Thursday, 27 March 2014

Reds continue title charge beating Black Cats

Sports - Football - Premier League - Liverpool 2:1 Sunderland

Liverpool continued their Premier League title charge going second after narrowly beating Sunderland 2-1 at Anfield.

Steven Gerrard fires in the opener from a free-kick

Skipper Steven Gerrard netted a free-kick vintage style, with unstoppable speed and quality curl to open the scoring after 38 minutes.

Striker Daniel Sturridge doubled the score shortly after the break, with a deflection off Wes Brown into the top left corner of the net to make Liverpool only the third club in Premier League history to record two players with 20+ goals.

Steven Gerrard
The former Chelsea striker and Luis Suarez have now scored the same amount of goals as the whole Manchester United team = 48 goals, the best partnership in Europe!

Sunderland did produce a threat, midfielder Lee Cattermole shattering the bar shortly before sub Ki Sung-Yueng headed one on off a corner, showing Brendan Rodgers' men's weakness and frailty at the back and making it a nervous final quarter of an hour for the Reds.

An unmarked John O'Shea came close to spoil the show late on, but the home side held on to a crucial win, keeping the title race wide open, just one point behind league leaders Chelsea with seven games to go.

Liverpool 2-1 Sunderland

Liverpool Goals: 1.: 38:12min Steven Gerrard (8), 2.: 47:44min Daniel Sturridge (15).

Sunderland Goals: 1.: 75:30min Ki Sung-Yueng (4).

Liverpool Team: 22 Mignolet; 38 Flanagan, 5 Agger, 37 Skrtel, 2 Johnson; 8 Gerrard; 14 Henderson, 24 Allen; 10 Coutinho; 7 Suarez, 15 Sturridge (31 Sterling- 77th min). 4-1-2-1-2
Subs not used: 1 Jones, 9 Aspas, 12 Moses, 17 Sakho, 20 Cissokho, 21 Lucas.

Sunderland Team: 25 Mannone; 27 Vergini (booked 37th min), 16 O'Shea, 5 Brown; 3 Dossena (14 Colback- 83rd min), 26 Bridcutt, 33 Cattermole, 2 Bardsley (booked 40th min); 23 Giaccherini (11 Johnson- 61st min); 10 Wickham (4 Ki Sung-Yueng- 61st min), 17 Altidore. 3-4-2-1
Subs not used: 7 Larsson, 29 Roberge, 30 Scocco, 32 Usteri.

Opta Match Stats: Liverpool-Sunderland
Shots: 21-12
On Target: 7-4
Blocked Shots: 3-2
From outside the box: 12-7
From inside the box: 9-5
Accuracy: 38.9%-40%
(General Play)
Possession: 61.1%-38.9%
Duels Won: 56.3%-43.7%
Aerial Duels Won: 59.3%-40.7%
Interceptions: 15-7
Offsides: 2-2
Corners: 3-4
Total Passes: 588-348
Long: 8%-16.1%
Accuracy: 87.6%-75%
Opp. Half: 81.1%-64%
Total Crosses: 15-24
Successful: 13.3%-16.7%
(Defence & Discipline)
Tackles: 17-27
Tackles Won: 76.5%-85.2%
Clearances: 32-17
Fouls Conceded: 5-15
Yellow Cards: 0-2
Red Cards: 0-0

Referee: Kevin Friend
Attendance: 44,524
Man of the Match: Philippe Coutinho

Monday, 24 March 2014

Suarez hat-trick sinks Cardiff in 9-goal thriller

Sports - Football - Premier League - Cardiff 3:6 Liverpool

A Luis Suarez hat-trick plus Martin Skrtel double and Daniel Sturridge goal all added up to Liverpool sinking Cardiff City 3-6 in a nine-goal thriller in Wales.

Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge celebrate at Cardiff

The Bluebirds took the game to the Reds from kick-off and were rewarded early on, taking the lead after just nine minutes thanks to Jordon Mutch punishing former Swansea midfielder Joe Allen for his giveaway with a low, left-footed drive past Simon Mignolet.

But it didn't take long for Brendan Rodgers' men to hit back, as Glen Johnson's cross found Suarez, who made no mistake of beating David Marshall from close range to level the score 1-1 in the 16th minute.

Nine minutes later, Fraizer Campbell took advantage of a slow Red defence with loads of space from nearly the same spot as Mutch scored to make it 2-1 and turn Cardiff City on top and loud again.

