Saturday, October 29, 2011

West Bromwich Albion 0-2 Liverpool: Carroll on Target in Reds' stroll

Goals from Charlie Adam and Andy Carroll gave Liverpool a comfortable 2-0 win at the Hawthorns.

This time last year, West Brom manager Roy Hodgson was in the middle of a torrid six month spell as Liverpool manager. Twelve months on, he and his new employers were on somewhat of a mini-run having beaten Midlands rivals Wolves and Aston Villa in the past two games. But his former employers showed that they too are in better shape, dominating proceedings from start to finish.

Before the game, there was mixed news for Hodgson’s successor as Liverpool boss, Kenny Dalglish, as he named his starting eleven. Star striker Luis Suarez recovered from a knock he sustained in his virtuoso performance at Stoke City in midweek, but Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher were both ruled out with knocks. In their places, Jordan Henderson continued in midfield, with Daniel Agger moving to the centre of defence.

After two successive league draws, the Reds started quickly. Suarez failed to control a Jose Enrique through-ball when he would have been clear, then Adam fired over from the edge of the box. On nine minutes, their positive start paid dividends.

When Suarez chased after a loose ball, West Brom midfielder Jerome Thomas’ attempts to get in front of Suarez saw the Uruguayan fall to the floor. Immediately the referee’s assistant flagged for a foul, with referee Lee Mason having no option but to point to the spot. It was a harsh decision for the home side, but in a week where Dalglish has asked referee’s to protect his star striker more, the Reds’ boss will view the decision as a sense of justice.

After missing their previous two spot-kicks this term through Suarez and Dirk Kuyt, Adam was the man asked to give the Reds. The penalty appeals meant the former Blackpool midfielder had to wait before the kick, but it didn’t affect him as he coolly gave Liverpool the lead, sending Ben Foster the wrong way.

As has been the case in recent games, Liverpool bossed the rest of the first-half, with Adam and Lucas dictating the play from central midfield. The lead should have been doubled when a corner saw Carroll head down for Martin Skrtel to tee up Suarez, who shot over the bar.

With the home defence sitting deep, Liverpool switched play with ease, wasting further opportunities, before they eventually doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time. When Jonas Olsson gave the ball away straight from a West Brom free-kick, Suarez quickly played in strike partner Carroll, who despite a heavy first touch, managed to roll the ball under the advancing Ben Foster, for his third goal of the season.

Having not threatened stand-in Reds’ skipper Pepe Reina in the first 45 minutes, the hosts finally threatened two minutes after the break, when Cameroonian striker Solomon Tchoyi turned well on the edge of the box before hitting a right-foot shot past Reina’s post.

But, it proved to be a flash in the pan, as the visitors’ dominated the second half. The constant movement of Suarez ran the home defence ragged, providing an outlet for Lucas, Adam and Henderson, whilst the Uruguayan also linked up well with Carroll in a partnership which is finally starting to show promise. The pair combined when Carroll teed up Suarez whose goalbound effort was brilliantly blocked by Olsson, then Suarez returned the favour with Carroll’s rasping left-foot striker well saved by Foster.

Jose Enrique was next to force Foster into a fine tip over the bar, before Stewart Downing struck the Baggies’ post as the game edged into injury time.

Liverpool now climb to fifth in the table and extend their unbeaten run to seven. Following Hodgson’s disastrous tenure at Anfield, they now look a totally different proposition under Dalglish. Oozing confidence and creating numerous chances, Dalglish will hope that the reds can now take the next step by converting their dominance into a run of victories.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Stoke City 1-2 Liverpool: Super Suarez Strikes to send Reds through

Luis Suarez struck twice as Liverpool came from a goal down to book their place in the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup.

Against the run of play, Kenwyne Jones gave Stoke a 44th minute lead, but with star striker Suarez sensational again, the Reds staged a second-half comeback to keep alive hopes of a trip to Wembley.

Reds manager Kenny Dalglish made 8 changes to the side that drew with Norwich City on Saturday. Captain Steven Gerrard was given the night o, with Sebastian Coates starting at the back, Lucas Leiva partnering Jay Spearing in midfield and Andy Carroll returning upfront alongside Luis Suarez. For the Potters, Jonathan Woodgate returned from injury while ex-Reds trio Peter Crouch, Jermaine Pennant and Salif Diao all started on the bench.

