Monday, February 27, 2012

Cardiff City 2-2 Liverpool (2-3 on pens): Reds Edge Bluebirds To Win Carling Cup

Birmingham City, Arsenal, Alaves, AC Milan and West Ham United. Now you can add the name of Cardiff City to that list.

Liverpool have a habit of being involved in some of the most dramatic cup finals football has ever seen, and at Wembley, this year's Carling Cup final was no different. Ninety-minutes and extra-time could not separate the Reds and their Championship opponents, but, despite missing their opening two shoot-out spot-kicks, Kenny Dalglish's men reigned supreme to win a record 8th League Cup.

In their first visit to Wembley for 16 years and first since the impressive redevelopment of the famous stadium, Liverpool went into the game as red-hot favourites. After claiming that sentiment overruled his head last weekend when he instructed Luis Suarez to take a penalty against Brighton instead of the usual Dirk Kuyt, from which Suarez missed, Reds' boss Dalglish took a more professional approach by resisting the temptation to play Cardiff-born Craig Bellamy against his former club. Instead, Bellamy took his place on the bench alongside Kuyt as Dalglish continued with a front two of Suarez and Andy Carroll.

Looking for their first piece of silverware for 6 years, the Reds started strong, with Glen Johnson striking the bar from 25 yards inside the first two minutes. With Cardiff seemingly in awe of their more illustrious opponents, the Reds were afforded too much space and time in the opening 15 minutes, as they dominated possession and forced a series of corners.

But their failure to hit the target saw Cardiff gain in confidence. Kenny Miller fired over on the turn, before the Bluebirds took a shock lead on 19 minutes. Silver-haired full-back Kevin McNaughton's cross was poorly headed straight back to him by Martin Skrtel. Instead of delivering another cross, McNaughton cleverly disguised a pass to Miller on the edge of the box. The Scotland striker controlled and sent an inch-perfect pass through the Liverpool defence for Joe Mason to run onto and fire low under the advancing Pepe Reina.

Shocked to be a goal behind, Liverpool continued to dominate possession, but failed to create any clear cut chances. Carroll fired high and wide whilst Jordan Henderson failed to connect after great work down the left by Stewart Downing, who was enjoying his best display in a red shirt since his £20m summer move from Aston Villa.

After the break, the pattern was pretty much the same, with Cardiff holding firm against Liverpool's toothless attacks. As the travelling Kop started to get restless, Dalglish made his first substitution, with the ineffective Henderson replaced by former Bluebird Bellamy, who was given a rapturous welcome from both sets of fans. Within two minutes, the change paid off as Liverpool were level.

Downing's corner was flicked on towards Suarez, who with back to goal nodded against the post. As the ball rebounded out, Skrtel kept his composure to control and roll the ball underneath Cardiff keeper Tom Heaton. It was the centre-half's fourth goal of an impressive season.

Sensing victory, Liverpool attacked with gusto. Downing, who had switched to the right following Bellamy's introduction, repeatedly beat his marker to deliver into the box, only to find no Liverpool forward in the six yard box. It was the same story when Suarez capitalised on a bouncing ball to get to the byline and pass across goal, only for Cardiff to comfortably clear.

As the clock ticked on, Charlie Adam tested Heaton with a 20-yard drive, but the best chance to win the game fell to Cardiff with only minutes remaining. The ball broke to striker Miller eight yards out, but the forward rushed his effort and blasted over.

Liverpool had one more chance before the whistle when a long clearance fell to Suarez, but the Uruguayan, who didn't have the best of days, dallied too long before attempting a chip which sailed out of play.

So to extra-time. Suarez forced Heaton into a save low to his right, then saw a header cleared off the line by Andrew Taylor. With players from both teams feeling the effects of a pulsating tie, the fresher legs of Bellamy nearly brought a goal as he advanced past two or three challenges before firing just over.

Carroll then headed narrowly wide, before he was replaced by Kuyt two minutes before the end of the first period. The Dutchman had not won a trophy since arriving in 2006, so was eager to put things right. Three minutes after the restart, he looked to have done that. Picking up the ball midway inside the Cardiff half, Kuyt showed a burst of pace to get in between two Cardiff defenders. His low cross intended for Suarez was cleared by the outstretched leg of Anthony Gerrard, who had come on as a replacement for the excellent Mark Hudson. But as the ball rebounded back towards Kuyt, the Liverpool forward struck an instant shot which beat Heaton at his near post.

