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