After being guilty of missing a number of chances in games this season, including the 1-0 league defeat at the Britannia in September, Liverpool started the game in much the same vein. Dominating possession, both Carroll and Suarez had efforts saved by Stoke keeper Thomas Sorensen.

On 16 minutes, Lucas played a neat one-two with Maxi Rodriguez before squaring the ball for Suarez, who was once again denied by Sorenson.

Slowly the home side got into the game, with the Liverpool defence guilty of conceding free-kicks in their own half. It was from a familiar route that Stoke thought they had taken the lead, when a Rory Delap throw-in was nodded in by Jonathan Walters, only for referee Lee Probert to award the Reds a free-kick for a foul on goalkeeper Pepe Reina.

At the other end, good build-up play by the Liverpool midfield allowed right-back Martin Kelly to advance and hit a low left-foot shot, which forced Sorensen to dive low to his left to keep out.

As the first-half drew to a close, Stoke took the lead against the run of play. Uruguayan defender Coates failed to deal with a bouncing ball wide on the left, allowing Walters to nip in and advanced towards the Reds' box. Walters calmly looked up and found Kenwynne Jones, who stooped low to head into Reina's far corner.

There was still time for Suarez to go close again, as he stayed on his feet despite a reckless Stoke challenge, before firing wide of the far post.

Half-time saw Liverpool make a change with Martin Skrtel replacing the injured Jamie Carragher. As the Liverpool defence regrouped, Stoke started the second half the better of the two sides. However, on 52 minutes, the Reds were level.

Picking up the ball wide on the left, Suarez cheekily nutmegged Ryan Shotton, before brilliantly curling the ball into the far corner. It ended a period of frustration for Suarez, who failed  from 11 shots against Norwich and looked to be heading for the same result at the Britannia.

With the threat of extra-time looming, both sides made changes as they looked for a winner. On came Cameron Jerome and Pennant for Stoke, whilst Liverpool opted for more pace as Craig Bellamy replaced Maxi. The change almost immediately paid dividends for the Reds as he linked up with Carroll before hitting a low bobbling shot against the Stoke post.

With five minutes remaining, Suarez struck again. When Ryan Shawcross headed away from the Stoke box, Jordan Henderson produced a brilliant first-time volley back into the box, where Suarez had fund space to coolly head past Sorensen.

Tony Pulis immediately threw on Crouch, with instructions clearly to launch the ball towards the big striker. It nearly paid off when the England man fired over from six yards, but in truth, despite a few long-throws and corners, Liverpool stood firm, with Coates impressive despite his earlier mishap.

As the game entered the final minutes, an injured Suarez left the field to a rapturous reception from the travelling Kop, although the move looked precautionary with Dalglish keen to look after his prize asset.

The win means Liverpool join the two Manchester clubs, as well as Arsenal and Chelsea in Saturday's lunch-time draw, as they edge nearer to a first visit to the new Wembley.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Liverpool 1-1 Norwich City: Reds left to rue missed chances

Liverpool were left to rue missed chances once again, as Grant Holt's header gave Norwich City a point at Anfield.
Kenny Dalglish's men peppered the away goal, with no fewer than 25 attempts, but their failure to convert more than one was compounded when Holt rose to head past Pepe Reina on the hour mark.

Missing Lucas Leiva through suspension, Dalglish opted for an attacking line-up, bringing in Craig Bellamy for his first league start since rejoining the Reds in August, but Record signing Andy Carroll again had to make do with a place on the bench.

In a blistering start by the home side, Martin Skrtel headed a Stewart Downing corner against the bar, then Norwich stopper John Ruddy produced a marvellous save to turn Luis Suarez' goalbound effort on to the post. Suarez then brilliantly turned three Norwich defenders before firing wide. The Uruguayan's third shot in the opening 10 minutes saw the ball roll past he far post after Suarez had latched on to Glen Johnson's pass.

Shell-shocked, Norwich finally got into the game, when Wes Hoolahan forced Reina into a save. Ten minutes. Later, Welsh International striker Steve Morison met a flighted corner, which Reina did well to keep out.

As the half continued, the home side continued to dominate possession, but surprisingly didn't find themselves ahead. But on the stroke of half-time, they finally found the breakthrough. After all the nice one-touch moves the home side had put together, it was ironic that the goal would come from a lump upfield from Jose Enrique. With Suarez trying to get clear, Canaries defender Leon Barnett got his body in the way, but could only divert the ball into the path of the onrushing Bellamy, who took his time before coolly slotting the ball into the net via Marc Tierney's heel. It was a sweet moment for Bellamy, who started his career with the Carrow Road outfit 14 years ago.

