.
It was Suarez, however, who had the first chance. Jagielka's sliced clearance found Kuyt, but Suarez could only head his cross tamely into the arms of Howard.

Merseyside derby red cards

1 October 2011 - Jack Rodwell
6 February 2010 - Sotiros Kyrgiakos & Steven Pienaar
4 February 2009 - Lucas
27 September 2008 - Tim Cahill
20 October 2007 - Tony Hibbert & Phil Neville
25 March 2006 - Steven Gerrard & Andy van der Meyde
28 December 2005 - Phil Neville & Mikel Arteta
20 March 2005 - Milan Baros
19 April 2003 - David Weir & Gary Naysmith
16 April 2001 - Igor Biscan
29 October 2000 - Thomas Gravesen
27 September 1999 - Sander Westerveld, Francis Jeffers & Steven Gerrard

As a frenetic opening continued, Cahill - whose robust approach had already prompted Jamie Carragher to register his displeasure to Atkinson - rose above the Liverpool defence to force keeper Pepe Reina into an athletic tip over the top.
Everton defender Distin then demonstrated neat footwork to evade a succession of challenges inside the area before sending a rising, angled effort narrowly off target.
The game was engulfed in controversy when Rodwell appeared to win the ball cleanly in a midfield challenge with Suarez. The tackle drew an angry response from Liverpool's players- Lucas in particular as Suarez writhed in agony - but it was an obvious injustice when the England Under-21 midfielder was shown the red card.
As half-time approached with Everton desperate to get into the dressing room and regroup, Liverpool were awarded a penalty for Jagielka's rash challenge on Suarez. This time there was no disputing Atkinson's decision, but Howard rescued Everton by diving low to his left to keep out Kuyt's spot-kick.
At the end of a frantic first 45 minutes, there was still time for Charlie Adam to strike the bar from 20 yards before referee Atkinson departed to a deafening chorus of jeering from Everton's fans.

Little had been seen of £35m man Carroll until just after the restart when he twice rose powerfully to meet corners, forcing Louis Saha to clear acrobatically off the line and Howard to save low at his post.
Saha had been in lively mood after he was restored to the side and gave Reina an anxious moment with a low effort from distance that flashed just wide.
It was the signal for Dalglish to contemplate changes and they came after 66 minutes when Adam and the subdued Stewart Downing were replaced by Steven Gerrard and Craig Bellamy.
Liverpool had hardly been placing Everton under relentless pressure, but they finally forced their way through with 20 minutes left. Bellamy played in Jose Enrique, and when Kuyt ducked under his cross Carroll forced home from eight yards.
Everton were, perhaps understandably, deflated at the setback and it was no surprise when Suarez added Liverpool's second after 82 minutes. Distin and Baines were involved in a mix-up as the Uruguayan advanced into the area, and he was not about to pass up the gift to shoot low past Howard.
The striker's celebrations in front of the Gwladys Street end were interrupted by a number of bottles being thrown on to the pitch but Liverpool remained in command to collect three points in comfort, with Kuyt striking the woodwork in the closing seconds.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Liverpool 2 - 1 Wolverhampton

Liverpool resisted a second-half fightback from Wolves to secure a hard-fought victory and end a run of back-to-back Premier League defeats.
Kenny Dalglish's side took the lead when Charlie Adam's shot was headed into his own goal by Roger Johnson.
Jose Enrique's long ball over the top was fired in at close range by Luis Suarez for the Reds' second.
And although Steven Fletcher cut the deficit for Wolves, tucking in Stephen Hunt's cross, the home side held on.

Liverpool response pleases Dalglish
It was a much-needed victory for Liverpool after league defeats by Stoke and Tottenham and leaves the Reds with 10 points from their first six matches.
Captain Steven Gerrard, who had returned to action against Brighton in midweek in the League Cup after six months out with a groin injury, came on again for the final 10 minutes.
Craig Bellamy had impressed in the match at Brighton but he was left out as Liverpool manager Dalglish favoured Andy Carroll up front. Carroll had another fruitless afternoon, but came close with a header that hit a post early in the second half just after Wolves had cut the deficit to 2-1.
Despite starting with a 4-5-1 formation for the first time this season, Wolves - who had lost 3-0 in their last Premier League outing against QPR - started well, with Jamie O'Hara shooting from distance at Jose Reina, who collected safely.

