English Premiership

Reds maul Wolves

2012-02-01 07:24
Andy Carroll (Getty Images)

Wolverhampton - Andy Carroll boosted Liverpool's hopes of qualifying for the Champions League as he scored his fifth goal of the season to help his side to a convincing 3-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Tuesday.

The striker joined Liverpool from Newcastle United for £35 million on transfer deadline day 12 months ago and he repaid another small portion of his transfer fee with a close-range finish to open the scoring in the 52nd minute.

Craig Bellamy curled home Liverpool's second nine minutes later and Dirk Kuyt wrapped up the points with a low strike in the 78th minute at the end of a sweeping counter-attack.

Liverpool coach Kenny Dalglish made five changes from the team that knocked Manchester United out of the FA Cup as he took the decision to rest skipper Steven Gerrard.

Glen Johnson, Jay Spearing, Charlie Adam, Bellamy and Kuyt were all recalled, with Martin Kelly, Stewart Downing and Jamie Carragher dropped to the bench, while Maxi Rodriguez was left out completely.

Mick McCarthy made one change from the Wolves team that lost to Aston Villa last time out as Eggert Jonsson came into the centre of midfield for the suspended Karl Henry.

Liverpool created an opening in the third minute when Bellamy's cross from the left was flicked on by Carroll into the path of Kuyt inside the six-yard box, but the Dutch striker was unable to control a difficult ball.

Wolves' best early chance came in the 12th minute when Kevin Foley delivered a dangerous curling ball from the right but David Edwards failed to make clean contact with a shot that went straight into the arms of Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina.

Edwards headed high and wide from an unmarked position three minutes later when he was picked out by Michael Kightly's free-kick as Wolves responded to Liverpool's positive early intent.

Liverpool began to turn up the heat on Wolves and felt they were denied a penalty in the 36th minute when Emmanuel Frimpong appeared to nudge Adam from behind but referee Anthony Taylor waved away the appeals.

The lively Bellamy forced Wales compatriot Wayne Hennessey to make a diving save to his left shortly before half-time, while Kightly saw his shot from the edge of the box whistle past the post after a neat one-two with Steven Fletcher.

Liverpool seized the initiative after the interval when they took the lead through Carroll after the visitors caught the Wolves defence off guard.

Bellamy took a quick throw-in near the 18-yard box and Adam whipped an inch-perfect cross from the left that found Carroll, who escaped the attentions of Jonsson to prod the ball past Hennessey.

Liverpool added a second when Bellamy cut inside from the left and took the shooting opportunity afforded to him as the Wolves defence backed off by bending a low shot into the bottom-right corner.

Dalglish's side were now firmly in control and Kuyt forced Hennessey to tip a rasping shot over the bar shortly after with a well-struck shot from the edge of the box.

The Dutch international had his goal in the 78th minute though, as Liverpool punished Wolves on the counter-attack started by a cross-field pass from Luis Enrique.

Kuyt exchanged passes with Adam before smashing a low shot across goal and past the despairing dive of Hennessey.

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