After a talking to by boss Paul Lambert, Norwich started the second half brightly, with Anthony Pilkington forcing Reina to save low down to his left. However, it wasn't long before Suarez was back in the groove. As the Norwich defence headed an attack away, Suarez brilliantly brought the ball down 25 yards out, nut-megged Barnett, then saw his sliding shot deflect off Russell Martin onto Ruddy's right-hand post.

On 57 minutes, Lambert made his first change, replacing Elliot Bennett with club captain Holt, as the away side switched to a 4-4-2. Within three minutes the positive move paid dividends as Pilkington's excellent cross was met by Holt, who nipped in front of Johnson, Jamie Carragher and Reina to head in to the empty Kop net.

Boosted by the goal, the away side nearly had the temerity to go ahead. Another Pilkington-Holt link-up saw the much-travelled striker head towards the far corner, only for Reina to make up for his earlier mistake by pulling off a fine one-handed save.

Liverpool responded with Suarez teeing up Downing, though the winger delayed his shot long enough for Norwich to block. Another Suarez shot was the tipped around the post by Ruddy, whilst Hoolahan blasted high and wide from 30 yards out as Norwich scented an unlikely winner.

With 10 minutes to go, Carroll was brought on, but having replaced Downing and Bellamy earlier withdrawn, Liverpool lacked the width to truly utilise Carroll's strengths. The one time a quality ball was delivered into the box, Carroll wasted the chance, heading wide from only six yards out.

As the clock ticked into the 4th minute of stoppage time, Gerrard dinked a ball towards the edge of the Norwich box. Waiting was Suarez, who connected sweetly to send a volley screaming towards the net, only for ex-Everton keeper Ruddy to pull off a fantastic reflex save to turn the ball over.

Having performed so well in defeats at Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge, Lambert will be delighted with the character his team displayed to force their way back in to a game which they should have been dead and buried. For Liverpool, following last week's home draw with Manchester United, it's another two points from a game which they dominated. Unlike the past couple of seasons, chances are being created, but the fact that teams aren't being killed off will be a concern for Dalglish as the Reds look for a return to the top four.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Liverpool 1-1 Manchester United: Gerrard scores as Liverpool are held.

Steven Gerrard marked his first start of the 2011/12 season with a goal, as Liverpool were held to a 1-1 draw with Manchester United at Anfield on Saturday lunchtime.

On his return to the initial teamsheet for the first time since March, the captain netted with a sublime free-kick in the 68th minute to give his side the lead in a tense contest.

However, with ten minutes remaining, substitute Javier Hernandez rescued a point for the visitors, heading home from a corner to widen the gap between the two sides to seven points.

Prior to his 250th league game in charge of Liverpool, Kenny Dalglish brought in Gerrard to replace Andy Carroll in the starting eleven, with Dirk Kuyt and Luis Suarez seemingly leading the line in a 4-4-2 formation.

Meanwhile, Sir Alex Ferguson decided against playing Wayne Rooney, Hernandez and Nani from the first whistle, with the nineteen-year-old Phil Jones moving into the midfield.

Liverpool started brightly, with dangerous deliveries from Jose Enrique and Steven Gerrard causing problems for the United defence. The visitors' first meaningful chance saw a high Patrice Evra cross find Phil Jones, who failed to get his header on target.

In the 21st minute, a short corner routine between Charlie Adam and Gerrard allowed the latter to play a teasing ball into the penalty area, where Luis Suarez's glance across the face of goal lacked the direction to give Dalglish's side the lead.

The Uruguayan's influence on the game was growing, and he went close to giving his team the lead in the 34th minute. Adam's run and shot from deep eventually found its way to Suarez, who turned Jonny Evans and forced a reaction save from David De Gea.

Liverpool were making better used of the ball, but their opponents still posed a threat - a point proven when Ji-Sung Park stole the ball from Enrique and worked space on the edge of the area, only to fire well wide. A rare mistake from the Reds full-back who was putting in another impressive performance.

It is likely that Dalglish would have used the half-time interval to urge his charges to trouble De Gea more in the second period. Six minutes in, Kuyt and the Kop screamed for a penalty after the Dutchman's header from a Gerrard corner appeared to strike the arm of Evans. Andre Marriner waved away the protests.