Performance-wise, it wasn't what we know we can do. But, after two Premier League defeats, it was good to get back to winning ways.Charlie Adam
It was Liverpool, though, who snatched the lead in fortuitous style in the 11th minute.
After Martin Kelly's cross was cleared by Johnson, Stewart Downing teed the ball up for Adam and the Scotsman's 25-yard shot was diverted past Wayne Hennessey by the Wolves skipper's header.
Johnson protested as he felt he had been fouled while clearing the initial cross as he tussled with Carroll, but the goal stood.
Soon after, Carroll headed at Hennessey and the impressive Suarez then shot wide before Liverpool further extended their lead.
Enrique's chipped pass over the top was met by a perfectly timed run by Suarez, who twisted and turned to leave Christophe Berra struggling before firing in from eight yards.
Suarez came close again, poking the ball wide of the far post as Liverpool finished the first half strongly.
That prompted Wolves manager Mick McCarthy to make a double substitution at half-time as he switched to a 4-4-2 formation.
McCarthy was rewarded after just four minutes when one of the subs, Fletcher, shot in from eight yards after Hunt's cut-back with Reina and Martin Skrtel getting in each other's way.
Liverpool soon came close with a string of chances. Hennessey was outstanding, first blocking a close-range Suarez effort. Carroll hit the post with a back-post header after a cross from the excellent Downing, who later watched a chance of his own being saved by the Wolves keeper.
The game increasingly opened up and Wolves had opportunities of their own as Jamie O'Hara shot off target and Berra threatened with a header.
Gerrard emerged with 10 minutes to play as he replaced Suarez - who kicked a water bottle in frustration at his withdrawal - and struck over from 30 yards as Liverpool held on.
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish: "It's interesting - when big Andy Carroll plays half decent, nobody comes in and asks an Andy Carroll question. [He did] everything except score a goal. We couldn't have got much more out of the big fella and we were delighted with him and for him.
"I think we deserved three points although it was difficult at times. If we'd [converted all our chances] there'd have been no one left in the stadium with 20 minutes to go. We maybe got a bit of good fortune with the first goal but we deserved a bit of luck. We've not had too much recently."
Wolves manager Mick McCarthy: "We had a difficult first half and an excellent second half. I thought first 10 minutes we started okay but then we conceded a goal, for which I thought Johnson was fouled by Carroll and I was annoyed about that.
"The second one, we tried to play offside and did it badly and it cost us. My goalkeeper is excellent and he has had a good performance but we were a far better team in the second half and that is the level of performance I would expect from us."

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Brighton 1 - 2 Liverpool

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard made his comeback after six months on the sidelines as they came through a potentially hazardous Carling Cup third round tie at Brighton unscathed.
The visit of Liverpool to Brighton's new stadium was portrayed as a possible upset with Gus Poyet's side lying third in the Championship after an impressive start to the season.
But Liverpool were deserved winners as manager Kenny Dalglish confirmed his intention to make a serious attempt to win this much-maligned competition by fielding a strong line-up.
Craig Bellamy was the inspiration behind Liverpool's victory as he made the most of his first start since returning to Anfield on a free transfer from Manchester City on transfer deadline day.
Bellamy's instant understanding with Luis Suarez and the manner in which he linked up with Dirk Kuyt made him look a more comfortable fit in 90 minutes than Carroll has at any of the very early stages of his Liverpool career.
The 32-year-old opened the scoring with a composed finish early on and played a part Liverpool's second goal as Dirk Kuyt confirmed their place in the next round draw 10 minutes from time.
Bellamy also thundered a first-half free-kick against the bar and his pace and swift passing style looked a perfect fit alongside Luis Suarez, who twice came close to increasing Liverpool's advantage before half-time.
Ashley Barnes' late penalty gave Liverpool anxious moments at the conclusion, but this was a night when they had the double delight of a victory and the long-awaited return of Gerrard following groin surgery.
Craig Noone, released by Liverpool at the age of 11 and who recently revealed he helped put the roof on Gerrard's games room at his Merseyside home, almost scored a dream goal seconds after half-time only to strike the bar from 25 yards.
But Liverpool were in command and even the late lifeline offered to Brighton by Barnes' penalty was not enough to stop them closing out the win.
Bellamy made the most of his chance as he combined with Suarez and Kuyt with regularity to torment Brighton in a first-half of almost total Liverpool domination.
The Wales striker had already shot narrowly wide before he put Liverpool ahead after seven minutes with an angled shot from a typically incisive pass from Suarez.
Suarez's movement was all too much for Brighton's defence and twice in quick succession he was inches away from extending Liverpool's lead and giving them the advantage their superiority deserved.
The Uruguayan exchanged passes with Kuyt and held his head in his hands in anguish as his shot rolled agonisingly wide - and he was similarly frustrated with a glancing header from Bellamy's free-kick.
Bellamy almost added a spectacular second five minutes before the interval. As his colleagues waiting for the striker to deliver a free-kick into the box he lashed a rising shot against the bar from in excess of 30 yards with Brighton keeper Casper Ankergren little more than an observer.
In a rare moment of danger, Liverpool defender Martin Kelly was forced into a desperate clearance after Noone had tested keeper Pepe Reina.
And it was Noone again who almost punished his boyhood heroes with a powerful drive that struck the crossbar with Reina beaten as Brighton began the second half in positive mood.
Liverpool were being placed under much more pressure than they had in the first half, and Brighton attempted to increase their options by introducing former Spain international Vicente Rodriguez on the hour for the limping Will Buckley.
And he was joined in the action by Gerrard with 16 minutes left. He came on to a rousing reception from the Liverpool fans delighted to see their talisman back and taking the captain's armband.
Liverpool were looking to punish Brighton on the break as they pushed for an equaliser. And so it proved as Kuyt beat Ankergren to round off a sweeping move involving Bellamy and Maxi.
Brighton were given brief hope when Barnes scored after Jamie Carragher fouled Vicente - but the home fans had no complaints as they filed away at the final whistle

