Liverpool bat West Ham et reprend la tête de la Premier League

Liverpool a ravi la tête du championnat d’Angleterre à Chelsea en s’imposant (2-1) à West Ham alors qu’Arsenal a signé une nouvelle contre-performance en étant battu sèchement chez Everton (3-0) qui menace sa 4e place.
Deux penalties obtenus par Luis Suarez et transformés par Steven Gerrard ont permis aux Reds, vêtus de blanc, (74 points) de doubler Chelsea (72), qui s’était repris samedi face à Stoke City. Liverpool reste toutefois sous la menace de Manchester City, qui compte quatre points de retard mais deux matches en moins.
Mais, Liverpool a souffert. Après avoir ouvert le score (44e), les Reds se sont fait rejoindre quelques instants plus tard sur un but litigieux de Demel (45+2) après une charge apparemment coupable de Carroll sur Mignolet.
Mais, Liverpool avec son feu follet uruguayen Suarez fauché dans la surface a repris les devants à la 71e. Pas du grand art mais les Reds ont assuré l’essentiel, trois points et la tête du championnat. Les supporteurs peuvent rêver au titre que le club n’a plus remporter depuis 1990. Ce sera chaud lors du déplacement à Anfield de Man City dans une semaine.

West Ham 1 Liverpool 2: Spot on Stevie sends Reds back to the top

Brendan Rodgers may have backed the winner at the Grand National. But when it comes to his Liverpool FC side, there’s one player the manager can always put his money on. Steven Gerrard twice kept his nerve from the spot to move the Reds back to the top of the Premier League on a controversial afternoon at West Ham United.
Gerrard scored a minute before half-time before finding the target again on 71 minutes to earn Rodgers’ side a ninth successive league victory and restore their two-point advantage over Chelsea. In between, the Reds had seen their title challenge threatened by former striker Andy Carroll.

While fate suggested Carroll would have a hand in matters at Upton Park, few expected it to be as literal as the one in the face of Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet that was somehow ignored by referee Anthony Taylor and allowed Guy Demel to snatch an equaliser on the stroke of half-time.

West Ham would argue Taylor evened up matters by adjudging goalkeeper Adrian to have fouled Jon Flanagan for the decisive spot kick. But the Reds deserved their victory against a Hammers side intent on bursting their bubble, digging and winning ugly.

It capped a good weekend for Rodgers, who had backed Pineau de Re to win the Aintree showpiece the previous day. Gerrard’s brace took him on to 14 goals for the season and 173 for Liverpool – moving him ahead of Kenny Dalglish into sixth place in the club’s list of all-time goalscorers.

Having given only 12 players a start in the previous six matches, Rodgers was forced into a change with Daniel Agger unavailable through injury. Mamadou Sakho was handed a first start since the defeat at Chelsea on December 29, the last time Liverpool had lost in the Premier League.

Carroll, despite tipping Liverpool for the title earlier this week, no doubt felt he had a point to prove having been allowed to leave by Rodgers last year. So too Stewart Downing, who also lined up against his former club with another ex-Red, Joe Cole, on the West Ham bench.

A run of six wins in their previous nine games had effectively eased any lingering relegation fears for the Hammers, and such lack of pressure contributed to a lively opening from the home side with Mohamed Diame a constant danger to Liverpool’s left flank.

But with Martin Skrtel impressive and Flanagan standing up well to West Ham’s aerial approach, Liverpool slowly worked their way back into the game having had only an early Luis Suarez free-kick which was curled over from 25 yards to show for their efforts.

The Uruguayan was agonisingly close on 20 minutes to breaking the deadlock. A short corner routine with Philippe Coutinho appeared to have come to nothing until a quick throw found Suarez, who drifted back inside the area and struck an audacious angled chipped shot that hit the crossbar.

Shortly afterwards, a swift break from a West Ham corner saw Suarez find Raheem Sterling but the winger struck a tame near-post shot at keeper Adrian as the striker screamed for a return pass.

Another counter-attack eventually ended with Coutinho feeding Suarez on the left for a shot headed behind by James Tomkins, and then a one-two between Sturridge and Jordan Henderson on the edge of the area ended with the former smashing excitedly over.

Liverpool, though, were ahead on 44 minutes. Inevitably, Suarez was involved, found brilliantly by Gerrard’s umpteenth diagonal long ball of the afternoon and then prompting a clear handball by James Tomkins as he attempted to clip the ball around the Hammers defender.

Gerrard did the rest, sending Adrian the wrong way from the spot. The lead, though, lasted barely a minute as West Ham levelled in hugely contentious fashion. From a corner, Carroll was nudged by team-mate Tomkins into Mignolet, catching the goalkeeper with a flailing arm first on the head and then across the arms, forcing the Belgian to drop the ball and allow Demel to fire into the roof of the net.

Referee Taylor gave the goal but his assistant Stuart Burt instantly raised his flag to signal a foul. Incredibly, however – and with Liverpool’s players imploring the official watched the replay of the incident being broadcast inside Upton Park – Taylor overruled his assistant and gave the goal.

Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson (left) speaks with match referee Anthony Taylor (second left) and assistant referees Stuart Burt (right) and Stephen Child during the Barclays Premier League match at Upton Park, London.

Rodgers made a tactical switch at half-time by replacing Coutinho with Lucas Leiva, but the Hammers again made the brighter start to the half. And they were almost ahead on 61 minutes when, from a Diame cross, Carroll rose above Glen Johnson and crashed a header against the bar.

Sturridge, too often the periphery, finally got a glimpse of goal minutes later when riding two challenges but his shot was always rising over the bar. Then, as if to atone for his earlier error, referee Taylor gave Liverpool the chance to regain the lead on 71 minutes when he adjudged Adrian to have brought down Flanagan as the full-back raced on to Lucas’ pass.

Adrian got a touch on the ball but the manner in which he took out Flanagan was enough to persuade the referee. Once again, Gerrard made no mistake. With six minutes remaining, Suarez struck the bar for a second time with another clever chip and then Adrian saved when the Uruguayan was put through by Raheem Sterling, who then drew a spectacular stop from Adrian during injury time.

Next up, Manchester City. The title dream is very much alive.

WEST HAM UNITED (4-2-3-1): Adrian; Demel, Tomkins, Reid, Armero; Noble, Taylor (Jarvis, 78); Diame (C Cole 84), Nolan (Nocerino 67), Downing; Carroll. Subs: Jaaskelainen, J Cole, Potts, Johnson. BOOKINGS: Tomkins (handball), Adrian, Nocerino and Armero (all fouls).

LIVERPOOL (4-1-4-1): Mignolet; Johnson, Skrtel, Sakho, Flanagan; Gerrard; Sterling, Henderson, Coutinho (Lucas 46), Suarez; Sturridge (Toure 85). Subs: Jones, Aspas, Moses, Cissokho, Allen.
REFEREE: Anthony Taylor. ATT: 34,977.

Posted by on Apr 7 2014. Filed under Featured, Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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