Back came the Reds and Adam's header back into the danger zone from another Gerrard flag kick had to be cleared by Chris Smalling, thwarting the onrushing Martin Skrtel.

Liverpool's pressure finally told however on 68 minutes, when Gerrard broke the deadlock.

Another Charlie Adam run from deep was brought to a halt by Rio Ferdinand on the edge of the box. The Liverpool skipper stepped up to clip a delightful free-kick past De Gea and into the net. The goal was our 1,200th in the Premier League.

Ferguson's response was to send on Rooney, Hernandez and Nani - and two of their substitutes combined to conjure up an equaliser with just minutes remaining.

Nani's corner was allowed to travel dangerously across the box, and Hernandez found the space and the time to nod the ball past Jose Reina and into the roof of the net.

The visitors had the impressive De Gea to thank for ensuring parity remained intact seconds later, as Suarez's deep cross was turned goalwards on the slide by Kuyt, but the stopper made a fine save.

Substitute Jordan Henderson then went close in stoppage time with a lob, but United's goalkeeper clawed it over the crossbar. The resulting corner saw Skrtel lash over from close range.

Henderson threatened again, heading over from Downing's run and cross, but it wasn't to be as Liverpool were forced to settle for a draw.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

View from the opposition: Liverpool v Man United

With Liverpool set to face Manchester United on Saturday, we talked to Sky Sports News presenter and United fan Hayley McQueen about her views on the upcoming North West derby. 

United were one of the big spenders in the summer, just how do you rate the clubs business in the transfer window?

Phil Jones was a big surprise as a United signing for me but I've been so impressed with him this season, Rio and Vidic are of course the/my preferred pairing at the back but it's exciting to see young talent like Smalling and Jones slot in to deputise so well and Jones is so versatile, I think we got a bargain there. 

Da Gea has been hit & miss but has pulled off some world class saves already, it's just a case of time & confidence for this one. Ashley Young another master-stroke by Sir Alex as he looks like he's played for United for years. He's fit into the team straight away both on & off the pitch, I've met him a few times too & he seems like a really good guy.

Liverpool also invested heavily in their squad this summer, do you think the money was spent wisely?

Very wisely, Liverpool needed to spend. Whilst Carroll was signed for a hefty fee you have invested in the future as well as the now but I did think he'd have had a better start to the season but am sure will come good. For me I don't think Carroll is the type that would feel the pressure of living up to a hefty price tag, he has struggled to adapt to Liverpool’s passing game and is still learning. The goal in the Merseyside derby will give him a much needed boost.

I'm a big fan of Steward Downing too as a protege of my home town team Middlesbrough. He's capable of so much and is one of the most undervalued English footballers, at 27 he's in his prime, intelligent on the pitch, consistent with a perfectly educated left foot.

Both United and Liverpool have invested in young British talent this summer, do you think it's a good move or is the premium price placed on home grown talent too high?

I think buying home grown is a great move and fans often feel more pride when the British players in their team are succeeding, it's keeping with tradition with Liverpool players constantly selected for International duty, particularly England and this will of course continue. There are now many greats at Liverpool already under the age of 25, it's like Liverpool have gone back to the tradition of being a team who now have a strong home grown core to their team. 

Just when you thought the future was all about foreign talent flocking to Britain you see Liverpool as a perfect example that this is not the case.

Let's not forget those that have come up through your academy, seeing youth come up through the system is hugely satisfying too and personally I'd like to see an age limitation on when you can bring a foreign youngsters to academies to give home grown lads more of a chance.

Both clubs have their local rivals, in Manchester City and Everton, but some fans would argue the 'North West derby' between Liverpool and United is more important than the local clashes, what's your thoughts?

I don't know about more important but for years I think Liverpool v United has been the fiercest of rivalries mainly due to Liverpool's success in Europe and the fact that in recent years United have caught up. There has been a bit of a shift as some would argue United v City is now the most important but you can't ever take away the rivalry between United and Liverpool, the atmosphere at Anfield when United come to play is second to none Its the first team I look for when the fixtures are announced.

Both Manchester clubs have made a brilliant start to the season, can you see it quickly becoming a two horse race between the two local rivals for the title?

