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.