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tottenham 4 - 0 Liverpool

Nine-man Liverpool were embarrassed at White Hart Lane as Tottenham cruised to a 4-0 win.
Emmanuel Adebayor scored twice on his home debut, with Luka Modric and Jermain Defoe netting after Charlie Adam and Martin Skrtel were sent off.
Croatian Modric curled home brilliantly from 25 yards on seven minutes.
On 65 minutes, Defoe made it two before Jose Reina's mistake two minutes later allowed Adebayor to poke home. He then made it four with the final kick.
It was Liverpool's second successive defeat following their 1-0 loss at Stoke, while Tottenham are now unbeaten in three since losing 5-1 to Manchester City.
Their return to form coincided with Modric being close to his best.
Chelsea offered a reported £40m for the midfielder over the summer and he missed his side's 3-0 defeat to Manchester United last month.
But he was part of a Tottenham midfield that completely dominated Liverpool's.
Even before Modric scored, Kenny Dalglish's team were lucky to still be level after Adebayor stabbed wide on three minutes from Niko Kranjcar's flick through.
Liverpool's regular right-backs Glen Johnson and Martin Kelly were both out injured and stand-in Skrtel struggled to contain Gareth Bale.
The Welshman got in behind the Slovak four times in the first 15 minutes, with Adam and Skrtel both booked for tackles on the winger.
Liverpool thought they were level on 18 minutes when Adam's header bounced around the edge of the area and landed at Andy Carroll's feet.
The England striker slipped it through to Luis Suarez, who toe-poked home, only to be flagged offside.
Sebastian Coates made his debut on 27 minutes, replacing Daniel Agger who was injured during the scramble for Modric's goal.
But one minute later, Adam was sent off by referee Mike Jones after a second yellow card for catching Scott Parker above the knee 25 yards out.
It was reminiscent of Adam's tackle on Bale when playing for Blackpool last May, which left the Tottenham man out for the season with a ruptured ankle ligament.
Coates' first significant moment in a Reds shirt was hauling down Adebayor 25 yards out, resulting in a yellow card.
Liverpool's frustration showed as Luis Suarez was booked for sarcastically applauding the assistant referee on half-time.
Things got even worse after the restart however.
Tottenham continued to have the best of the chances, with Skrtel falling over 10 minutes into the second half, allowing Defoe to set up Adebayor but the former Arsenal man finished poorly, side-footing to Jose Reina.
Skrtel then saw red after going through the back of Bale and moments later Defoe turned Jose Enrique and fired home his third of the season on 65 minutes.
Two minutes later, Reina failed to hold a shot from Defoe and Adebayor followed in to make it three.
The Togo forward completed his home debut with a second from the final kick of the match, lashing past Reina from close range.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Stoke 1 - 0 Liverpool

