Sunday, February 3, 2008

Premier League Results: Liverpool 3-0 Sunderland

Crouch exposes Rafa's folly, as Liverpool overcome Sunderland

A goal and an assist from Peter Crouch, enabled Liverpool to eventually overcome a dogged Sunderland at Anfield. Rafa Benitez's incredulous decision to previously stick with a woefully out of form Dirk Kuyt, was exposed by Crouch's contribution. Put simply, Crouch consistently gets and makes goals, Kuyt doesn't. Where would Liverpool be if Crouch had not been warming the bench so often? A lot closer to the top would be the answer from most Liverpool fans.

In the first half Liverpool were all toil, neat play, but precious little end product. Only Pennant caught the eye with his pace and direct running. On the left, Lucas who was preferred to Harry Kewell was not providing any width, having a tendency to drift in-field. That said he still worked harder, and looked more effective than Kewell has in recent games.

Sunderland, undertstandably were out to contain Liverpool and get a point. Anything else to them was a bonus, and they showed virtually zero attacking threat throughout the game.

Sunderland were eventually prised open, when after an attack broke down, Jamie Carragher of all people, took on the opposite fullback and crossed superbly for Crouch to head home. Soon after Crouch flicked on Gerrard's touch, Torres sped away and finished superbly to wrap up the game for Liverpool. In the 89th minute Nosworthy was adjudged to have upended Pennant, and Gerrard stepped up to convert to seal a 3-0 win for Liverpool.

Roy Keane afterwards was disappointed not to have got at least one penalty, particularly when Carragher blocked a shot unintentionally with his arm.

Benitez will have been pleased with the confidence boosting win, and with the fact that Pepe Reina became the fastest keeper to reach 50 clean sheets in the clubs history. Then defending has never really been the problem for Liverpool during Benitez's reign, its at the other end Liverpool have problems. Until they can complement their central midfielders and Torres with players who would get into the squads of Manchester United and Arsenal they will always be scrapping for fourth, maybe third spot.


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