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.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Suarez Treble Downs Baggies

After coming back to draw at Newcastle, Liverpool played host to a West Brom side who had been victorious in the last three meetings between the sides and needed to continue that run to move up the table.

Lucas returned in place of Victor Moses as Liverpool looked to get back to winning ways and Suarez had an early chance after strike partner Sturridge set him up but his shot narrowly went past the post. Suarez turned provider for Gerrard but saw the play maker's chance go the same way as his previous one but within minutes there were appeals for a penalty after McAuley looked to have fouled Suarez but nothing given.

Suarez was rewarded for his early exploits with the opening goal in the 11th minute as he swept past three defenders to slide the ball past Myhill to the joy of the home fans, Suarez added a second withing six minutes with a lucky cross from Cissokho finding him perfectly to hit a stunning header into the top corner from 17 yards out. 

Two could have been three for Liverpool as Skrtel connected to a Gerrard set-piece but mishit with the goal at his mercy while Suarez hit a clever free-kick which went past the post from 25 yards and Henderson was achingly close with a sweeping shot from the edge of the box.

Former Red Nicolas Anelka could have pulled a goal back right on half time after evading Mignolet but Skrtel ruined his hopes with a clearance before the line to ensure a first half clean sheet with the score at 2-0.

Both sides came out looking to score and Sturridge hit a free-kick narrowly past the post while Yacob hit a curler which failed to test Mignolet, Liverpool all but secured the win in the 55th minute as Suarez completed his hat-trick after latching onto Gerrard's free-kick and heading past Myhill.

West Brom were handed a lifeline as they were awarded a penalty which Morrison swept home past the diving Mignolet for 3-1 and minutes later Brunt hit an effort across goal and a snap-shot but neither resulted in a second Baggies goal.

Brunt's failure to convert proved costly as soon after, Sturridge stunned the crowd with a spectacular deft chip from 20 yards which flew over Myhill and into the corner for a 4-1 lead. Suarez could have finished with a stylish fourth as he hit an overhead kick which forced Myhill to tip the ball onto the bar and at the other end, Mignolet stopped Morrison as Liverpool secured a comfortable win.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

SAS Salvage Draw at Newcastle

Going into the international break, Liverpool were sitting joint top after a win over Crystal Palace and hoped that their good form would continue away to Newcastle. The past meeting between the sides are famous for being goal fests and in the early kick off on Saturday it was no different.

Newcastle sought revenge for the 6-0 crushing they suffered in April and they started with clear intent of shutting Liverpool down but it took a stunning strike from Cabaye to confirm their pressure as he let go from distance with a powerful shot which spun past the shielding Cissokho which hindered Mignolet's view and saw the ball fly into the net to send the home fans into hysterics.

The Frenchman could have had a second soon after as he hit an effort which came close to the cross bar and his fellow attacker Sissoko could have scored as he tested Mignolet with a strong shot which forced the Belgian to save acrobatically.

Newcastle's dominance suffered a crucial blow three minutes from half time as Suarez who had been fairly quiet so far in the game collected a pass from Sturridge and swooped into the box only to be shoved by Yanga-Mbiwa who saw himself sent off for the offence leaving the Magpies playing with ten for the rest of the game, Gerrard stepped up and successfully scored from the spot for his 100th league goal for Liverpool and ensured the sides were level into the interval.

Liverpool now needed to take advantage and could have taken the lead when Johnson forced Krul to turn the ball past the post early in the half while Skrtel's deft touch prevented Remy from beating Mignolet from close range.

Liverpool's failure to capitalise on their numerical advantage saw Newcastle take a 2-1 lead with a goal from Dummett who latched on to a looping cross to hit past Mignolet and write a new name into Newcastle folklore. Rodgers saw that changes needed to be made to comeback and brought Alberto on in place of Sakho and the change paid dividends as Liverpool were soon back on level terms.

Suarez broke clear and waited for his strike partner Sturridge to race into the area who then connected to the Uruguayan's cross to head home with a diving header as the 'SAS' struck again in devastating style. 

Liverpool pushed forward for a winner and came achingly close as Suarez skimmed the crossbar with a stinging volley but the miss meant the sides shared the points but saw Liverpool return to the top of the table if only for a few hours. 

Monday, 7 October 2013

Liverpool Top As SAS Down Palace

Liverpool returned to the top of the Premier League after a 3-1 win at home to Crystal Palace which saw a repeat performance from the new 'SAS'.

Lucas' suspension meant he was replaced by Sterling in an otherwise unchanged Liverpool side who started the better with Suarez finding space to setup Gerrard who hit a swooping shot which was denied a chance at goal by Delaney.

Palace responded when Puncheon picked out Jerome only for the striker to head wide of the goal, but the deadlock could have broken in the 11th minute as an unmarked Moses attempted a flick which didn't come off as he had hoped.

Liverpool opened the scoring in style as Suarez linked up with Enrique to sway through the Palace defence and drive the ball past Speroni for his third goal in two games and the lead was increased to two within four minutes as Sturridge shimmied past the challenging defenders to hit into the far corner and send the home fans into celebration.
Palace needed a quick response and were unlucky not to comeback to 2-2 as Kebe raced passed the home defence and hit goalwards beating Mignolet but denied by Toure's clearance off the line and the rebound from Kebe was saved by Mignolet. Jerome swept in a cross which deflected off Toure but luckily for Liverpool was cleared by Sakho.

Their failure to convert from previous chances cost Palace as their hopes of a comeback were dealt a big blow as they conceded a penalty in the 37th minute after Sterling was tripped and Gerrard converted past Speroni for a 3-0 lead. 

Three could have become four as Moses after connecting to a Suarez pass hit the crossbar while Suarez himself tested Speroni with a drive to the left but was denied as the Reds went in 3-0 up at the break.

The second half was devoid of any real action until a chance from Sterling tested Speroni, Puncheon was denied by Mignolet after his shot deflected off a Liverpool defender and Gayle swept a powerful strike over the bar.

Agger came on for Sakho as Palace threatened to damaged Liverpool's clean sheet and were soon successful as after Sterling was penalised for a foul,Campana swept in a dangerous free-kick which Gayle latched onto to glance the ball into the corner past Mignolet and give Palace hope at 3-1.

It was consolation if anything for Palace who could have gone three behind again as Sturridge hit a shot from the edge of the box which struck the post but Liverpool claimed a 3-1 win which sent them top of the league until this afternoon when Arsenal's draw put them top on goals scored but to be joint top into the international break is great considering where we were a year ago.

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.