Stoke ended Liverpool's unbeaten start to the season thanks to Jonathan Walters' first-half penalty.
Walters went to ground in a tussle for the ball with Jamie Carragher and blasted home the resulting spot-kick.
Ryan Shawcross blocked a Luis Suarez effort with the Uruguayan prominent in Liverpool's attempts to draw level.
After the break Jordan Henderson should have equalised when he broke clear, while Suarez missed an open goal at the very end after an Asmir Begovic error.
Craig Bellamy came on to make his first appearance for Liverpool in his second spell for the club but the Welshman was unable to change the course of the game although he went close with a header.
Bellamy was introduced at the same time as Andy Carroll, who never really threatened a Stoke defence that was superb throughout, with Shawcross outstanding.
While Shawcross marshalled the Stoke rearguard, Walters' goal and performance overshadowed team-mate Peter Crouch, who was making his debut for the Potters against his former club.
After a promising start to the game, particularly in winning a number of free-kicks, Crouch faded and when Kenwyne Jones came on in the second half the former Spurs striker ran over to the bench only to realise that he was not being withdrawn.
Liverpool held steady under an early cumulative bombardment of free-kicks and Rory Delap's throws until the 20th minute.
Then the visitors' defence buckled when Carragher and Walters challenged one another in the box and with the Stoke forward going to ground, referee Mark Clattenburg was quick to award the penalty.
Walters crashed his spot-kick down the middle of the goal with Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina diving to the right.
Both before and after Walters' goal Suarez carried Liverpool's main threat, with his movement and trickery giving Stoke all sorts of problems.
The Uruguayan flashed a shot over the bar in the opening stages of the game and then almost got a connection on the ball following a Charlie Adam corner.
Just after Walters' penalty Suarez was only denied a goal after Shawcross threw himself at the ball after Begovic had been unable to hold Henderson's cross.
Suarez then wriggled free down the left and crossed for Martin Skrtel who was unable to hit the ball cleanly under pressure from Matthew Etherington.
Henderson should have equalised when he broke clear in the second half after Luis Enrique threatened a pass through to the former Sunderland midfielder.
That he did not was due to sterling work by Begovic, who saved Henderson's effort, then quickly got up to save the rebound and was just as sprightly in getting back to his line to beat away an Adam shot.
Shortly afterwards Henderson and Kuyt were withdrawn with Carroll and Bellamy coming on, while Wilson Palacios also came on to make his Stoke debut.
The second half was played almost entirely in the Stoke half, but the likes of Matthew Upson, Shawcross and Begovic held firm under enormous Liverpool pressure.
Shawcross did well to get the ball ahead of Suarez as Stewart Downing crossed for the Uruguayan, while another cross from the Liverpool winger reached Bellamy at the far post but he headed his effort wide.
Late on Suarez claimed a penalty, arguing that Upson had handled the ball, while the former Ajax man should have secured a point for the visitors only to skew his shot wide with the goal at his mercy.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Uruguay defender Sebastian Coates seals Liverpool move

Liverpool have completed the signing of Uruguay international defender Sebastian Coates from Nacional.
The 20-year-old impressed in Uruguay's Copa America win in July and has signed a long-term contract at Anfield.
A 6ft 6ins centre-back, Coates passed a medical and secured a work permit and is Liverpool's sixth summer signing.
Coates was last seen on the pitch in Buenos Aires celebrating victory in the Copa America, and accepting an award for the best young player of the tournament. Impressive credentials for a player who is not 21 until OctoberRead more from Tim's blog
He joins compatriot Luis Suarez, who tweeted: "I want to welcome Coates, partner in the Uruguay team, friend and great player," at Anfield.
Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish was keen to strengthen his defensive resources after Greek defender Sotirios Kyrgiakos left for Wolfsburg on a free transfer.
Manchester City were strongly linked with Coates but he has now joined a Liverpool squad recently bolstered by the arrivals of midfielders Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam and Stewart Downing, goalkeeper Doni and defender Jose Enrique.

Manchester City striker Craig Bellamy rejoins Liverpool

Liverpool have confirmed the signing of Manchester City forward Craig Bellamy.
The 32-year-old left Wales' training camp at Celtic Manor to head off for talks with the Reds and has now signed for his former club.
Full terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed, but the Reds say Bellamy has "signed a contract" and will wear the number 39 shirt.
The Wales international left Anfield in 2007 after only 12 months at the club having scored nine goals in 42 matches.
Bellamy has been out of favour at City since Roberto Mancini took over in December 2009.

