Sunday, 29 September 2013

Suarez Brace Beats Sunderland

Liverpool looked to get back to winning ways with a trip to Sunderland, Simon Mignolet faced his former side for the first time and Luis Suarez played in the league for the first time in five months.

Liverpool started well and thought they had opened the scoring as Skrtel connected to a Gerrard free-kick to hit past Westwood but his celebration was cut short by a flag for offside. Mignolet was enjoying a quiet return to Sunderland but was called into action in the 24th minute when Larsson hit a curling free-kick that beat the Belgian but cannoned off the crossbar as the sides stayed level.

Larsson's job changed from attacker to defender as he defended a Gerrard corner but the in-form Sturridge connected and his attempt clipped the Swede and went in handing Liverpool the lead and continued Sturridge's scoring run in 2013/14.

Sunderland fell further behind within minutes as Sturridge turned provider for the returning Suarez as he swept down the right and flicked the ball across the area giving the Uruguayan an easy tap in to score his first goal of the season and send the travelling fans wild.

The home side could have reduced the deficit when Gardner met Cattermole's pass and hit an effort at goal only to be denied by Mignolet;s trailing leg and just before the break, Adam Johnson curled a spectacular chance towards Mignolet but the ball scraped over the bar and meant Liverpool went in with a 2-0 lead.

Suarez could have doubled his tally minuted into the second half as he latched on to a corner and hit a strong shot which went wide, Sunderland were back in the game after a Mignolet mistake as he failed to hold a shot from Ki from 30-yards and Giaccherini took advantage and side footed past the stranded 'keeper.

Mignolet did make amends for the error minutes later as he saved a long range effort from Gardner, Liverpool pushed for a third and Moses came close as he hit a powerful shot which was pushed over the bar by Westwood.

Suarez who was hungry for a second goal had two great chances to score, first with a chance from the edge of the area which was blocked and then hit a rebound that went wide.Kolo Toure found himself in space and tested Westwood with an effort from 25-yards which was going towards the top corner but was expertly tipped over by the Sunderland 'keeper.

A 25-yard shot from the somewhat unlikely source of Kolo Toure nearly secured the Reds a third goal but his effort, which was destined for the top corner, was parried over by the diving Westwood.

A statistic that has dogged Liverpool so far this season is their failure to register a second half goal but that changed in the final minutes as Sturridge again turned provider for Suarez as he pulled the ball back for his strike partner to side foot past Westwood and seal a 3-1 win propelling his side to second in the table.

 An impressive performance for a partnership that has all the potential e of the former 'SAS' of Shearer and Sutton for Blackburn and the icing on the cake for Liverpool after the Ladies side sealed a first FAWSL title over Bristol and dethroning Arsenal who had won the league for nine consecutive seasons.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Hernandez Puts Liverpool Out

After the weekend defeat to Southampton in the league, Liverpool turned their focus to an away trip to play Manchester United in the Capital One Cup fourth round.

Surprisingly, United named a slightly weakened side when compared to a strong Liverpool lineup with included the return of Luis Suarez but it was the home side that started the better as Nani hit a 20-yard shot that flew wide and failing to trouble Mignolet.

Liverpool fought back and a neat combination of passes between Suarez and Sturridge saw the latter surge towards goal only to hit narrowly wide and shortly after, Suarez collected from a long pass to the back post but was prevented from a chance by De Gea.

Liverpool seemed to have the momentum but the United defence held firm as the sides went into half time level at 0-0. The equality lasted barely seconds into the second half as a Rooney corner was flicked in on the volley by Hernandez to send the home fans wild and give United the lead.

Liverpool fought back and could have equalised through Henderson as a Sturridge pass found Evans but the United defender could only clear to Henderson who side-footed a shot but it rolled wide of the goal.

Kagawa could have made it 2-0 as he charged down the middle and swept a powerful shot which beat Mignolet but found the top of the crossbar, this spured on Liverpool's search for a leveller and Suarez met a corner on the edge of the area but could only find the side netting.

A diving header by Moses from Enrique's cross went straight at De Gea as Liverpool piled on the pressure, Suarez hit a superb free-kick which deflected on the path towards the goal and smashed against the crossbar.

Rooney had two great chances to kill Liverpool's hopes, first with an effort from 20 yards
The forward's whipped free-kick was pushed out wide by Mignolet before his 20-yard curling effort from the resulting corner was also denied by the Belgian custodian.
In the closing moments of the match, Henderson received a short corner and whipped a shot towards the near post that deflected and took De Gea by surprise as it smacked against the goal frame.
Shortly after, Suarez found space in behind the Red Devils' rearguard to roll the ball across to Kolo Toure, whose side-footed attempt was dragged off-target - ensuring United progressed into the next round of the competition.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Lovren Shocks Reds At Anfield

Liverpool hosted Southampton hoping to register a record start to the season but saw their unbeaten record ruined thanks to a goal from Dejan Lovren who secured a shock win.

