Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Balotell Fires Reds Past Spurs

After a stalemate in the Merseyside derby at the weekend, Liverpool looked to continue their stay at the top of the form table with the hosting of fellow in-form side Tottenham last night. Daniel Sturridge made his first start coming back from injury while Steven Gerrard featured from the start for the third time in a week.

A slow start from both sides at a chilly Anfield saw Liverpool take the first chance as Daniel Sturridge advanced on goal before forcing a low save from Hugo Lloris which was followed two minutes later by Steven Gerrard's free-kick sailing over the bar.

After retaining his place from the weekend, Jordon Ibe looked to build on a good performance and came close to claiming an assist when he picked out Sturridge who hit for goal only to be denied by a stunning stop from Lloris. However, the Spurs 'keeper was picking the ball out of the net two minutes later when an aerial challenge between Jan Vertonghen and Sturridge saw the ball find Lazar Markovic who advanced on goal and slotted past Lloris to open the scoring.

The visitors could have gone two behind five minutes later when Ryan Mason's back pass was cut-out by Sturridge who looked to test Lloris but could only sent the ball over the bar. Mason's error had gone unpunished and instead of being 2-0 down, Tottenham were soon level as Eric Lamela slipped a pass through to Harry Kane who slotted past Simon Mignolet to make it 1-1.

Liverpool's response saw Ibe test Lloris after a pacy run before the young winger found Sturridge who in the final seconds of the first half, performed a backheel flick which cannoned off the post and the Reds attack continued into the second half which saw Sturridge's advance into the box on 52 minutes result in a penalty.

Steven Gerrard stepped up and fired past Hugo Lloris to put the hosts in front but the lead lasted just eight minutes as Spurs drew level after Christian Eriksen's free-kick had forced Simon Mignolet into a strong save, Harry Kane crossed for Moussa Dembele who clipped the ball into the net.

Liverpool changed tact with Steven Gerrard being replaced by Dejan Lovren which allowed Emre Cam to move into midfield which came close to a quick impact when he found Phillipe Coutinho who in turn supplied Lazar Markovic who forced a stop from Lloris.

Both sides made further changes as the game entered the final 15 minutes with Sturride and Markovic replaced by Adam Lallana and Mario Balotelli while Spurs brought on Nacer Chadli in place of Christian Eriksen. As the game entered the final ten minutes, Liverpool's changes paid off as Adam Lallana clipped the ball across the box and into the path of Mario Balotelli who fired past Lloris to put the Reds in front with his first league goal for the club.

Tottenham pushed to level for a third time but were unable to prevent Liverpool from securing a huge victory and completing a league double over them.