Reds win but fail to convince

2009-12-26 21:47

England - Steven Gerrard and Yossi Benayoun scored second-half goals as Liverpool toiled to a 2-0 win over 10-man Wolves at Anfield on Saturday.

The Reds were frustrated by Mick McCarthy's team until referee Andre Marriner sent Stephen Ward off just after the interval.

Gerrard soon scored his first goal in almost two months -- his fifth of the campaign -- to put Liverpool ahead.

And Benayoun was also on the scoresheet to give the scoreline a decisive feel that Liverpool, who had won only four of their previous 17 games, did not deserve on their performance in the first hour.

Whether this is the start of a revival will be put to the test when they travel to Aston Villa on Tuesday.

With Alberto Aquilani making his first Premier League start five months after joining in a 20-million-pound deal from Roma, Liverpool totally dominated the opening quarter of the match.

Fabio Aurelio's floated free kick was held by Wolves' goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann with just a minute on the clock.

And Aquilani showed he will not be intimidated by the physical nature of the Premier League by flying into a challenge with Karl Henry, setting up the chance for Gerrard's bobbling shot to force a save from Hahnemann.

As Liverpool continued to control the game, Emiliano Insua sent Fernando Torres wide on the left but the Spaniard cut in to hit a powerful drive at the near post that was pushed away by Hahnemann.

Wolves had barely threatened but they more than made up for that as the half wore on.

Serbian midfielder Nenad Milijas only managed a wild effort that flew into the stand.

But after Matthew Jarvis tore past Glen Johnson down Wolves' left flank, he sent over a cross that saw Sylvan Ebanks-Blake force a low save from Pepe Reina with a shot on the turn.

Milijas hit a free kick that was just pushed over by Reina as the visitors continued to battle.

The resulting corner from Milijas picked out Ebanks-Blake at the front post but the unmarked striker failed to hit the target from five yards.

There was more concern for the hosts when Kevin Doyle lobbed over his head and Milijas dragged another shot wide from just outside the area.

And as Liverpool attempted a response at the other end, Gerrard worked some space and pulled back for Torres, who sliced wide.

The Anfield crowd were growing more and more frustrated and Lucas drove over from 25 yards.

Liverpool's irritation continued after the break, with Aurelio's free kick from the right flying over the Reds' attackers and straight to Hahnemann.

Five minutes into the second period, a calm passing move saw Insua feed Gerrard, whose dipping shot was heading for the corner before it was turned wide by Hahnemann.

Liverpool were handed a numerical advantage when Ward was sent off -- despite referee Marriner initially showing a card to the wrong player.

Ward had already been booked for tugging at Yossi Benayoun moments before he tripped Lucas. Marriner mistakenly showed Christophe Berra the yellow card before consulting with his linesman and sending Ward off.

That proved to be the turning point and, just after the hour, Liverpool finally managed to take the lead.

Argentinian left back Insua burst clear down the left and floated a cross over that Gerrard reached first to head into the corner of Hahnemann's net.

With 20 minutes remaining, Aurelio's cross from the left beat everyone in the area and Benayoun's shot deflected off George Elokobi to double Liverpool's lead.

Liverpool were able to play out the rest of the game in comfort but they will have to improve considerably on this performance when they travel to Villa.


  • dangerdoug - 2009-12-27 11:36

    Yet another sensationalist negative article agaianst Liverpool, so typical of press this season.Mick McCarthy stated all week he knew his team were up against a dangerous Liverpool. He knew his team would be in for a battle so he played exactly like that. His team played on the back foot and depended on the odd dash forward. When one of his players was sent off for yet another niggling foul against a determined Liverpool advance,his team packed the penalty box. Against this ANY team will suffer to get any chances around the box. Facts to be noted: Yossi's goal was deflected BECAUSE there were so many Wolves players in the box! Stevie G miraculously got his header in between TWO fefenders! So press why not state "LIVERPOOL PULLS TOUGH WIN AGAINST DEFENSE" !?! not glamorous but factual.

  • Never Walk Alone - 2009-12-27 22:58

    Press report negatively on LFC because they want them to fail - or else they expect better from one of the worlds top clubs - and we as the fans should make it known to the owners, manager and players that we expect nothing less than a 100 % effort and a fight to the finish - none of this defensive, survival, negative football and tactics. Attacking football for 90 minutes is what we have always expected from the Reds - now go out and get on with it - or else face the consequences of loosing some top players come next year !!!!!

  • liverpool - 2009-12-28 07:21

    great game liverpool.when man lost there was no comment.the people writing these articles all seems to be man fans.

  • LFC Fan - 2009-12-28 12:03

    @dangerdoug - I agree with you fully. It seems that no matter what LFC does this year, it will never be good enough in the eyes of the media, period. All of this is not unjust however as last year, we were still in all major competitions and leading the log at this point. Credit however, should be given where credit is due and liverpool while not at their best, beat a wolves side that put Tottenham to the sword not long ago and had won 3 of their last 4 games prior to visiting Anfield. Wolves had ONE clear cut chance in the ENTIRE how is it that liverpool were unconvincing in the first hour when we had all the possession and more shots on target? In light of all the issues (off-form players, injuries and distrastrous referring decisions) the club has faced this year, being 5 points off the top four isn't disastrous (and with many games remaining I might add). With a "stable" back four in place for a few games in a row now (I.e no reserve right backs etc) and options returning to the bench (when they are fit and suspension free, I.e. Riera, Babel, Skrtel, Masch)...and another striker possibly being signed in January, we're going to be a difficult prospect in the second half of the season for any team. @liverpool, couldn't agree with you more...not only haven't I seen negative articles on their losses, but all of their fans only seem to post on our articles? It really is strange! YNWA

  • Anon - 2009-12-28 12:41

    @Liverpool, get a life - we ManU fans got a lot better things to do than write articles against a waning Liverpool side - like winning a few trophies etc etc. Your team won - enjoy it - look at the game - a relatively mediocre performance against a bottom half team. The body language of the fans at the match told a lot - theres a lot of frustration creeping in there. Lets face it the goals only came after the sending off. It would have been a possible one pointer were it not for the sending off.

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