I hope not but I think it may well be although admittedly at the start of the season I didn't have it as that, I did have Liverpool finishing in the top 4 thought and Arsenal nowhere to be seen and I don't think that'll change. What has happened at City is extremely exciting but I get a little sad that they may well prove (like Chelsea did) money can buy trophies.

Speaking of league positions, do you think Liverpool have the quality this year to clinch a place in the top four?

Definitely, not only the quality but the spirit & no-one would wants it more than Dalglish, he instills that into his team, staff and fans alike.

Which United player should Liverpool supporters be looking out for during the game and which Liverpool player are you most worried about?

Nani, who is in great form at the moment may prove a tricky customer for Enrique, but Luis Suarez is the one to watch for United after causing all kinds of problems in last season’s encounter and has had a blistering start to the season too. Although he will have big Phil Jones to contend with!

Finally, can we get your prediction for the score?

There have been five red cards in the last seven Premier League games between Manchester United and Liverpool at Anfield so I predict plenty yellows and a sending off. I think Man United may well edge it but I'll play it safe with a score draw.
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Thursday, October 06, 2011

Club vs. Country? - There’s only one winner!

Another set of internationals means yet another two-week break in Premier League action. Isn't it about time something was changed in the International set-up?

International Breaks – I hate them.

As the press get over-excited about England playing the might of Montenegro or Scotland travelling to face those footballing-giants Liechtenstein, for me, it hardly merits a look. Instead, I will spend this international break counting down the days until Liverpool are back in Premier League action.

Don’t get me wrong, international football can be exciting. A summer consisting of a World Cup or European Championship, 4 weeks of continuous football, is my idea of a dream. I turn into a kid again as I fill in the wallcharts and collect the Panini stickers (all for the benefit of my 3-year old son by the way!), whilst I watch the likes of Switzerland and Algeria do battle. Even some of the qualifier’s provide a bit of entertainment, with Germany 1-5 England a pretty memorable watch. The problem for me is that international football pales into insignificance when the domestic season is in full-flow. To me, it is nothing more than a hindrance.

Following the Reds’ 2-0 derby win over Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday, Melwood should be buzzing, with the players preparing for the next game. Instead, it will be virtually empty this week as our international players jet-off all over the world to turn out for their respective countries. The momentum built up from victory over our Merseyside rivals should have seen us go into the next match full of confidence. Instead, the break has ruined that. By the time we play Manchester United a week on Saturday, the players will be in a different mindset. The same thing happened last month. An impressive 3-1 home win against Bolton was followed by a two-week break. By the time the players returned for training, the buzz from the Bolton performance had long gone and we went on to lose at Stoke and again at Spurs the week after.

Mid-season internationals are also accompanied by the fear of star players getting injured whilst on international duty. Numerous times over the past few years, the likes of Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard and Daniel Agger have returned injured, unable to play the next game for the Reds. In September, Charlie Adam had to pull out of Scotland’s second of two international games with injury. He recovered in time to play at Stoke, but his performance fell below his normal high standard, with the general feeling that he wasn’t 100% fully fit. Thankfully, common sense has prevailed this week, with the recovering Gerrard left out of England’s squad for the trip to Montenegro. However, with a squad full of internationals, Kenny Dalglish and his backroom staff will be hoping and praying that all the rest return fit and healthy. This is a concern which is shared by a host of the top managers, with the likes of “Sir” Alex Ferguson renowned for pulling his players out of international squads when they have no more than a cough.

As well as injury, fatigue is also a downside to internationals. With so many games on the domestic calendar, calls are often heard proclaiming that players play too many games and face burn-out. With Luis Suarez and the other South Americans heading halfway across the world to play one, maybe two games, the likelihood is that the players will return jet-lagged and with little time to fully prepare for the following weekend.

Of course, there are counter-arguments to the international break. For the likes of Bolton, who are rooted to the foot of the Premier League after shipping another 5 at home, this time to Chelsea, a two-week break will allow them to regroup and hopefully return to Premier League action stronger. For some players, an international appearance will help boost confidence, whilst for someone like our big Geordie striker Andy Carroll, after netting against Everton, a good international showing will push his morale even higher.

