Wigan Athletic 0-4 Liverpool

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By AmericanKopite, 02-03-2013, 20:25:23


The Traveling Kop was in full voice for this fixture just east of Anfield. Ninth place Liverpool were looking to claw their way back up the table against 17th place Wigan. History would suggest that Roberto Martinez’ side has the advantage, but the motivation Liverpool gained after last week’s defeat would certainly be fuel to their red fire. Martin Atkinson was the official in charge as the match got underway at the DW Stadium.

Within three minutes the match was underway with goals when a clever cross by Phillipe Couthino on the left edge of the box found the forehead of the opposite winger, Stewart Downing, and was easily nudged in for the 1-nil advantage.

Close call in the 13th minute when clever passing in front of goal saw captain Steven Gerrard with a clear shot at goal, but better defending by Wigan saw that attack thwarted.

Wigan Athletic have the worst home record in the premier league and that record looked like it would suffer more in the 13th minute with Liverpool’s second goal. It was Couthino once more on the left edge of the box with a lovely weighted through ball to Luis Suarez who played it cooly and didn’t miss from six yards out. That was Suarez’ fourth goal in five appearances against The Latics, and the traveling Kop at the other end made that stat clear.

Redemption for Wigan when a volley from Emmerson Boyce was aimed perfectly into the top left corner, but a reflex save by Reina saw the ball cleared away. The Latics were still showing life despite the scoreline.

Wigan were beginning to fall apart internally and Liverpool were not helping matters. After being obstructed a few yards outside the box, Luis Suarez was given a free kick just left of the goal. Suarez had his free kick lined up beautifully and it dropped right under the hands of Wigan keeper, Ali Al-Habsi. Al-Habsi couldn’t control the ball as it took a bounce off the underside of his hands, the inside of the right post, and into the net for the three-nil lead. “A complete collapse,” one might say, after that 33rd minute goal.

It was all Liverpool at both ends of the pitch when Franco Di Santo took another powerful shot at Pepe Reina, but the even more powerful hands of Reina were there to smack the ball over the bar.

Wigan were finally given something to cheer about about when Joe Allen earned the second yellow card of the match in the 44th minute after a tough challenge. The first was given to Gary Caldwell.


Another yellow card, this one to Liverpool. Lucas Leiva got tangled with Shaun Maloney just outside the area and the free kick was given. The reputation of referee Martin Atkinson as a man who loves his cards certainly preceeded him as that was his third card he gave out in the first 45 minutes.

The resulting free kick was comfortably tipped over the bar by Reina once again and that was the last kick of the first half.

Liverpool were facing commentator’s left and the second half kicked off with no personnel changes from either side and no changes in the match either. Just seconds in Luis Suarez was off to the races running down the far side of the pitch with no one around him and no one in front of goal except Al-Habsi. Suarez once again kept calm and scored a goal. It was his 21st goal of the year and  and yet another hat trick in the Premier League. Suarez’ second goal also made him the first player in the league to reach 20 goals, and the league’s leading goal scorer.

All three of Wigan’s substitutions were made within 10 minutes starting in the 52nd when Roger Espinoza was switched for Franco Di Santo and Antolin Alcaraz came on for an injured Gary Caldwell. 10 minutes after that it was Callum McManaman for Jean Beausejour.

Wigan really started pouring forward in the 65th minute giving Liverpool something to work with, but the capable defence continued to clear out shot after shot.

Liverpool then made their first switch when Jordan Henderson was on for Phillipe Couthino in the 70th minute.

The match finally settled into a back and forth rhythm after the substitution, but Liverpool still pressed for more in the 88th minute when a corner met by Jordan Henderson was all but certain to cross the line but for the good defensive stance of James McCarthy.

You’ll Never Walk Alone rang around the stadium so loud one would think the vacant Wigan seats were full of Liverpool fans. And shortly thereafter, it was all over. Liverpool had come away with the big win and Luis Suarez goes home with 49 Liverpool goals in his pocket along with the match ball beside him after an impressive hat trick.

Full time at the DW stadium; Wigan nil, Liverpool four.