The Liverpool players and fans celebrated. Surely that was that. But this is Liverpool in a cup final we are talking about. Of course it wasn't over. A goal up, Liverpool sat deep and invited Cardiff onto them. It was a tactic which proved to be there undoing. With three minutes left, a Peter Whittingham corner led to Kuyt clearing off his line. From the resulting corner, Kuyt was again called into action, but as the ball broke free, Cardiff defender Ben Turner fired home from two yards.

The Cardiff fans went mad, whilst their Liverpool counterparts sunk in their seats. The stadium barely had time to regain its breath before ref Mark Clattenburg blew the final whistle to signal a penalty shoot-out.

So far this season, Liverpool have missed five penalties this season and things started in the same vein when Steven Gerrard's spot-kick was brilliantly saved by Heaton. Miller stepped up to give Cardiff the advantage, only to striker the outside of the post. Next up was Charlie Adam, but his kick was even worse as he hit it high, wide and not very handsome.

Finally order was restored when Cardiff midfielder Don Cowie calmly stroked the ball home to put the Bluebirds 1-0 up. Kuyt levelled matters, then Rudy Gestede struck a post. Downing coolly put Liverpool 2-1 up, before Whittingham was equally assured to make it 2-2.

Liverpool right-back Johnson, who had played most of extra-time with what looked like a groin injury, made it 3-2 with Liverpool's last kick, meaning Cardiff had to score to keep the game alive.

So often in Liverpool's recent history, games have been decided by Gerrard. The script was the same here, but this time it was Steven's cousin Anthony who wrote the headlines. When the Liverpool-born defender stroked his kick wide of Reina's right-hand post, Liverpool were victorious. The Reds players celebrated with Reina, whilst skipper Gerrard consoled his unfortunate cousin.

Whilst credit must go to Malky Mackay and Cardiff for their performance, it was Liverpool who climbed the Wembley steps to lift the trophy. Only 13 months into his second stint as manager at Anfield, Dalglish has brought silverware, the club's first since 2006. With a FA Cup quarter-final with Stoke coming up, the Reds will hope this is just the start.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Liverpool 6-1 Brighton and Hove Albion: Reds Show Six-Appeal To Down Seagulls

Liverpool booked a sixth round home clash with Stoke City as they ran riot against Championship side Brighton.

But the Reds were given more than a helping hand with the visitors scoring a hat-trick of own goals, two of which came from midfielder Liam Bridcutt.

After the controversy which surrounded last week's non-handshake at Old Trafford, Luis Suarez kept his place in the Liverpool side, lining up alongside Andy Carroll and Steven Gerrard from the start for the first time. Jamie Carragher was also given a rare start, in place of the injured Daniel Agger.

Backed by 6,000 travelling fans, Gus Poyet's men, who lie two points off the Championship play-offs, were hoping to avenge a 2-1 defeat against the Reds in the Carling Cup earlier this season. But, within five minutes, they found themselves behind.

England captain-in-waiting Steven Gerrard fired in a corner kick, from which defender Martin Skrtel did well to find space before flicking a header past Brighton keeper Peter Brezovan.

The home side continued to dominate the early exchanges, forcing a number of corners, from each of which Carroll appeared to be man-handled by marker Adam El-Abd, although referee Andre Marriner didn't seem to notice.

On 17 minutes though, the Seagulls shocked the Anfield crowd when they drew level. When Jordan Henderson was penalised for a foul 25 yards, a neatly worked free-kick saw winger Kazenga Lua-Lua, brother of former Newcastle United star Lomana, power a low shot past Pepe Reina into the Kop net.

When Brighton reached the FA Cup final in 1983, arguably their finest hour, their passage to the final saw victory at Anfield, when Jimmy Case gave the South Coast side a 2-1 victory. If Lua-Lua's goals had raised thoughts of a repeat, their hopes were dashed a minute before half-time.

The Reds had already gone close to regaining their lead through a Charlie Adam piledriver and a Carroll header, before they regained the lead from another corner. Charlie Adam swung in a corner from which Brezovan flapped. After Suarez' shot rebounded into the air, Brighton striker Sam Vokes attempted to clear Glen Johnson's goalbound header off the line, but instead hit Bridcutt and the ball rebounded into the net.

