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.