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.