Liverpool's Raul Meireles moves to Chelsea

Liverpool midfielder Raul Meireles has made a dramatic move to Chelsea in a deal worth £12m.
The 28-year-old handed in a transfer request on Wednesday and has signed a four-year deal.
Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas worked briefly with the Portugal international at Porto before Meireles moved to Anfield last August.
He is currently injured with a collarbone problem suffered at Exeter City in the Carling Cup.
Earlier this week, Liverpool turned down an offer of £8m plus Yossi Benayoun from their London rivals for the player, who they signed for £11.5m last season.
Benayoun announced earlier on Wednesday he had joined Arsenal from Chelsea on loan.
The Stamford Bridge club turned their attention to Meireles after being frustrated in their attempts to sign Tottenham's Luka Modric.
Meireles found his best form at Liverpool after Kenny Dalglish returned as manager in January and made two substitute League appearances this season, earning praise from Dalglish for his part in both goals in the 2-0 win at Arsenal

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Arsenal 0 - 2 Liverpool

Liverpool struck twice late on to secure their first league win at Arsenal for 11 years and increase Arsene Wenger's troubles.
Arsenal - featuring Samir Nasri in the line-up with his proposed move to Manchester City on hold - held their own until impressive youngster Emmanuel Frimpong was sent off with 20 minutes left.
Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish reacted by introducing Luis Suarez and Raul Meireles in what proved to be the decisive move, as the pair were involved in both goals.
They combined before youngster Ignasi Miquel, on for early injury victim Laurent Koscielny, saw a clearance deflect off Aaron Ramsey into his own net after 78 minutes and Suarez applied a simple finish from Meireles's pass in the dying seconds to wrap up Liverpool's first win of the season.
Gunners boss Wenger cut a frustrated figure as luck deserted an Arsenal side depleted by injuries and suspension, and still recovering from Monday's departure of captain Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona.
Arsenal applied plenty of effort but look desperately thin on rescources, something Wenger must address urgently, whereas Dalglish was able to bide his time before bringing on Suarez to make an emphatic impact.
Dalglish was ecstatic at the final whistle, whereas Wenger must now fear his defensive options will be reduced further by Koscielny's back problem ahead of Wednesday's Champions League qualifier against Udinese in Italy.
Wenger now faces 10 days that may not exactly define his future, but which have the capacity to shape the mood of an entire seasonPhil McNulty Read the rest of the blog here
Nasri received a mixed reception when his name was announced - but swiftly won over his detractors with an energetic and influential performance in the opening period, with youngster Frimpong also impressive.
Arsenal also had to regroup after the early loss of Koscielny with a back spasm. Young Spanish defender Miquel came on and Liverpool almost took advantage of the defensive readjustment as Andy Carroll rose to meet Stewart Downing's cross and produce an athletic save from Wojciech Szczesny.
Szczesny had an easier task to save from Jordan Henderson's header before Arsenal grew in confidence and started to threaten in the latter stages of the half.
Nasri demonstrated the verve that has made him such a coveted asset with a surging run from inside his own half that ended with him shooting just wide from 20 yards and Frimpong also forced a fine stop from Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina with a low drive.
As a downpour soaked the Emirates, Arsenal almost made the breakthrough after 68 minutes when Andrey Arshavin found Van Persie in the area but Reina stuck out a leg to make a vital save.
Wenger rubbed his hands through his rain-soaked hair in sheer frustration, and he was not feeling any better two minutes later when Frimpong marred what had been a performance of real promise with a wild challenge on Lucas that earned him a second yellow card and dismissal.
It was a big win for Liverpool and will help their confidence. This wasn't the Arsenal first team but there are problems. Arsene Wenger has to come up with some answers - he has to come with signings.
Dalglish used Liverpool's numerical advantage to make a double substitution, sending on Suarez and Meireles for Carroll and Dirk Kuyt. Wenger's response was to replace Arshavin with Henri Lansbury.
When the deadlock was broken, it came in cruel fashion for Arsenal with 12 minutes left. Miquel, with Suarez in close attendance, attempted to clear only to see his attempt strike Ramsey and loop over the stranded Szczesny.
The energy visibly drained out of Arsenal and Suarez's late second only increased the pain for Wenger and Arsenal's increasingly frustrated fans.