Twelve minutes into the second-half, Liverpool made the game safe. Stewart Downing did well down the left flank, before cutting the ball back for Carroll to sweep home first time with his left foot. In recent weeks, the £35m striker has started to repay some of his huge transfer fee, and his sixth goal of the season here was another sign that he is finally heading on the right track.

On 71 minutes, Reds skipper Gerrard took advantage of slack defending to force Brezovan into a save. As the ball broke free, the Reds midfielder managed to reach the ball before it went behind, When he knocked the ball across the face of the goal, the unfortunate Bridcutt was on hand to again divert the ball into his own net.

Three minutes later, it was 5-1 thanks to yet another own goal. When Brezovan tipped a Suarez cross into the air, there seemed little danger as the ball dropped to centre-half Lewis Dunk. But rather than clear first time, Dunk controlled the ball on his chest, then took a heavy touch on his knee which saw the ball cross the goalline before he could clear.

With the tie all but over, Liverpool were afforded the luxury of making a triple substitution, with Gerrard amongst the players given a rest. It didn't take long for one of the changes to make an impact as Dirk Kuyt won a penalty when he was upended by Liverpool supporter Craig Noone.

As Kuyt sought the ball to take the spot-kick, Dalglish instructed that Suarez should take the kick, in an attempt to boost the Uruguayan's confidence following recent controversies. The Liverpool number Seven subsequently put the ball on the spot, but his tame shot was well turned away by Brezovan.

Kuyt then headed against the bar, before Suarez did get his goal with five minutes to go. A neat move down the left saw Jose Enrique cross to the back post, from which Carroll rose highest to head back across goal to Suarez who nodded in from less than a yard out.

So far this season, especially at home, Liverpool have been accused of not scoring enough goals, so the manner of this result will have pleased Dalglish. The Reds visit Wembley for the Carling Cup final next Sunday and with a FA Cup quarter-final tie at home to Stoke City now booked, you would not bet against Dalglish's men returning to the National Stadium for the FA Cup semi-finals.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Manchester United 2-1 Liverpool: Rooney Nets Brace But Suarez Makes The Headlines

On a normal day, the sight of Wayne Rooney scoring twice against Liverpool to send Manchester United to the Premier League summit would make all the headlines. But, this was no normal meeting between English football's two most successful clubs. Instead, all the headlines were made before the game. 

In October, United captain Patrice Evra claimed Liverpool striker Luis Suarez had racially abused him. A subsequent FA inquiry agreed and despite the pleas of innocence from the Uruguayan and all at Anfield, an 8-game ban was enforced. After serving his time, Suarez returned to action as a substitute in Liverpool's draw with Tottenham Hotspur on Monday night. At Old Trafford on Saturday, Suarez returned to the Liverpool starting eleven, and came face to face with Evra for the first time since the October clash.

Leading up to the game, all the talk had been about the pre-game handshake, with both parties adamant that their player would adhere to the Premier League ritual. But, as Suarez made his way towards Evra, the striker shocked everyone by choosing not to shake the hand of the Frenchman. Immediately, Evra remonstrated and fellow United defender Rio Ferdinand reacted by refusing to shake Suarez hand. A moment that was meant to bring an end to the rift, instead set the tone for a stormy afternoon in Manchester.

Less than a minute into the game, the pair looked destined for a 50-50 tackle until Ferdinand got in the way and was dumped to the floor by his team-mate. With Suarez' every touch accompanied by boos from the Old Trafford faithful, the striker lost his cool as the half-time whistle blew, when he fired the ball into the crowd. The anger of the United players spilt into the tunnel, with stewards called in to break the feuding teams up. To round off a fiery encounter, as the final whistle sounded Evra celebrated overexuberantly and in front of Suarez, resulting in both sets of players renewing hostilities.

All this overshadowed what was an important game for both sides as United looked to leapfrog neighbours Manchester City at the top of the table, whilst Liverpool continue to strive for a top four finish.

Despite the pre-match goings on, it was the visitors who started better, with Glen Johnson narrowly curling the ball wide of David De Gea's far post. Johnson's opposite number, United right-back Rafael, was next to go close as he forced Pepe Reina into a save low to his right.

