Match Review: Liverpool 2 Wolves 1

Liverpool bounced back from their defeat against Spurs with three points against Wolves at Anfield yesterday. The win ended a spell of two league defeats for the Reds and saw them climb back up to 6th in the table claim their first September Premier League win since the 6-1 victory over Hull City in 2009. Overview As against Brighton in the Carling Cup in midweek, Liverpool looked better in the first half than they did in the second. A own goal from Wolves centre back Roger Johnson had set them on their way before some customary brilliance by Luis Suárez doubled the lead. The Reds played some good football in the first forty-five minutes, with Andy Carroll looking sharp and Suárez coming within inches of adding a third goal. A double change at half time from Mick McCarthy saw an improvement from Wolves, and soon after the restart Steven Fletcher pulled a goal back for the visitors. The Reds hung on though, at times looking nervy, for an important three points ahead of the games against Everton and Manchester United. The Match Liverpool didn’t start particularly brightly, giving away three free kicks in the first three minutes of the match, and Jamie O’Hara had the first half chance of the match in the eighth minute when he fired straight at Pepe Reina after Kevin Doyle’s cutback. That seemed to shock the Reds out of their shells a little, and they began to come forward, winning a couple of corners. And just as they were getting into their stride, they took a slightly fortunate lead. When a cross from Martin Kelly was headed away by Johnson, it went only as far as Charlie Adam. The Scot fired in a shot which was arrowing wide of Wayne Hennessey’s goal, but Johnson, his mind still on a perceived foul by Carroll in the build up, glanced a header past his ‘keeper and into his own net. The goal truly settled Liverpool into the match, and Suárez was beginning to look effervescent as he dragged Christophe Berra all over the pitch. The former Hearts’ defender’s afternoon would get worse, but first Hennessey had to save low to his right after Carroll headed a Downing corner goalwards. Carroll was showing a sharpness that hasn’t always been evident since his January move from Newcastle, closing down opposition players and moving well off the ball. It was Suárez who was proving the bigger threat, however, making Johnson look a fool with a neat back heel between the centre backs legs as he tried to usher the Uruguayan out of play. The two strikers very nearly combined in the twenty second minute. Lucas found Carroll in space on the left and he came forward, expecting a challenge. Johnson stayed glued to the threat of Downing, however, allowing Carroll to curl a cross into the penalty area. It was right across the clichéd ‘corridor of uncertainty’ and Suárez slid in to meet it, missing by only inches when just a touch would have grabbed him a goal. Suárez was quite clearly ‘in the mood’ and flashed an effort past the post when Downing cut a pass back into his path just after the half hour. The goal that he was looking for finally came eight minutes later. José Enrique spotted that the Wolves defence were trying to press higher up the pitch and play offside, and lofted the ball over the top of them. The offside line hadn’t worked, Suárez springing in and racing into the penalty area. As he checked back onto his right foot, Berra got back to cover, but the Scot was twisted inside out as Suárez turned back onto his left and rifled a shot past Hennessey at the near post. Suárez came close to tying up the game for the Reds in injury time at the end of the first half. Downing’s cross ricocheted to him, and a prod with the outside of his right boot left Hennessey beaten, but the ball dribbled past the post as well. In a number of games this season, Liverpool’s second half performance hasn’t been up to the levels of they have achieved in the first. Yesterday was no exception, and they were put on the back foot from early on. Steven Fletcher and Matt Doherty were sent on in place of Richard Stearman and David Edwards and it was Fletcher who had an immediate impact. Liverpool were looking to settle back into their rhythm as the half began, but just four minutes in they were put on edge. After Reina’s punch clear fell to Karl Henry, and the midfielder’s attempted cross fell kindly for Stephen Hunt, the Irishman cut a ball back towards Fletcher. The Scot – a boyhood Liverpool fan – had pulled off his marker and had the space to hammer the ball into the roof of the net. The Reds almost regained their two goal advantage immediately, a ball into the box dropped by Hennessey as Carroll challenged him, but the Wolves ‘keeper sprang up well to make the save when Suárez attempted to turn the loose ball into the net. The second half progressed with the Reds continuing to look nervous in light of their reduced lead. They continued to fashion chances, however, and in the 53rd minute Carroll came within inches of netting his first league goal of the season. Downing moved the ball out to Enrique, who fired in a cross from the left. Carroll beat Berra to the ball, but from five yards out his header crashed against the post. Wolves were attacking with more confidence as the match went on, but even so they struggled to carve out clear openings. The biggest cheer left in the match was reserved for the appearance of Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, who came on with ten minutes remaining. The noise would have been deafening though, had his shot in front of the Kop, from Carroll’s flick on, dipped just a little lower instead of flying over Hennessey’s cross bar. Stats 730 – Liverpool had not won a Premier League game in September since they beat Hull 6-1 on 26/9/2009; 730 days ago. 88 – Jordan Henderson completed 88% of his passes against Wolves. 17 – Both sides managed 17 shots on goal during the game. Liverpool blocked 8 of Wolves’ shots. 10 – Liverpool made 10 interceptions during the game, all of which came in the left hand half of the pitch. Quotes “Luis has been outstanding since he came to the football club, not just on the pitch but off it as well. We are very fortunate to have him. “We look forward to many more happy days with him here because he’s a fantastic footballer. It’s interesting – when big Andy plays half decent, nobody comes in and asks an Andy Carroll question! “(He did) everything except score a goal. We couldn’t have got much more out of the big fella today and we were delighted with him and for him.” Kenny Dalglish praises his strikeforce after a good showing. “I think we deserved three points although it was difficult at times. They put us under a bit of pressure in the first half but we went 2-0 up. They scored early in the second half which gave them a bit of momentum. “Equally at the other end we hit the bar twice and there was an unbelievable save from Luis. Overall we deserved to win. “If we’d (converted all our chances) there’d have been no one left in the stadium with 20 minutes to go! We maybe got a bit of good fortune with the first goal but we deserved a bit of luck – we’ve not had too much recently.” Dalglish was happy with the overall performance that gave Liverpool their first three points since the win over Bolton. Summary It wasn’t a classic, but it was three points. After losing against Stoke and Tottenham, the result was far more important than the performance. It was no surprise that Luis Suárez was again the leading light of their side, but it was certainly encouraging to see brighter sparks from Andy Carroll. The former Newcastle man has been much maligned since his move, so it is only right that he is given credit when it is due. With games against Everton and Manchester United up next, it was vital to get back to winning ways, and put themselves back in good mind before two huge games.    

View the full story here: Kopsource

A news article on 2011-09-25 13:01:05 from: Kopsource

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