However, Skrtel's clinical finish off Philippe Coutinho's cross put the scores level at 2-2 and Liverpool back in the game just before the break.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his men were left stunned eight minutes into the second half, seeing Coutinho's cross off a corner headed in by Skrtel to make it 2-3, whilst the homeside were down to nine men, with Kevin Theophile-Catherine and Mutch receiving treatment on the side-line.

Luis Suarez: Celebrates against Cardiff City
The Reds took over the game from there, the SAS proving themselves as lethal once again, Sturridge sending through a pass for Suarez to net before the Uruguayan returned the favour and set up the former Chelsea striker for a simple tap-in to make it 2-5 with 15 minutes to go.

Poor marking from the visitors left City sub Kenwyne Jones free to head one in to make it 3-5 and give the home side some faint, if-not-false hope,

But after sub Wilfried Zaha's hesitant giveaway, Suarez selfishly ran on and clear, with all the time and space to tease keeper Marshall before beating him to make it goal number six for LFC and hat-trick number six for himself.

Thereby the Urugayan equalled Robbie Fowler's 28-goal club-record for a Premier League season, six away from Andrew Cole's and Alan Shearer's joint Premier League record of most goals in a season.

The win keeps Liverpool in second, four points behind leaders Chelsea with a game in hand and two points ahead of Manchester City, who have an extra game in hand.

And with the Reds still to play both blue sides at Anfield, the title race is wide open and will be a nail-biter-and-a-half that could grind down to the final seconds of the season!

Cardiff City 3-6 Liverpool

Cardiff City Goals: 1.: 8:28min Jorden Mutch (18), 2.: 24:52min Fraizer Campbell (10), 3.: 87:15min Jorden Mutch.

Liverpool Goals: 1.: 15:47min Luis Suarez (7), 2.&3.: 40.11 & 53:04min Martin Skrtel (37), 4.: 58:44 min Luis Suarez (7), 5.: 74:25min Daniel Sturridge (15), 6.: 95:27min Luis Suarez (7).

Cardiff City Team: 1 Marshall; 42 John (29 Daehli- 65th min), 28 Theophile-Catherine, 27 Cala (booked- 33rd min), 4 Caulker, 35 Fabio (booked- 50th min); 13 Kim (36 Zaha- 65th min), 8 Medel, 18 Mutch; 39 Bellamy (9 Jones- 70th min), 10 Campbell. 5-3-2
Subs not used: 6 Turner, 7 Whittingham, 17 Gunnarsson, 32 Lewis.

Liverpool Team: 22 Mignolet; 38 Flanagan (20 Cissokho- 73rd min), 5 Agger, 37 Skrtel (booked- 92nd min), 2Johnson; 8 Gerrard (booked- 2nd min); 24 Allen (booked- 94th min), 14 Henderson; 10 Coutinho (31 Sterling- 68th min); 7 Suarez, 15 Sturridge (17 Sakho- 92nd min). 4-1-2-1-2
Subs not used: 1 Jones, 9 Aspas, 12 Moses, 21 Lucas.

Opta Match Stats: Cardiff City-Liverpool
Attempts: 9-19
On target: 3-9
Blocked: 2-4
From outside the box: 2-6
From inside the box: 7-13
Shot accuracy: 42.9%-60%
(General Play)
Possession: 33.3%-66.6%
Duels won: 47.1%-52.9%
Aerials won: 37.9%-62.1%
Interceptions: 19-12
Offsides: 0-1
Corners: 4-6
Total Passes: 301-650
Long Passes: 15%-8.8%
Passing Accuracy: 77.1%-87.1%
Pass. Acc. Opp. Half: 66.4%-80.1%
Total Passes: 25-15
Successful: 20%-20%
(Defence & Discipline)
Tackles: 21-22
Tackles Won: 71.4%-81.8%
Clearances: 15-28
Fouls Conceded: 14-11
Yellow Cards: 2-3
Red Cards: 0-0

Referee: Neil Swarbrick
Attendance: 28,018
Man of the match: Luis Suarez

Monday, 17 March 2014

Liverpool crush United at Old Trafford

Sports - Football - Premier League - Man United 0-3 Liverpool 

Liverpool closed the gap on league leaders Chelsea to four points with a game in hand after comprehensively beating Manchester United 0-3 at Old Trafford. 

Captain Steven Gerrard scored twice from the spot before seeing rival skipper Nemanja Vidic sent off and missing the resulting penalty and chance for a hat-trick. 

