English Premiership

Reds roll back to the top

2014-04-06 19:34
Steven Gerrard (AFP)

London - Liverpool have moved a step closer to the Premier League title in controversial fashion as Steven Gerrard's penalty sealed a 2-1 victory at West Ham and capped a miserable afternoon for referee Anthony Taylor on Sunday.

Gerrard fired Liverpool back to the top of the table after Brendan Rodgers' side were given a dubious second half spot-kick by Taylor, who had earlier allowed Guy Demel's equaliser for West Ham despite a clear foul on Reds goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.

Liverpool captain Gerrard had given his side the lead in the first half with another penalty which was far less debatable and his second spot-kick took him past Kenny Dalglish on the all-time list of Liverpool goal-scorers.

A far more significant Dalglish-related milestone is now in sight as Gerrard's double means Liverpool are just five wins away from being crowned English champions for the first time since the Scot led them to the title in 1990.

The Reds are two points clear of second placed Chelsea and four ahead of third placed Manchester City, who have two games in hand but face Rodgers' team at Anfield next Sunday.

Liverpool are in red-hot form, winning their last nine matches to prove their title credentials, and they held their nerve impressively after West Ham's contentious equaliser.

"There were bad decisions both for and against us but we were clearly the better team," Rodgers said.

"In fairness the referee came out after the game and said he got it wrong for their goal. I thought the second penalty was possibly a penalty."

While it was the officials who eventually stole the spotlight, all the focus before kick-off was on Liverpool's in-form forwards.

Luis Suarez has been unstoppable in recent weeks and the Uruguayan was quickly into his stride once again.

He curled a free-kick just over the crossbar from 30 yards in the third minute and went even closer 16 minutes later.

West Ham's defenders switched off at a throw-in and Suarez alertly seized possession before lofting the ball goalwards, only to see his effort rebound to safety off the bar.

Rodgers' men had only failed to score in two league games this season and they kept their nerve to take the lead in the 44th minute.

Inevitably, Suarez was the catalyst for the breakthrough as he split the defence to reach Gerrard's brilliant long pass and cleverly flicked the ball back past James Tomkins, who instinctively stuck out an arm to block.

Taylor awarded the penalty and Gerrard stepped up to calmly send Adrian the wrong way from the spot.

Yet Liverpool's lead lasted just minutes as the hosts drew level in the most bizarre circumstances.

Former Reds striker Andy Carroll jumped for a corner and caught Mignolet on the head, causing the goalkeeper to fumble the ball to Demel, who poked into the unguarded net from close-range.

It was a clear foul and stunned Liverpool appealed for a free-kick, with Suarez shouting at Taylor to look at the big screen behind him which was showing a replay of the incident.

But Taylor infuriated the visitors as he over-ruled linesman Stuart Burt, who had flagged for the offence, and awarded the goal.

Liverpool reacted to the injustice by establishing a firmer grip on Carroll as West Ham's first corner of the second half resembled a rugby match with three players wrestling with the towering forward.

But Carroll threatened to cause more damage when he out-muscled Glen Johnson to reach Mohamed Diame's cross and power a header against the bar.

Rodgers' side monopolised possession for much of the half without being able to deliver the knockout blow and they needed significant assistance from another Taylor blunder to take the points in the 71st minute.

Lucas slipped a pass through to Jon Flanagan, but Adrian was quickly off his line and got a hand to the ball before the Liverpool defender tumbled to the turf after clipping the Spaniard's arm.

Taylor gave the penalty to West Ham's bewilderment and Gerrard gleefully accepted the gift as he fired home from the spot.

NEXT ON SPORT24X

Pitso not rushing decisions

2014-07-29 07:38

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
10 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
  • SS3
    Tue, 29 Jul 2014 @
    04:00
  • SS4
    Tue, 29 Jul 2014 @
    05:00
  • SS7
    Tue, 29 Jul 2014 @
    06:00
  • SS5
    Tue, 29 Jul 2014 @
    06:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
16 August 2014
Manchester United v Swansea City, Old Trafford 13:45
West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur, Boleyn Ground 16:00
Stoke City v Aston Villa, Britannia Stadium 16:00
Leicester City v Everton, King Power Stadium 16:00
Queens Park Rangers v Hull City, Loftus Road Stadium 16:00
West Bromwich Albion v Sunderland, The Hawthorns 16:00
Arsenal v Crystal Palace, Emirates Stadium 18:30
17 August 2014
Liverpool v Southampton, Anfield 14:30
Newcastle United v Manchester City, St. James' Park 17:00
18 August 2014
Burnley v Chelsea, Turf Moor 21:00
Vote

How will Manchester United fare in next season's English Premiership under Louis van Gaal?

 
 
Featured Blog

Dave ask if you would like to meet your local sports heroes and stand the chance to win prizes to the value of over R40 000.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.