With the game played mostly in central midfield, it wasn't until the 30th minute that the next chance arose. A neat passing move involving Paul Scholes, Danny Welbeck and Rooney, saw veteran Scholes play the ball out wide to Ryan Giggs. The Welshman delivered a sumptuous delivery into the box, where the onrushing Scholes headed straight at Reina.

Shortly before the break, Suarez courted more controversy when he skipped past Evra, but fell under the challenge of Ferdinand. The Reds' striker appealed to the officials, but replays showed that referee Phil Dowd was correct to deem it a fair challenge.

With tensions high after the half-time tunnel bust-up, United capitalised twice in the opening 5 minutes of the second-half. First, a Giggs corner found its way to the far post, from where Rooney had engineered a yard of space to fire a first-time volley into the net. Minutes later, Jay Spearing gave the ball away to the excellent Antonio Valencia, who advanced towards the Liverpool box before releasing Rooney, whose cool finish made it two.

It could, and maybe should, have been a hat-trick for Rooney, when Valencia toyed with Jose Enrique for the umpteenth time, before rolling the ball into the path of Rooney, via a Scholes dummy. The England striker though took a touch too many before prodding the ball wide.

With Liverpool struggling to get back into the game, Dalglish made a double change just after the hour mark. Spearing and the ineffective Stewart Downing made way for Craig Bellamy and Andy Carroll. When Charlie Adam became the Reds' third throw of the dice on 75 minutes, Liverpool began to see more of the ball and possessed more of an attacking threat. It was from an Adam free-kick that they got back in the game, when the ball rebounded off Ferdinand for Suarez, who else?, to fire home from six yards.

The Reds went looking for an equaliser and only a brilliant tip over from De Gea from Johnson's fierce 20-yard shot denied the visitors what would have been an unlikely point.

The win saw United go top for 24 hours, whilst defeat was another blow to Liverpool's hopes of reaching the top four. But, the repercussions of the result took a back seat, with the Evra-Suarez affair the headline maker for the wrong reasons once again.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Liverpool 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur: Suarez Returns But Reds Draw a Blank Again

Luis Suarez finally returned to action but was unable to inspire Liverpool to victory as they played out a dull 0-0 draw with Tottenham Hotspur.

After missing the last nine games, eight for racially abusing Patrice Evra and one for a hand gesture to Fulham fans, substitute Suarez entered proceedings on 65 minutes. But, in much the same fashion as the rest of the game, Liverpool's number seven was unable to provide the spark to lighten up a drab encounter.

After an impressive week which saw cup success over both Manchester clubs and a comfortable league win at Wolves, Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish resisted the temptation to throw Suarez straight back in, instead opting to keep faith with the improving Andy Carroll. At the back, the Reds were forced into a reshuffle with Jose Enrique ruled out with a groin injury, meaning Glen Johnson started at left-back, whilst skipper Steven Gerrard replaced Jordan Henderson in midfield.

For title-chasing Spurs, a host of names were missing through injury, with Rafael Van der Vaart and Aaron Lennon amongst the players left behind in North London. But perhaps the biggest omission from the visiting party was that of manager Harry Redknapp, after a flight from London was cancelled meaning he was unable to get from his Tax Evasion court appearance to Anfield. With Redknapp missing, assistants Kevin Bond and Joe Jordan took charge for the night.

The first half saw little goalmouth action, with both defences on top as both sides cancelled each other out. Being at home, Liverpool enjoyed most of the territorial advantage, with Spurs' fit-again defender Michael Dawson called into action as early as the fourth minute when he brilliantly made a last-ditch saving tackle when it looked as though Carroll was set to latch on to a Gerrard through ball. Jay Spearing was next to go close when he shot narrowly wide of Brad Friedel's post, whilst Johnson cut in from the left to force veteran  keeper Friedel to save on the stroke of half-time. Perhaps the most entertaining action of the first half though came when a stray cat wandered onto the Anfield turf and approached the Spurs goal before being ushered away by stewards.

After the break, the largely anonymous Gareth Bale finally got into the game, and referee Michael Oliver's notebook, when he was caught up in clash with Daniel Agger after an apparent dive by the Welsh international.

Liverpool continued to offer the greater threat, with Martin Kelly letting fly from 20 yards which forced Friedel into a good save to his left, before Suarez entered the action to a rapturous welcome from the Kop.

Almost immediately the Uruguayan found himself caught up in controversy again as he was booked for kicking Scott Parker in the mid-drift after the whistle had already sounded.