For me though, we can’t go on with this stop-start domestic season. In an ideal world, I would make a couple of changes to the set-up of International football. Firstly, with each group containing 5 or 6 teams, I feel there are too many qualifying games where top sides are pitted against minnows. The likes of Faroe Islands, Andorra, Luxembourg, San Marino are well-known whipping boys of the international scene, so why not have a pre-qualifying tournament for these teams, therefore reducing the number of teams and matches in the qualifying campaign. Secondly, and linked with my first suggestion, a month at the end of the season could be used to play all the qualifying games in one go. With the international breaks removed from mid-season, domestic campaigns could finish no later than End of April, meaning the majority of May could be set aside to play international football.

Until any changes are made though, we will have to put up with the international breaks. Let’s hope these two weeks go quickly and all of our players are back fit and chomping at the bit next week as we return to Premier League action. Bring on yer Manchester United!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Everton 0-2 Liverpool: Reds take advantage of referee's mistake

Liverpool ran out 2-0 winners in the 216th Merseyside Derby, in a game overshadowed by a shocking decision by referee Martin Atkinson.

When Everton midfielder Jack Rodwell clearly won the ball in a 23rd minute challenge with Luis Suarez, Atkinson surprised the 39,000 crowd at a sun-baked Goodison Park, by brandishing a straight red for the talented youngster. The referee, who has brandished 15 red cards since August last year, deemed Rodwell to have lunged with his foot raised, but in truth, the challenge was fair and hardly worthy a free-kick to the visitors.

Prior to Rodwell's dismissal, the first 20 minutes of the match were entertaining and evenly-matched. Suarez should have put Liverpool ahead when Dirk Kuyt's cross picked out the Uruguayan who could only head straight at Tim Howard. Seconds later, Pepe Reina was forced to tip over his bar after Tim Cahill rose majestically to meet Seamus Coleman's cross. Louis Saha fizzed a twenty yard shot wide of the far post and Sylvain Distin shot over the bar after doing well to find space in the Reds' box.

However, the dynamics of the game changed following Atkinson's controversial decision. With the one-man advantage, Liverpool had more time on the ball, with Charlie Adam particularly impressive. After hitting the side-netting from an angle, Reds striker Suarez, already receiving a chorus of boos following his part in Rodwell's dismissal, was again at the heart of the action as Atkinson riled the home fans further by awarding Liverpool a penalty. This time however the decision was correct with Phil Jagielka's challenge on Suarez clumsy and late.

Normally deadly against Everton having scored five times in previous meetings, three of which have been from the spot, Kuyt uncharacteristically wasted the chance, with Tim Howard pulling off a brilliant save low to his left. As half-time approached, Liverpool went even closer to taking the lead, when Adam's thunderous twenty-yard shot cannoned off the bar with Howard beaten. When the whistle went for half-time, the home crowd vociferously let Atkinson know their feelings about his performance.

The start of the second-half saw Liverpool dominate possession as they searched for a breakthrough. Andy Carroll had two towering headers cleared off the line, while at the other end, Saha again went close with a right-foot shot.

On 67 minutes, Kenny Dalglish was able to bring on Steven Gerrard and Craig Bellamy to introduce pace and directness to the Liverpool attack. Within 5 minutes the change had worked. Bellamy picked the ball up wide on the left and attacked Everton right-back Tony Hibbert. As Jose Enrique overlapped, Bellamy's through ball allowed the Spaniard to cut the ball back across goal, where Carroll was waiting to fire past Howard from 8 yards. It was the £35m man's first Premier League goal of the season and following doubts about his ability to fit into the Liverpool team, a goal on his derby debut will surely give Carroll the confidence to push on in his reds' career.

Ten minutes later the game was put to bed as Suarez capped another fine performance with the reds' second. Collecting a cushioned Kuyt header, Suarez ran at Distin and Leighton Baines. The ball broke away from the Uruguayan, but such is the panic he instills into an opposition defence, Baines and Distin's mix-up resulted in the latter's clearance falling to Suarez, who had the relatively simple task of firing past Howard from six yards.

The home fans, clearly infuriated with what they were witnessing, took their frustations out by throwing bottles and coins at Bellamy and Suarez as they lined up to take corners. It was from a quickly-taken Suarez corner that Kuyt nearly made it 2-0 as his toe-poke clipped the post.

The final whistle saw the red half of Merseyside with the bragging rights. A professional performance by Dalglish's men saw the reds bide their time, with the introduction of Gerrard and Bellamy finally breaking the Everton rearguard. As well as the three points, a pleasing fact for Dalglish will be the sight of £58m pairing Carroll and Suarez appearing together on the scoresheet in the league for the first time since their January arrivals.

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