None other than Luis Suarez made it three, scoring his 25th Premier League goal of the season and condemning the Red Devils to their 9th defeat of the season. 

Brendan Rodgers' men took charge from the start, if not in possession, but creating and putting on more pressure, pressing and pushing, not letting United settle. 

The home side got more and more frustrated and saw defender Rafael's name first in the book for felling down Gerrard. 

The Brazilian conceded the first penalty moments later with a clumsy handball, which Gerrard made no mistake of, sending David De Gea the wrong way, to net it on the right and make it 0-1 after 34 minutes. 

It was the first time United have conceded a penalty at Old Trafford since December 2011. 

The goal woke up the home side and the game jumped up a gear, Gerrard seeing yellow for leading with his elbow on Marouane Fellaini, who had to be treated as United finally came out more on attack. 

Wayne Rooney saw his double-strike stopped just before the break, thanks to one great save by Simon Mignolet and one strong, quick block by Jon Flanagan, but the Reds kept and took the lead into the break. 

Whatever David Moyes said to his side during the interval, it didn't work, or backfired even, as 24 seconds into the second half, Phil Jones pushed and brought down Joe Allen in the box to concede the second penalty. 

The Scouse skipper netted to the right again, with fine accuracy and pace, to make it 0-2. Liverpool's tails were up after that and the visitors pushed and pressed for more. 

That didn't put off United though, Rooney and Vidic were both on referee Mark Clattenburg's case after they felt they were both fouled whilst creating chances, pushed by Martin Skrtel in the prior, and punched and clattered by Mignolet and Daniel Agger respectively in the latter case, but play continued despite all. 

One way or the other, it wasn't happening for United and Moyes made a double-change with 15 minutes remaining. Seconds later, it went from bad to worse for the hosts, Vidic saw red, receiving a second yellow for what was harshly deemed a foul on Daniel Sturridge in the box, a soft penalty to concede. 

But it was not going to be a penalty-hat-trick for man-of-the-match Gerrard, as he sent De Gea the wrong way, again, but was denied by the left post. 

The home fans felt justice was done with the miss, but on the other hand, Rafael was lucky not to be given a second yellow, as he got away with some rash challenges on more than one occasion, after already being booked and warned.

A certain Uruguayan then got into the mix, and after pulling a great save out off De Gea, Suarez broke clear in the box off a deflected Sturridge shot/cross/pass and netted his 25th Premier League goal of the season, to make it 0-3 and seal Liverpool's first win at Old Trafford since the unforgettable 1-4 thrash in 2009. 

It could have been worse for United- although they won't see it that way, recording their 5th home defeat and 21 points dropped at home this season. The Red Devils have not lost more than nine games in Premier League history. This ninth defeat leaves Moyes' men on 48 points in seventh, 12 points behind rivals City in the 4th and last Champions League spot and 18 points off the top. 

Manchester United 0-3 Liverpool 

Liverpool Goals: 1. & 2.: 34th & 47th min Steven Gerrard (8) penalties, 3.: 83:28 min Luis Suarez (7).

Liverpool Team: 22 Mignolet; 38 Flanagan (booked- 31st min), 5 Agger, 37 Skrtel (booked- 54th min), 2 Johnson; 24 Allen, 8 Gerrard (booked- 37th min) (21 Lucas- 87th min), 14 Henderson; 7 Suarez, 15 Sturridge (booked- 84th min) (9 Aspas- 91st min), 31 Sterling (10 Coutinho- 72nd min). 4-3-3
Subs not used: 1 Jones, 12 Moses, 17 Sakho, 20 Cissokho.

Man United Team: 1 De Gea; 3 Evra, 15 Vidic (booked- 71st min, sent off- 77th min), 4 Jones, 2 Rafael (booked- 32nd min); 16 Carrick, 31 Fellaini (23 Cleverly- 75th min); 44 Januzaj (19 Welbeck- 75th min), 10 Rooney, 8 Mata (5 Ferdinand- 87th min); 20 van Persie. 4-2-3-1
Subs not used: 13 Lindegaard, 18 Young, 25 Valencia, 26 Kagawa.

Match Stats: 1st & 2nd half: Man United-Liverpool
Attempts: 6-6 & 7-11
On target: 1-3 & 0-4
Offsides: 1-1 & 2-1
Corners: 1-2 & 2-2
Free kicks: 6-6 & 6-7
Possession: HT: 51%-49%, FT 48%-52%

For full Opta Match Stats just click here!

Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Attendance: 75,225
Man of the match: Steven Gerrard