Sunday, 28 April 2013

Liverpool hit Newcastle for Six

After a big week for Liverpool over the Suarez bite incident, many thought that they would struggle without the 30-goal superstar but how wrong they were as the Reds swept six past a woeful Newcastle.

The main change was Sturridge replacing the suspended Suarez who will sit out the next ten games so Sturridge will have to lead the line alone for a while.

Liverpool flew out of the blocks as Coutinho slid a ball to Johnson in space who squared to Sturridge but Taylor in the Newcastle defence quelled the danger but in clearing the box they left Coutinho and Agger open and the Dane rose to head past Elliot to open the scoring in the 3rd minute.

Liverpool bossed Newcastle all over the park and added to their lead after a sweet run from Coutinho towards goal saw him roll the ball through to Sturridge who picked out Henderson who tapped home from close range and raced away in celebration.

Newcastle should have pulled one back in the 38th minute as Perch smashed over a free header from barely a few yards to leave the Geordies still two behind into the break.

Newcastle came out firing on all cylinders and only Johnson's quick block denied Cabaye a certain goal from close range which was costly for the home side as Liverpool scored a third, Coutinho involved yet again as he lifted a ball over the defence where Sturridge deftly collected and smashed past Elliot for 3-0.

An hour gone and the game ended as a contest as Gerrard's exquisite pass over the top for Henderson allowed him to roll the ball across the box to the unmarked Sturridge who tapped home for his eighth Liverpool goal in 2013.

Gerrard departed in the 72nd minute and replaced by the returning Borini who had come back from shoulder surgery and a long time on the sidelines but he made an instant impact after latching onto a cross from  Downing to smash home his first league goal in the Liverpool red and give Liverpool a 5-0 lead.

Debuchy who had been booked in the first half for a scuffle with Sturridge received his marching orders in the 75 minute for a dangerous two-footed challenge on Coutinho and from the resulting free-kick, Henderson swept in a sweetly curled effort which evaded everyone and flew past Elliot for his second goal and Liverpool's sixth.

All afternoon for Liverpool it was Coutinho who was the most deserving of a goal for his efforts and he came so close with a super strike which was tipped onto the bar by the diving Elliot and kept Liverpool from a magnificent seventh.

Full time and a crushing win for Liverpool to quell doubters that they would struggle without Suarez and show that without the Uruguayan, their attack is just as potent which is good timing with the Merseyside derby against city rivals Everton on the cards for next Sunday.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Suarez goes from Villain to Hero to Deny Chelsea

 Liverpool played host to Chelsea on an afternoon that saw the first return of fans favourite Rafa Benitez and the pre-match hype certainly lived up in a frantic 90 minutes.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Ruthless Reading Deny Liverpool

After a hard fought draw against West Ham United, Liverpool travelled to face relegation threatened Reading needing to get back to winning ways in order to maintain a push for a finish in the European places.

Prior to kick-off, Reading and Liverpool  paid an emotional tribute to the 96 Liverpool fans who died at Hillsborough ahead of Monday's 24th anniversary of the disaster with a minute's silence which was very respectively observed.

Only one change was made to the Liverpool team from last week as Sturridge came in and Downing dropped down to the subs bench and it was a quiet start by both sides with the opening chance not coming until the 14th minute. Coutinho split the defence and sent Suarez towards the goal and his dink over McCarthy was superb but Gunter got back and cleared on the goal line.

Liverpool continued to pressure the home side and Suarez found Sturridge in space and despite a delay he forced a save from McCarthy which saw the ball go to Coutinho but his low curling shot was tipped past the post by the Reading stopper.

Reading were being pushed more and more as Sturridge soon found Suarez but McCarthy denied him again and Gerrard volleyed the rebound right at Karacan.

Coutinho tried again after a surge from Sturridge but a high skewed shot was the result and McCarthy kept the score level just before the break as a superb save came after a point blank shot from Sturridge.

Just like last week, Liverpool did have the ball in the net this time early in the second half but a skilful flick by Coutinho from Gerrard's ball was chalked off for offside to keep the balance score-wise.

Rodgers opted to change to try and end the balance with Downing replacing Henderson just before the hour mark but Coutinho skimmed a chance wide of the post to continue at 0-0.

The breakthrough nearly came from Reading as Pogrebnyak set up Hunt who forced an excellent stop from Reina from close range and the Spaniard was called into action again to tip over McAnuff's drive from 12 yards.