Further substitutions saw Stewart Downing come on for the Reds, whilst ex-Everton striker Louis Saha entered to a chorus of boos as he made his debut for Spurs.

With 17 minutes left, another Kelly surge down the right resulted in a cross falling at the feet of Carroll, but his shot went high and wide. Despite this miss though, the big striker continued his return to form with a solid performance in which he held the ball up and linked well with the Liverpool midfield and when he came on, Suarez.

Bale was involved in more controversy when he went down under the challenge of Martin Skrtel, although it looked like Skrtel had made contact with the ball as much as the man. Then with only six minutes remaining, the talented winger's night was summed up when he spurned a glorious chance to win the game.

Niko Krancjar's through ball set Bale one-on-one with Pepe Reina, but Bale's shot was straight at the Liverpool keeper allowing the Reds' defence to eventually clear.

There was still time for Suarez to head straight at Friedel from six yards, but neither side could find a breakthrough. As the whistle sounded, it was clear this was a better result for Spurs, as the point kept them involved in the title race, albeit on the periphery. For Liverpool though, this was the latest in a long list of failures to win at home this season. It is now 8 draws from 12 Premier League games at Anfield and leaves the Reds in seventh, still four points of a top for finish.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

What Constitutes a Successful Season?

Well, what a week that was!

Last Wednesday evening, a fantastic performance, most notably from Craig Bellamy, saw Liverpool beat Manchester City 3-2 on aggregate to advance to the Carling Cup final. Only three days later, a Manchester double was completed as United were dumped out of the FA Cup, thanks to a late Dirk Kuyt winner. There was a worry that Wolves on Tuesday night would be a case of "after the Lord mayor's show", but a professional and dominant performance saw the Reds run out comfortable 3-0 winners.

So, after the shambolic performance at Bolton Wanderers and subsequent public lambasting by Dalglish, those 3 games in 7 days have revitalised the Reds season. A trip to Wembley in late February to face Cardiff City is booked, a FA Cup 5th round home tie with Brighton represents a great chance to move a step closer to another visit to the big arch-thingy (much easier to refer to when the Twin Towers were there!), whilst the victory at Molineux moved us into fifth place in the league, only four points behind Chelsea and a Champions League spot. Furthermore, after a first half of the season where goals were in thin supply, we suddenly look to have worked out what that net is for at the end of the pitch, with Bellamy, Kuyt and even Andy Carroll all having notched on at least one occasion recently. Add to this the fact that our brilliant number seven Luis Suarez is now refreshed and available again after his 8-game ban, things look very rosy indeed at Anfield.

So, from where we currently are at the start of February, what outcome from the second half of the season would constitute a successful campaign?

Well, at the start of any season, the dream for everyone connected with Liverpool Football Club is to win the league. However, with King Kenny’s side still in it’s formative years, realism shows that we are still a way off even mounting a challenge for the title. Instead, a more realistic aim for the current crop is a Top 4 finish, a position which means qualification for Champions League football. It's been two seasons since we were last involved in Europe's elite competition, three if you count the terrible display we put up in the 2009-10 competition where we failed at the group stages. And, there is no doubt about it, it has been missed. From a business point of view, the loss of revenue from Champions League football is astronomical, whilst no participation in the competition can also prove a major hurdle when trying to entice, or hold on to, high quality players. From a fans point of view, Champions football is also important. There's nothing better than a European night at Anfield, although following the Reds around Europe to places like the Nou Camp and Bernabeu does come close.

But, as good as Champions League qualification is, it doesn't win you anything. It doesn’t sit proudly in the Anfield trophy room for future generations to see. As Bill Shankly, the greatest manager of them all, once said “First is first, second is nothing!”. Look at Arsenal, perennial qualifiers for the Champions League, the Gunners haven't won anything since 2005. It is that lack of success which is what they are renowned for and is the reason why manager Arsene Wenger continually finds himself under pressure.

This is where our Carling Cup final comes into play. It is imperative that we beat Cardiff City on Sunday 26th February. Of course, if we do beat the side from South Wales, there will be endless amounts of people labelling the competition as "The Mickey Mouse Cup". Yes it is a competition which some sides choose to put at the bottom of their priority list, but the truth is that it doesn't matter. At the end of the day it is a trophy and Liverpool Football Club exists to win trophies. If we manage to in it, and go on and add the FA Cup too, then imagine the confidence this would instill into this exciting evolving team. It would give the likes of Suarez, Carroll, Jordan Henderson and the other relatively new players belief that they can help Liverpool pick up major trophies. I also think sight of a Liverpool team back winning trophies again would prove a major attraction for the top players, regardless of whether or not Champions League football has been assured.