Liverpool tried their luck early on as Sturridge picked out Henderson who curled a shot which was taken by Boruc and soon followed by a long range effort by Lucas which failed to trouble the 'keeper.

Boruc faced more of a test when Gerrard chanced with a 30-yard free-kick that forced him into an acrobatic save to keep the score level but Southampton soon came close to hitting an opener themselves as a swooping cross from the left found Lambert bu as he shot, Skrtel blocked the path and cleared the danger.

Liverpool pushed for a breakthrough and came close with a clever solo chance by Moses that forced Boruc to tip it over the bar after the defence failed to stop the winger, Liverpool's frustration increased as Sturridge came close from Gerrard's free-kick as he flicked a header that went just past the far post to take the sides level into the interval.

Southampton began the second half well and Lallana could have opened the scoring as Liverpool lost possession at the back and the midfielder forced a save from Mignolet.

That was just the starter as Lallana collected an assist as his corner found the head of Lovren who powered a header past the Belgian stopper to stun the home fans into silence and sent the travelling Saints into hysterics.

Migolet was called into action to smother Osvaldo's chance which was heading for the bottom corner and denied a fine effort from Shaw.

Sterling raced down the right and drew Boruc off his line which gave the winger the chance to square the ball to Henderson but he was then denied by Lovren, Liverpool continued to push down the right and Sturridge had a great chance but couldn't level the score.

 Southmapton held on for a famous win and Liverpool were left to reflect on missed chances but they remained top of the table for now with a trip to Old Trafford in the League Cup the next test for them.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Old Boy Shelvey Stars In 2-2 Draw

Liverpool regained top spot after a hard fought draw away to Swansea on Monday night in a game that was dubbed ' The Shelvey Show.'

The Reds handed debuts to Sakho and Moses with hopes of a fourth win of the season and keeping their clean sheet record intact but latter evaporated inside two minutes as Shelvey haunted his former team-mates with a wriggling run before curling a shot past Mignolet to open the scoring and shock the home fans into joy.

However, he went from hero to villain within a minute as a stray back pass to Vorm was intercepted by a ghosting Sturridge who collected the ball and fired it past Vorm for the equaliser while becoming the first Liverpool player to score in the first four games of a season since John Aldridge in 1987.

Sturridge could have made it five in four in the 25th minute after excellent play from Moses picked him out but a powerful shot was palmed away by Vorm. Swansea themselves could have taken the lead after a neat exchange between Bony and Michu saw Bony shoot for goal but was denied by Mignolet.

Liverpool did take the lead though in the 36th minute as Moses connected to a wayward pass from Shelvey, surged towards the goal and hit a wonderful drive past Vorm to score a brilliant debut goal. The lead could have been instantly equalled as Bony had a great chance to tap in only to be denied by a crucial goal-line clearance by Skrtel which ensured Liverpool led into the half-time interval.

Liverpool started the half well as Wisdom tested Vorm with a low drive but the Reds were soon dealt a blow as Coutinho left the field injured in the 54th minute and it seemed that he took their attacking spirit off with him as he was hit with a late tackle by Williams and replaced by Aspas.

Swansea capitalised and yet again Shelvey was the main focus as he hit a pass to Michu who flicked the ball past Mignolet to level the score, they could have made it three late on as an acrobatic save from Mignolet denied De Guzman and meant a share of the points for the two teams.

An amazing game and a draw was a fair result overall and as Liverpool now sit top of the league with 10 points from 12, there is no reason to complain but hopefully they will extend their unbeaten run with a win at home to Southampton on Saturday.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Sturridge Downs United With Birthday Strike

Liverpool hosted rivals Manchester United with David Moyes hoping to eradicate his poor record at Anfield while Liverpool celebrated the 100th birthday of legendary manager Bill Shankly, but it was another birthday boy who sealed the headlines...

Liverpool started well and earned a corner kick inside three minutes and as Agger glanced a header across goal up popped Daniel Sturridge to head home past De Gea and cause Anfield to erupt as he celebrated turning 24 with his third goal in as many games this season while becoming the second player to do so in the Premier League for Liverpool.

The goal proved to be the impetus for an array of chances, Van Persie hit an acrobatic overhead after being played in by Evra and at the other end, Coutinho hit an effort wide from 25 yards. Welbeck attempted to test Mignolet but his shot was an easy take for the Belgian stopper.

United had a great chance minutes later as Young swept in a corner which went across the box and surprised an unmarked Van Persie at the far post who failed to control and finish as the ball bounced to safety.

As the game progressed, United became more aggressive in their attack as frustration began to set in as they went in 1-0 down at the break but early in the second period, they should have levelled when a Liverpool clearance found Young who guided a half-volley towards goal but was superbly denied by Johnson.

