Sunday, 24 November 2013

SAS Combine In Merseyside Derby

After a packed international break, Liverpool's stars returned to league focus for the Merseyside derby away to Everton yesterday afternoon.

Rodgers made two changes from the last match with Allen and Flanagan coming in for Enrique and  Sturridge with the latter on the bench, Everton started the better of the two sides as McCarthy threatened to open the scoring after a drive from the middle.
Liverpool countered with style as in the fifth minute they took the lead as Gerrard swept in a corner that Suarez flicked for Coutinho to control past Howard from close range. The lead lasted barely minutes as Everton equalised in the eighth minute as Mirallas connected to a loose ball in the Liverpool area to hit past fellow Belgian, Mignolet to level the score.

Mignolet was called into action again within minutes as he had to react quickly to deny another fellow Belgian, this time Lukaku who had broke through the defensive line but was skillfully denied by the Liverpool 'keeper. Liverpool regained the lead in the 19th minute as Suarez coolly swept in a free-kick that sailed past Howard and stunned the home fans while delighting the travelling reds.

Everton looked to repeat their earlier comeback and Mignolet was required to push a Barkely attempt past the post with Mirallas looking to seal a brace from distance only to see it fly wide. Mirallas was lucky to remain on the pitch minutes later after a bad challenge on Suarez just after the half-hour with the result being a booking for the Belgian and a cut leg for the Uruguayan.

Liverpool were happy at the break as they went in 2-1 up but Everton looked to change that early in the second half as Deulofeu replaced Baines and the Spaniard found massive space by a pinpoint ball from Mirallas but the focused Mignolet stuck a foot out to prevent the danger.

Liverpool could have all but sealed the win just on the hour when Allen found himself in front of goal with an unmarked Suarez in his sights but strangely went for goal and missed the target to the disgust of his teammate.
Mignolet denied Everton again by blocking a chance from Lukaku as Moses replaced Allen to try and increase the lead for the visitors but the ongoing battle of the Belgian's saw the attackers capitalise as Lukaku hit a free-kick against his international teammate and followed up with an equaliser amid a goal-mouth scramble. 
Liverpool looked to lead for a third time as Gerrard gave Suarez a great chance to head past Howard but the American denied him with a reflex stop which soon saw Sturridge come off the bench to replace Lucas.
Mignolet made a double stop from Deulofeu as the Spaniard raced down the left and from a resulting corner, Lukaku hit his second goal by rising highest to head past Mignolet and send the home fans wild and surely win the game for Everton.
Recent years have seen a twist in the final seconds and this year was no different as Gerrard swept in a free-kick which the in-form Sturridge headed home to the delight of an ecstatic travelling crowd as he salvaged a point. 

But there was still time for Suarez to have one last chance as he tested Howard and Liverpool did have the ball in the net for a fourth time but sadly it was rules out for offside with the last action of the game coming from Mignolet as he denied Deulofeu for one final time.

So an exciting Merseyside derby as always but a shame that a draw became a fair result which could have been very different had Allen been a team player when he had the chance to square to Suarez but enough of ifs and buts as we still sit second and that is still a massive achievement.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Reds Trounce Cottagers

After a poor defeat at Arsenal, Liverpool bounced back in style with a resounding win over Fulham on Saturday afternoon.

Rodgers made a range of changes including a switch to four at the back in came Agger, Johnson and Coutinho while Enrique returned on the bench, Liverpool started well with Agger hitting over after latching on Skrtel's pass while Coutinho shot wide.

Coutinho picked out Gerrard who in turn found Suarez and he attempted to set up his strike partner Sturridge but was denied by Stekelenburg, Fulham countered through Berbatov as he swept over a cross to Kasami but the resulting shot was blocked.

Mignolet soon denied Berbatov who clipped a chance towards goal but it was in vain minutes later as
Liverpool opened the scoring, Gerrard swept in a free kick which was flicked on by Agger and Suarez but went in off Amorebieta to Fulham's embarassment.

The vistors' mood got worse within minutes as Liverpool converted from another set-piece after Gerrard hit a superb corner which met the head of Skrtel who celebrated his first goal in 11 months since scoring against Fulham last December.

Liverpool pushed on for more and Coutinho hit a brilliant volley which was destined for the top corner only for Steklenburg to deny him a comeback goal and he was denied for a second time when his drilled shot was saved by the 'keeper.

Suarez got his name on the scoreboard with 36 minutes played as he connected to a through pass by Henderson and finished with style past his former Ajax teammate to pile the pressure on former boss Martin Jol and give Gerrard praise for a sweet nutmegging of Berbatov which had set the play up for Henderson.

Liverpool looked to continue where they left off as the SAS combined only to be denied by Stekelenburg including a rebound which missed the target but the wait for a fourth goal only took until the 54th minute when Gerrard played in Suarez who hit his eighth league goal of what has been a short season for him and he could have hit a quick third with a lob from halfway but it failed to trouble the 'keeper.

Fulham had a great chance to pull one back via Kasami's long-range effort but Liverpool continued their assault with Allen and Moses in place of Gerrard and Sturridge and there was a late appeal for a penalty for a tackle on Henderson but Parker's challenge was impressive and the right call was made.

Liverpool held on for a first clean sheet in eight games and sit second in the table going into the international break.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Gunners Defeat Reds

Both sides went into the game with hopes of continuing heir good form an it was the table topping Arsenal that made the first chance with Rosicky testing Mignolet six minutes in after finding space and firing across goal with the Belgian palming the ball away and soon Henderson attempted a chance at the other end but miscued at the vital moment.

Arsenal opened the scoring in strange fashion as Cazorla connected to Sagna's cross and headed against the post but with the defence still, he collected the rebounded and hit home to break the deadlock.