So, fast-forward to the end of May. If we have finished fourth but won nothing, would that be classed as a success? If we have won 1, maybe 2, cups but finished outside top four, would we all be happy? If we win a cup and finish in fifth place, but our arch-rivals Manchester United finish second and end the season empty-handed, who will have had the best season?

For me, both a Top four finish and cup success is important. But, for this season, if I had to choose one, I’d go with the silverware. However, on reflection, why do we have to choose? Instead, we could just do a "2001"... win both cups and finish 4th. Then we'd all be happy!

Wolves 0-3 Liverpool: Carroll Nets in Reds' Stroll

After a difficult first year at Anfield, Andy Carroll got his second off to the best possible start as he scored to help Liverpool to a comfortable 3-0 win at Molineux.

Exactly twelve months ago, Carroll was putting pen to paper in a £35m deal, but, with only six goals scored since, question marks have been raised about whether the big striker can make the grade at Anfield. However, after impressing in the FA Cup win over Manchester United on Saturday, Carroll marked his anniversary with a well-taken goal.

With Steven Gerrard given the night off after a hectic return to the side following his long injury lay-off, Jay Spearing returned to the Liverpool midfield after his own spell on the treatment table. Attempting to freshen his side up, Kenny Dalglish also opted to give recalls to the match winners from the Reds last two games, Craig Bellamy and Dirk Kuyt.

Full of confidence after their cup heroics, Liverpool dominated proceedings, cutting through the Wolves defence at will. Carroll and Kuyt combined in the third minute, with the Dutchman failing to convert, before Bellamy prodded wide after an excellent Jordan Henderson through ball.

Daniel Agger was next to go close, when his 25th minute header forced home keeper Wayne Hennessey into a fine save. The Welsh number one was then called into action to stop international teammate Bellamy's 25-yard free-kick. Wolves were then lucky not to concede a penalty when Charlie Adam was seemingly bundled to the floor by a clumsy Emmanuel Frimpong challenge.

But, as has been the case so often his season, the visitors were unable to turn their supremacy into goals, and were very nearly made to pay when Michael Kightly, who had been the home side's one shining light, played a neat one-two with Steven Fletcher, before hitting a rasping half-volley which Pepe Reina did well to keep out.

Only seven minutes after the restart though, Liverpool finally found the net. A quick Bellamy throw-in found Adam, who hit a fantastic pin-point cross to the far post, where Carroll got in front of his marker to stab home from six yards.

Just after the hour mark, the lead was doubled when Bellamy picked the ball up on the left, was allowed to advance unchallenged to the edge of the box, before side-footing into the far corner, although Hennessey will feel he should have done better with the shot. The goal was the Welsh forward's sixth goal in seven league starts and no more than he deserved after another energetic performance.

Not content with two, the Reds looked for a third, with both Agger and Carroll heading narrowly wide. Kuyt saw a deflected shot tipped over by Hennessey, before the Reds cemented their win with twelve minutes to go. A flowing counter-attack saw Jose Enrique find Kuyt, who exchanged passes with Adam, before slotting in from an angle for his 50th Premier League goal for the Reds.

Wolves' sub Sylvain Ebanks-Blake struck the Liverpool post late on from 20 yards, but in truth the hosts were well beaten, with the home support voicing their frustration after the result left Mick McCarthy's struggling side second from bottom and without a win in nine games.

For Liverpool though, things are suddenly looking up. After a week which saw the Reds knock out both Manchester clubs to reach the Carling Cup final and the FA Cup 5th round, this win sees Dalglish's men move up to fifth in the Premier League, only four points off Chelsea, who currently occupy the last Champions League spot. With goals having been hard to come by so far this season, the sight of strikers Carroll, Kuyt and Bellamy all scoring will fill the Reds' faithful with excitement. Furthermore, this was the last game of star striker Luis Suarez' 8-game ban, meaning the Uruguayan forward is free to play when Tottenham Hotspur visit Anfield on Monday.

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