Liverpool now find themselves 7th place in the league just nine points off fourth place, Tottenham Hotspur. And to hot things up even more it’ll be Tottenham Hotspur who visit Anfield on the 10th of March for an afternoon fixture that could shake up a multitude of European places with 10 games remaining in the 2013 campaign.

Until then,
–AK


FA to investigate U21’s Man Utd clash

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The FA is set to investigate incidents which took place during Monday night’s Under-21 match between Liverpool and Manchester United.

A fan ran onto the pitch during the game at St Helens’ Langtree Park stadium and there were also two flares set off in the stands, one of which was thrown onto the pitch. It is understood that none of the fans involved had Liverpool tickets but the Football Association have confirmed they will be writing to both clubs about the incidents.article-0-184A96CE000005DC-806_634x334[1]

It was also reported that visiting fans were singing offensive chants. Merseyside Police said they had not received any complaints regarding the fixture.


The game itself ended in a 1-0 defeat for the Reds following a late winner from Michele Fornasier. Liverpool had done well until the centre back’s 94th minute strike to hang on following the earlier dismissal of Stephen Sama early in the second half.

The two sets of fans have a well-documented rivalry at senior level, but with a lot of fans unable to buy tickets before it’s too late the youth clashes between the sides have become more popular in recent years. The rivalry seems to have carried over, and this is not the first time a youth match between the two clubs has been affected

Six United fans were ejected from Anfield in 2011 during an FA Youth Cup game between the sides, following another incident involving a flare, and chants from the visiting fans about Hillsborough and Heysel.

Liverpool 3 – 1 Zenit

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Both Steven Gerrard and Martin Skrtel called for the home fans to produce an atmosphere to make another European classic in the hopes of overturning the 2-nil lead Zenit took last week. Here’s how the night unfolded:

Liverpool had a high pressure attack from the get-go with the backing of all 42,000 home fans and the first 10 minutes were a testament to the tiki-taka style Liverpool used in their 5-nil win against Swansea City.

Liverpool pressure would prove to be their downfall when Brazilian striker Hulk played his through ball wonderfully to a one on one situation against Pepe Reina and made the most of his gift to make the score 1-nil to the visitors, and the aggregate score 3-nil. With Zenit’s away goal, Liverpool would now need four goals to move on to the next round.

10 minutes later with the help of the Liverpool fans, Luis Suarez capitalized on his opportunity when Liverpool were awarded a free kick right on the edge of the 18 and Suarez delivered. A magical curler that hit the middle of the net thanks to the offset goalkeeper lit the stadium on fire and the fans were louder than ever. It sounded like Liverpool were 4-nil up, but alas, after 30 minutes it was just 1-1.

The fans wouldn’t stop and neither would the Liverpool attack. 40 minutes into the half Jose Enrique flew down the left wing and delivered a cross that was met with Joe Allen’s right foot and hit the same spot that Luis Suarez’ shot hit and 2-1 was the score for the home side. 2-2 on aggregate. That would be the last action of the first half.

When play resumed Liverpool attacked with a head full of steam toward the Kop. Five minutes into the half Liverpool felt deserving of a penalty kick after Zenit’s defence allgedely handled the ball quite well just inside the area. Further replay showed there was a deliberate handball.

But no matter. In the 59th minute a divine intervention came through for the reds. Liverpool were awarded a free kick 35 yards out and though the Anfield faithful called for their captain to take it, Luis Suarez had the bravado to step up. Suarez stepped up twice and made it nice. Shades of Roberto Carlos came out when Suarez’ corner swerved outside the right post and whipped back inside the top corner for Suarez’ 25th goal of the season and one that will be making the highlights for years to come. 3-1 was the score on the night and 3-3 was the score on aggregate. The reds were one goal away from making history and doing the impossible.


Liverpool made a double sub a minute later when Jonjo Shelvey replaced Joe Allen and Oussama Assaidi came on for Jordan Henderson. Shelvey was booked for a rash tackle just a minute later.

A big scare for Liverpool when Hulk wanted to score his second from 35 yards out, but his shot went just wide and play resumed with Liverpool pressing harder than ever.