Twenty minutes to go and United still pushed to equalise with veteran Ryan Giggs meeting Nani's corner to glance a header towards goal but Mignolet was on hand for an easy catch to protect the lead and he was in action again as Nani danced in from the right and hit a sharp drive which the Belgian palmed away after a superb dive. 

The points could have been shared late on as Van Persie had United's best chance of the game as Hernandez slipped a ball through to the Dutchman who failed to establish a good connection and saw his attempt slide into the side netting.

Liverpool could have added to their lead in the final seconds when Sterling aimed for the top corner only to be denied by De Gea but they held on for a famous win, one which puts them two points clear at the top of the table as the only team to have a 100% record while also being the sole team with three clean sheets as the league goes into the international break.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Liverpool 4 Notts County 2 (Capital One Cup Rd 2)

After missing out on european qualification last season, Liverpool joined the Capital One Cup at the second round stage and played host to Notts County.

Debuts were handed to Aly Cissokho and Luis Alberto as a strong Liverpool side hoped for a safe passage to the third round and they made the perfect start as Sterling scored in the fourth minute after powering down the middle and drilling a shot past the diving Bialkowski to send Anfield wild.

However, there was bad news in the 10th minute as Cissokho went down injured and had to be replaced by Agger ruining his debut but Agger nearly made an instant impact as he met Gerrard's free-kick to glance a header at goal which cannoned off the post.

Sturridge continued his run of scoring in successive games as he collected a pass from Gerrard and rifled a shot into the far corner for a 2-0 lead, Agger came close to adding a third when he nodded towards goal but found the palms of Bialkowski.

As half-time approached, Gerrard continued the Liverpool threat as he latched on to a pass from Sterling and smashed a shot against the near post which meant Liverpool lead 2-0 at the break. Early in the second half, it was clear that Liverpool's approach was more reserved and County had a chance through McGregor but from 30 yards out he failed to test Mignolet who saved with ease.

County used that chance to spur them on and it bore fruit minutes later as they reduced the deficit from a clever free-kick, Smith glanced a header across goal allowing the onrushing Arquin to nod past Mignolet from six yards.
Liverpool were thwarted by the post again when Toure met a Gerrard cross on the volley which beat Bialkowski but didn't find the net but with six minutes remaining, Liverpool came unstuck as Arquin surged through the defence and swept in a cross which was met by substitute Coombes who tucked the ball past Mignolet to level the tie and send the away fans into ecstasy. 
The prospect of extra-time loomed as Agger took a go from 25 yards that took a delfection and flew off target and Sterling sliced Johnson's cross past the post. Extra-time began and Liverpool were dealt another defensive blow as Toure went off injured leaving them with 10 men having used all three substitutes.
Despite the numerical disadvantage, Liverpool regained the lead as Sturridge finished off a rapid counter-attack which saw Coutinho find the striker in open space and pick him out to allow him to drill a shot from a tight angle that got a touch from Bialkowski but not strong enough to prevent Liverpool leading 3-2.

A safe passage to the third round was endured after a pacy run by Jordan Henderson saw him nutmeg Liddle before sweeping the ball past Bialkowski to seal a 4-2 win. Liverpool made it hard as has become a tradition against lower-league sides in the cup so maybe a tie against a fellow top-flight team in the next round may see them keep their foot on the gas rather than backing off in the second half.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Aston Villa 0 Liverpool 1 (EPL 2)

Liverpool made it two wins from two thanks to a strike from Daniel Sturridge who sealed victory over Aston Villa.

The win meant that Liverpool had won consecutive league games for the first time since December 2011 and they started the game well by dominating possession but shots on target were hard to create as it took until the 15th minute before either side had a real chance.

Coutinho curled the ball over the bar after failing to test Guzan but six minutes later, a clever move saw Coutinho dummy a pass from Enrique which found its way to Sturridge who showed neat footwork before smashing the ball past Guzan to the joy of the travelling fans.

Aside from taking the lead, the strike was the 100th goal of Rodgers' reign as Liverpool manager and Liverpool were in complete control but that was threatened just before the break as Mignolet was called into action to deny a curler from Benteke and did so with a full length save to protect the lead into the interval.
Villa pressured the visitors as Bacuna hit a dangerous free-kick which found the Liverpool wall and within seconds, Westwood drove a shot over the bar. Liverpool's new loan signing, Aly Cissokho came on in place of Iago Aspas for his debut and Villa continued to threaten an equaliser which they nearly had when Benteke rose to meet a corner.

The contest entered the final stages and Tonev forced a low save from Mignolet but Benteke connected to a bouncing ball into the box and hit a powerful effort which saw Mignolet palm the ball past the post and make sure that he claimed a second consecutive clean sheet and three points that put Liverpool up to joint top on six points.