Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Liverbird Sits Top Of The Tree At Christmas

Liverpool could not have had a better preparation for the visit of Cardiff after Luis Suarez signed a new long-term contract to silence the doubters as he continued as captain to send the Reds back to the top of the league.

Liverpool started well as Sterling dashed past the Bluebirds defence and crossed only to see it cleared straight to Suarez who volleyed past the post, The Uruguayan had another effort blocked by Taylor after being put in by Sterling and the result was Coutinho hitting wide.
 
Mutch responded for the visitors with a low effort with Mignolet called into action to deny Noone's curler after 15 minutes, Mutch connected to the resulting corner to head past the post and minutes later, Suarez had another go but saw his shot deflected behind.
 
Suarez only had a further seven minutes to wait to continue his stunning scoring run as a combination of Coutinho and Henderson saw Suarez hit a superb volley across goal and into the bottom corner to the delight of the home fans.

A second could have come quickly as Coutinho tricked into the area and hit towards goal only to be denied as the ball smashed off the crossbar and Skrtel later headed over after collecting from Flanagan.

Cardiff looked to be still in the game as half-time approached but went further behind in the 42nd minute as Liverpool countered with Suarez in open space and as he advanced on goal he unselfishly squared for Sterling who tapped into the empty net for a 2-0 lead.
 
However that was soon three as Suarez latched on to Henderson's skillful backheel to finish expertly past Marshall and send his side 3-0 up at the break. The second half saw Liverpool continue to pressure as Suarez picked out Flanagan who teed up Allen who was denied by Turner.
 
Cardiff needed a goal quickly to have any chance of a comeback and got lucky just before the hour mark as Mutch was left unmarked at the back post and headed past Mignoley to give the travelling fans hope, Mignolet was called on to deny a second Cardiff strike as Turner headed at him but the Belgian kept it out.
 
Liverpool came close to a fourth as Sterling raced forward and lost control only for Suarez to recover the ball and hit past the post. Coutinho found Allen but saw the Welshman head over and the last action of the game saw Suarez attempted to secure his hat-trick but hit off target from the edge of the area as the Reds held on for the win.

As this is a delayed report, Arsenal and Chelsea's draw last night means that Liverpool top the table at Christmas but the omens are against them as they are the last team to be top on Christmas and not win the league with the previous four all being successful, their failure being famously blamed on the 'Rafa Rant' in 2009.