Suarez was at it again in the 69th minute when another free kick was given on the edge, but this one was mercifully met by Zenit keeper Vyacheslav Malafeev. And that wasn’t his only great save, Steven Gerrard bounced a shot off the ground that was just diverted by Malafeev’s fingertips.

Pressure continued through the 80th minute as it was an all out attack by the reds and an all out defence by Zenit. The next goal would surely be the winner for either side.

Brendan Rodgers chose skill over experience in the 84th minute when Raheem Sterling came on for stewart Downing and Zenit also made a sub when Milan Rodic replaced Sergey Semak.

Tensions were through the roof and overflowing. The board for added time read three minutes and all 10 of Liverpool’s outfield players were over the halfway line. Pepe Reina was sent forawrd for the last corner of the match and “You’ll Never Walk Alone” rang for the remaining three minutes.

After 93 minutes the final whistle blew and Liverpool won the match 3-1, but because of the aggregate score reading 3-3 with Zenit’s away goal in the mix, it was over.

Liverpool are out of the Europa League and now have the top six battle to focus on with their next match nine days away when they travel East to face Wigan Athletic.

Skrtel calls for another European classic

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Martin Skrtel has called on the Anfield faithful to provide another classic Liverpool European night on Thursday, as the Reds attempt to overturn a 2-0 deficit in the second leg of the Europa League clash with Zenit.

The Reds looked comfortable for 70 minutes in Russia before disaster struck, and Skrtel is hopeful that with the fans backing they can still make it through to the next round.

Speaking to Liverpoolfc.com, Skrtel said: “The atmosphere at Anfield in European games is always special and the game on Thursday will be even more because we lost the first game and the crowd feel we need their help. I’m pretty sure they will help us.”

martin-skrtel-3473916[1]Despite Luis Suarez missing a host of chances Liverpool had looked the better side for most of the first leg. Disaster struck for them though as goals from Hulk and Sergey Semak made the score 2-0 to the home side in the space of three minutes.

Liverpool FC is sponsored by several betting companies, and they’re all backing the Reds to lose the tie. Much as the club’s corporate partners may have lost faith though the players haven’t, and Skrtel was quick to point out reasons to be optimistic.

“As we lost there 2-0, the same can happen to them at Anfield. We still have a shot and we will do everything possible and try our best to get a result and get us to the next round.

“We controlled the game and created four or five chances. Unfortunately we couldn’t take them and score a goal. That gives us belief for the next game – we created chances away so we’ll definitely create them at home. We just need to take them.”

Skrtel was signed from Zenit in 2008 by former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez, and Thursday’s game was the first time the Slovak had lined up against his old club since leaving them. He will no doubt be hoping that if he features in the Anfield clash he endures better luck against his former employers.

Liverpool 5 – 0 Swansea City

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By jpa90, 17-02-2013, 18:05:21

Liverpool put five past Swansea City at Anfield in a game that took the Reds above the Swans in the Premier League. Steven Gerrard netted a penalty and Philippe Coutinho scored his first Liverpool goal 16 seconds into the second half. Jose Enrique added a third and Luis Suarez scored Liverpool’s fourth with a well-placed effort. Daniel Sturridge converted Liverpool’s second penalty of the day, giving Liverpool a 5-0 victory.

After disappointing results both last weekend and midweek, Liverpool returned to winning ways against a side with one eye on a cup final next weekend. This takes nothing away from a solid Liverpool performance however, who punished an extremely lacklustre Swansea.

Liverpool started well and were testing Swansea’s defence with quick passing and good movement in attack. Glen Johnson slotted the ball towards Sturridge, who let it run into the path of Suarez. The striker released a powerful shot but it was straight into the keeper’s arms.

An effort from Stewart Downing swerved just wide after the midfielder had moved into the middle from the right wing and hit the ball with power. Michel Vorm was untroubled but the Reds piling on the pressure in the first ten minutes.

Suarez was causing problems for the Swansea defenders and was brought down on the edge of the 18 yard box. Gerrard’s free-kick smashed into the wall and Suarez went for a curling effort with the rebound, which whizzed just over the bar.

