Sunday, March 30, 2014

Reds rise to the top of Premier League table



Luis Suarez wrote his name into the Anfield history books with his 29th goal of the season as Liverpool moved top of the Premier League with a 4-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur.

Liverpool had led inside 90 seconds when Younes Kaboul mistimed his clearance and the ball trickled over the line for an own goal.

Then, in the 25th minute, Suarez then took full advantage of a Michael Dawson error -- the Spurs' defender's first touch after coming on the injured Jan Vertonghen -- before firing a left-footed shot past Hugo Lloris as he surpassed Robbie Fowler's record of 28 goals in a single season for the Reds.

The Uruguayan almost made it three shortly before the break, but his close-range header from Raheem Sterling's cross was tipped brilliantly onto the underside of the bar by Lloris.

Spurs offered little in the way of a comeback in the second half and any hope was buried in the 55th minute when Philippe Coutinho drilled in a low shot from 25 yards.

Jordan Henderson provided the icing on the cake 15 minutes from time when his free kick found its way through a cluster of players and into the net.

As has been so often the case this season, especially at home, Liverpool's start was explosive.

Just 100 seconds had elapsed from kick-off when they went ahead with a slick move which ended with Younes Kaboul putting into his own net.

Philippe Coutinho sprayed the ball out to Raheem Sterling, back in the starting line-up for the first time in three matches, and overlapping full-back Glen Johnson drilled in a cross from which, had Kaboul not done the honours, Daniel Sturridge would have cleaned up from close range.

Anfield, already at a heightened state of fervour, exploded in a wave of noise which continued to reverberate around the ground as Liverpool regularly attacked with vigour.

Luis Suarez, after two crosses from either flanks which first saw the ball sail marginally over the head of the waiting Sturridge and then drilled narrowly wide by Coutinho's volley, whipped a 25-yard free-kick over before producing a sublime strike for his 29th of the season.

Michael Dawson, only just on the pitch as a replacement for the injured Jan Vertonghen, tried to turn Steven Gerrard's clearance into the patch of fellow centre-back Kaboul only for Suarez to nip in, skip past the defender and drill an angled shot across Hugo Lloris and inside the far post - into the only spot the goalkeeper could be beaten.

In doing so, he eclipsed Robbie Fowler's record of goals in a Premier League season with the promise of plenty more to come before the end of the campaign.

Tottenham saw so little of the ball their chances were sporadic at best, and, when Christian Eriksen did find space in the area, Martin Skrtel threw his body in the way and Gylfi Sigurdsson's follow-up header was saved by Simon Mignolet.

Free-kicks came and went as Sturridge, after a 50-yard run ended with Kaboul being booked, curled over and Suarez, still on set-piece duty despite Gerrard's effort in the midweek win over Sunderland, whipped a vicious effort just wide.

The Uruguayan's best chance of doubling his tally, however, came just moments before. Kaboul's day continued its downward spiral when he was robbed by Sterling, who crossed to the back post, where Suarez's header was clawed onto the crossbar by Lloris and hooked clear by Nabil Bentaleb.

Any chance Spurs had of rescuing the situation had to come from the next goal, but they were not given the remotest chance as, after Jordan Henderson ballooned over a cut-back from Sterling - who himself had only Lloris to beat - Coutinho made the result safe.

Young left-back Jon Flanagan's dummy of England international Aaron Lennon typified the confidence flowing through the side but, when he offloaded to Coutinho in midfield, there was still plenty to do.

Despite the Brazilian playmaker advancing, Spurs saw fit to stand off and Coutinho made them pay with a low shot from 25 yards which easily beat Lloris for just his fourth goal of the season.

The large travelling support were suitably disgruntled, chanting "Where is our manager?'' at Tim Sherwood.

He was actually sat in the directors' box throughout - two rows behind chairman Daniel Levy, who this week reportedly held talks with Holland coach Louis van Gaal. The pair left without exchanging words.

1 comment:

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