Liverpool edge closer to safety

2010-10-31 23:10

London - Liverpool climbed out of the Premier League relegation zone after a moment of magic from Fernando Torres helped set up a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Bolton.

The English giants looked to be heading for another desperately disappointing day at the Reebok Stadium as they struggled to break down a determined Wanderers outfit.

But a sublime backheel from Torres - who had missed several chances during another out-of-sorts performance - created an 86th-minute winner for Maxi Rodriguez that sealed Liverpool's first away win since April.

The result also sealed back-to-back victories for Roy Hodgson's men following their win over Blackburn last week.

After languishing in the relegation zone for weeks following their worst start to a season in more than 50 years, Liverpool are now 12th with 12 points, still five points off the coveted top four.

"It's just nice to be out of that bottom three, we've been in there a while so it's been difficult to look at the table," relieved Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher told Sky Sports afterwards.

"We know we haven't had a great start, but there's still a long way to go and with the league so tight, with a few wins we can certainly climb to the top half of the table."

In Sunday's early games, Newcastle romped to a 5-1 victory over Sunderland in the Tyne and Wear derby while Aston Villa and Birmingham played out a goalless stalemate at Villa Park.

A hat-trick from captain Kevin Nolan and two goals from striker Shola Ameobi completed an emphatic derby win for Newcastle in a result which eased pressure on manager Chris Hughton.

A miserable afternoon for Sunderland also saw former Newcastle defender Titus Bramble given a straight red card early in the second half for a trip on Andy Carroll, much to the delight of the Toon Army.

The victory saw Newcastle move up to seventh place with 14 points from 10 games and should quell intense speculation over Hughton's future.

Man-of-the-match Nolan paid tribute to Hughton after leading the rout.

"I'm delighted for the fans and delighted for Chris after what he was put through this week," Nolan said after netting his first top-flight hat-trick.

"Obviously it's fantastic. We knew it would be tough - and I think it was, I think we got lucky with a couple of the goals," he told Sky Sports.

"We're delighted, we've worked so hard this week and it's paid off today."

Nolan struck in the 26th, 34th and 75th minutes while Ameobi slotted goals in each half to leave Steve Bruce's Sunderland shellshocked.

Nolan's first came from a Newcastle corner swung into the box. Ameobi beat Sunderland's defence to knock down, and Nolan, with his back to goal and sitting almost on the turf, hooked in a superbly improvised overhead kick.

Eight minutes later Newcastle doubled their lead through Nolan, the Magpies' skipper suddenly finding himself unmarked and in acres of space after a miscued Joey Barton volley fell kindly in the Sunderland area.

Ameobi buried a penalty on the stroke of half-time after Nedum Onuoha had brought down Jonas Gutierrez in the box.

Bramble's dismissal on 53 minutes left Sunderland with no way back and with the Black Cats in disarray, Newcastle added to their agony with two more goals.

Ameobi made it 4-0 on 70 minutes, volleying in acrobatically after Carroll's diving header crashed off the bar.

All that was left was for Nolan to complete his hat-trick, which he duly did 15 minutes from time, connecting with an Ameobi header from point-blank range.

Bent turned in a goal for Sunderland on the stroke of 90 minutes but it barely qualified as a consolation effort.

"Just wanna apologise to all the fans who went to the game and watched else where. Didn't go the way we wanted," Bent wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter after the rout.

In Sunday's other derby game, Birmingham were left fuming after having strong appeals for a penalty turned down when Villa captain Nigel Reo-Coker appeared to handle in the area.

But neither side could engineer a breakthrough as the match ended in stalemate, leaving Villa and Birmingham stuck in 13th and 14th spot respectively after playing 10 games each.

Villa manager Gerard Houllier said his side had been suffering the after-effects of a midweek League Cup match that went to extra-time.

"We lacked a bit of freshness, imagination and creativity. I think we have to take into account most of us played two hours in midweek," Houllier said.


  • Never Walk Alone - 2010-11-01 11:05

    A much better and gutsier performance by The Reds - even Lucas had a decent game (by my standards) - maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel - now we just have to get Torres and Gerrard firing together on all cylinders !

  • Thami, Kempton park - 2010-11-01 12:37

    Come on you reds, now hit the 'Blues' even harder!!! then you can gladly fight for top 4 finish after that. And if Chelsea' performance against Blackburn Rovers is anything to go by, the KOP might be happy this weekend [of course, along with the Gunners, Man United and perhaps man City... practically, the whole league will be supporting Liverpool this weekend]

  • Shankly's Kin - 2010-11-02 09:28

    What game were you guys watching? Passing was predictable, not many chances until Ngog came on. Still not quite sure why Jova never came on for Cole, Woy pushing Mereiles out wide again instead of just bringing on Jova. Maxi totally saved the gaffer's behind. He defo still needs to go. His tactics and methods are putting the players under unnecessary stress and pressure. I know Bolton have had a good run there, but our performance was still disjointed. If Woy sends the team out to play like that against Cheski, I'm afraid we're going to get our @$$e$ handed to us. The plus side is, we're out of the relegation zone. What irks me most is the potential we have in this team. If these players were utilized properly, we'd be tearing teams apart. And that is the hardest for me to swallow. The media makes the squad to look like a bunch of nickel and dime players. The only nickel and dime players I seen are the ones Woy brought in, with the exception of Mereiles (Raul was not really needed, as I think Aquilani was ready to take the EPL on this season). Jova was on his way to us already, and the Cole transfer was mentioned as early as January this year. Poulsen and Konchesky, utter garbage. Plus side of Poulsen being here though, is that ppl are starting to appreciate Lucas a bit more. Man of the match has to go to either Lucas or Soto. They played their socks off. Woy, please change it up vs Chelsea. Press more, get the lads to pass more dynamically (ie, triangles instead of squares and backward passing), and tell the lads to be in Chelski's faces. If this is not done, Essien and co will literally stroll right over our midfield and walk right on into our goal.

  • TRUE Red - 2010-11-02 12:40

    Shanks', you make some good points. Sometimes though you need to win ugly & grind out a result, which is what happenned, and we needed it desperately. Yes, it was not as pretty as when we played Blackburn, where we pressed high & had double digits for shots on target, but was a good win IMHO (NOT a good performance) - IF we manage to play like we did against B'burn, we stand a chance against the champs on Sunday I think - play like this against them, and yes, we will probably lose. Hopefully, confidence is better now & the majority of this current sqaud now understand we need to play until the end ...

  • Shankly's Kin - 2010-11-03 13:03

    Quick point on Raul, if we didn't loan Aquilani out, we could have used the money that we used to by Raul to go out and buy a decent striker. I firmly believe we should have gone for Klaas Jan Huntelaar. We coulda gotten him for round about the same price as Mereiles. He wanted away from Milan, so he would obviously have been sold to us at a reasonable price, in fact he was sold to Schalke for around 13m Euro, which is in fact 11m Pounds, the exact same price we paid for Mereiles. Again, nothing against Raul (World Class), but rather unnecessary when you already have that type of player at the club. And to top it off, had Roy gone for Klaas, he would have had the freaking target man his loins so yearns for to complete his long ball tactic puzzle package. Oh well. What do us stupid fans know anyway.

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