Swansea saw very little of possession in the first 20 minutes and Liverpool were quick to move the ball forward when they had won it back. Suarez played a high ball over the defence and located Sturridge in acres of space. Sturridge darted into the box and ran across the face of the goal only to be shoved off the ball by Kyle Bartley. Coutinho picked up the loose ball on the left and hit his shot wide after being closed down by Vorm.

Gerrard forced a corner when his shot was deflected wide. He played in a cross which fell to Suarez on the right side of the penalty area. Kemy Agustien was tight on Suarez but missed the ball with his challenge and brought the striker down. Gerrard stepped up to take the penalty and made amends for his miss last week by hammering the ball into the bottom left corner to make it 1-0.

The Reds continued to pressurise the visitors after the goal and Sturridge came close to adding a second when he was found unmarked in attack. Sturridge tapped the ball past Vorm, but Agustien was on hand to smash it away from goal.

Half time arrived and Swansea had only managed a total of three shots on goal against Liverpool’s total of 21. Possession had been fairly even in the first period but where the home side were calm and creative, Swansea had been wasteful and sluggish.

Liverpool made the best possible start with just 16 seconds of the second half played when Suarez played the ball into the path of Coutinho. The midfielder sprinted towards goal and released a fierce strike. Vorm managed to get something on the ball but could not stop it from reaching the back of the net, giving Coutinho his first goal for Liverpool.

Seconds after making it 2-0, Coutinho was inches away from adding a third. Suarez put a low cross in from the right and the midfielder flicked the ball on with his heel, only to see it skip just past the post.

The third came minutes later when Liverpool were pressing the visitors on the left wing. Jose Enrique moved inside and passed it to Sturridge who knocked it back into the defender’s path. The move was too fast for the Swansea defence and Jose Enrique poked the ball into the net with his right, putting the Reds 3-0 up with only five minutes of the second half gone.

Things went from bad to worse for Swansea when Downing located Suarez with a perfect pass 20 yards out. The striker jinxed past two challenges and placed a left-footed shot into the bottom corner, giving the home side a 4-0 lead.

The Swans had completely lost what little control they had on the game as Liverpool began to open them up with ease. Vorm was all that prevented Sturridge from scoring a fifth when the striker was played through and released a rasping effort. Vorm turned it into the path of Suarez, whose follow-up shot was blocked.

Vorm made another fantastic save when Jordan Henderson put Sturridge through on goal again. Sturridge put a great deal of power into his effort which would have crept into the bottom left if not for Vorm’s outstretched leg.

Jose Enrique launched a cross into the Swansea area and Wayne Routledge inexplicably diverted it away from Suarez’s path with his arm. This time it was Sturridge who took the penalty and he knocked it over Vorm’s flailing body, Liverpool’s fifth goal of the day.

The Reds were relentless in attack and Sturridge was unlucky not to claim his second when his fierce shot bounced off the top of the cross-bar. With the Swans yet to threaten Pepe Reina’s goal in the second half, Liverpool were about as comfortable as it gets with 15 minutes remaining.

The only negative aspect of Liverpool’s day was the loss of Fabio Borini to a suspected dislocated shoulder. Swansea will aim to forget their poor performance and look towards their biggest day in footballing history next Sunday. Three points take Liverpool above Swansea to 7th in the Premier League and the Reds will aim to turn around a two goal deficit against Zenit St Petersburg on Thursday.

Kopworld man of the match: Luis Suarez

Rodgers unhappy with Swansea date switch

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Brendan Rodgers has said that he is disappointed about the timing of Sunday’s game against his old club.

He told the club’s official website: “I was very disappointed with the Premier League, to be honest.

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“The game wasn’t scheduled until the 24th and there were a number of weeks after that when we could have played the game.

“So to actually put it in during a week when we’ve played on a Monday, on the Thursday with an away trip to Russia and then between another important European second leg game – it was another example of where the Premier League don’t help teams.

“For us to have it thrown in there when there were other free weeks, was bemusing to say the least.

“I may need to freshen the team up a wee bit. But we’ll arrive into it with the same ambitions and drive and determination to get a result.