The Reading pressure spured Liverpool into action and Suarez guided a long range free-kick around the wall and clipped the outside of the post to the gasps of the travelling fans.

McCarthy continued his man of the match performance with superb saves from Gerrard and Suarez before finally denying Sturridge to seal a well earned point for his team.

Neither side has really profited from the stalemate as Reading are still in deep trouble at the bottom and with Everton's win, Liverpool are further behing in the chase to finish above their rivals as well as the chase for the European places which resumes at Anfield next Sunday against Chelsea which sees a first return for fans favourite Rafa Benitez.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Liverpool v West Ham

Liverpool played host to West Ham in the final home game before the 24th anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy and prior to kick off, a minutes silence was respectively observed.

Liverpool were unchanged from the win at Aston Villa and looked to keep up a fifty year unbeaten run at home to the Hammers which could have begun well had Coutinho beat Jaaskelainen but he forced a good save from the Finn.
Gerrard, Jordan Henderson and Luis Suarez all had chances of their own but it was the Hammers who had the best chance to break the deadlock in the 25th minute after a powerful run by Diame saw him fly past three defenders but his effort on goal blazed over.

Liverpool were forced to make a change as Downing was replaced by Sturridge and a slick one-two between Suarez and Coutinho almost opened the scoring but the Brazilian's drive was saved by the boot of Jaaskelainen.

West Ham pressured and nearly profited from a Lucas Leiva mistake as his slip let Cole have a stab at goal but a brave well-timed block by Agger kept the score level and in stoppage time, Liverpool
 pushed again and as Jaaskelaninen misjudged Coutinho's corner it allowed Sturridge to fire from point-blank range but the Finn recovered to ensure a stalemate at half time.

They continued their pressure after the restart and Gerrard put in a threatening cross with Sturridge lurking but Diame cleared the danger and only a goal-line clearance by Tomkins denied the Liverpool captain from opening the scoring.

The ball was in the net in the 66th minute as Sturridge diverted Henderson's shot past the keeper but the celebrations were cut after after the goal was ruled out for offside and moments later Coutinho show narrowly wide of the upright.

It seemed that West Ham were content with a draw and Liverpool  more interested in pushing for a win but in the final minutes it was the Hammers that had a glorious chance to secure the win as Jack Collison powered a header at goal but it was cleared on the line by Lucas who ensured that the fifty year unbeaten home record stayed intact and secured a hard fought draw.

Next up is a trip to Reading who are in deep relegation trouble and could be on the verge of relegation if Liverpool get back to winning ways but their recent meetings against the Reds show that anything can happen with them shocking Liverpool most significantly in the FA Cup in 2010 so we will see what happens.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Aston Villa v Liverpool

After a long international break gave them time to reflect on the defeat at Southampton, Liverpool travelled down to face relegation-threatened Aston Villa.

Four changes from the last game saw Reina, Carragher, Lucas and Henderson all come in but Villa got off to the best start with Agger twice denying them an opening goal early on. Lucas had a good chance in the 16th minute before Reina denied Agbonlahor.

The deadlock broke in the 31st minute as a pinpoint ball from Guzan to Agbonlahor saw him lay off to Benteke who smashed home past Reina from the edge of the area to ease the home side's worries and give them something to cheer about.

Liverpool's response was good as Suarez went one on one with Guzan but was denied an equaliser while Gerrard's lash from long range stung the gloves of Guzan and meant they went into the break behind.

They came out and stunned Villa by equalising within two minutes of the second half as Coutinho slipped in a through ball for Henderson to sweep past Guzan and score his fourth of the season.

Liverpool could have gone 2-1 up eight minutes later when Suarez split open the back line and picked out Coutinho only for the Brazilian to hit wide of the post and Johnson shook the post with a shot from distance before Liverpool were awarded a penalty after Suarez was fouled by Baker.

Gerrard stepped up and made no mistake in safely guiding the ball past Guzan who dived the right way but was unable to prevent Liverpool completing their comeback.

The conceding of the second goal spurred Villa on and Weimann could have equalised before a crucial diving headed block from Gerrard on the line frustrated and denied Benteke of a brace with Reina tipping over a mis-hit cross minutes later.

Liverpool held on for victory and kept their hopes of a European place for next season very much alive while defeat meant Villa remained in trouble and still in the bottom three.

Next up for Liverpool is the hosting of West Ham and the return of Cole and loanee Carroll to Anfield next Sunday in a big weekend for the city with the Grand National the day before.