“We had a similar thing earlier on in the season where we went away to Udinese – which was a tough trip – and had a decent performance, came back and were away to West Ham and won the game.

“Thankfully we don’t have to travel away and the players will really be up for the game at the weekend and looking to get a good result.”

Sturridge fit for Swansea game

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Brendan Rodgers has confirmed that Daniel Sturridge is fit and available for selection against Swansea on Sunday afternoon.

The former Man City and Chelsea forward missed the defeat against West Brom through injury and sat out last night’s loss to Zenit through being cup tied thanks to already playing in Europe for Chelsea this season.

danielsturridgeliverpoolceleb20130203_275x155[1]However, Rodgers confirmed he will have the striker at his disposal when the Swans travel to Anfield at the weekend.

“Daniel will be fit for the weekend which is great for us,” Rodgers told reporters gathered at Melwood.

Philippe Coutinho could also be set for a full debut after making a late substitute appearance against West Brom and missing the trip to Russia through being cup tied. When asked whether the young Brazilian could feature on Sunday Rodgers said: “He’s certainly in my thinking.” “He’s come in and has needed a bit of time to adapt to a new way of working and a new life. But you can see the kid’s qualities. He’s got good experience for a young player.”

“Over the next couple of days I’ll take my time and have a think about [whether he will start].”

“He’s certainly got the qualities to come into the group and he knows the way of working.”

Skrtel tells Russian press that he misses Zenit

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Martin Skrtel spoke to Russian newspaper Sport Express after the game and said “You know, this game was ambiguous. We had a lot of moments. Suarez could have scored four times, but in the end Zenit scored. This is a typical illustration of the phrase: ‘This is football’.”

article-1069829-02E9140800000578-671_468x431[1]The defender was clearly disappointed but it had been a good opportunity for him to return to a club where he enjoyed a good spell before moving to Anfield. The reporter asked Skrtel if he missed Zenit and replied: “Of course, because I had a very good year here.”

When his name was read out in the stadium, a lot of the home fans cheered him and although he didn’t hear it himself, he said he was informed by others “In the dressing room, a massage therapist told me some applauded, and some whistled. But I believe that more of them clapped!”

‘We can beat Zenit’ says Rodgers

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Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes that his side can overturn last night’s 2-0 defeat against Zenit St Petersburg in next week’s return leg at Anfield.

His team were beaten in the first-leg tie by second half goals from Hulk and Sergei Semak. Liverpool had several chances of their own before falling behind, with Luis Suarez guilty of missing a glut of chances.the-kop-at-anfield-620-214562832-3003944[1]

Rodgers still believes that his team can progress despite the defeat: “It’s not over by any means,” he said. “If we can get the next goal back then we can really put them under pressure with our fans behind us and what gives us great hope is that we created loads of chances.”

“We have a chance in the second leg. The next goal is hugely important, if we can get that then we can create great momentum. We know it is retrievable and we believe we still have a fighting chance.”

Rodgers added that aside from the goals conceded, he felt his side’s performance was “almost perfect” for an away match in Europe. The former Swansea City manager put the goals conceded down to inexperience and insisted his players would not make the same errors in six months’ time.

A fast start and no goals conceded will both be crucial next week if Liverpool are to progress to the last sixteen of Europe’s second cup competition.

Liverpool supporters attacked in Russia

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954542-15690400-640-360[1]Liverpool supporters were attacked in Russia before and after the Europa League match at Zenit St Petersburg last night.

A report on St Petersburg’s Peter TV channel said that on the night prior to the game that a 40-strong group had attacked travelling fans as they emerged from a bar in the city.

Liverpool supporters were forced to take shelter inside before security staff used baseball bats to disperse the attackers. Local media reports said nobody was seriously injured in the incident.

Supporters also said they had been attacked on metro trains as they travelled to and from the Petrovsky Stadium, with some also claiming to have been attacked inside the ground.

The Zenit fans have been under the spotlight of late after sections claimed that the club should employ no homosexual or black players in the squad.

Brendan Rodgers had commended the home support for their behaviour during the game and thanked them for a warm welcome.