Super-sub Steve Gerrard stole the show as Liverpool came from behind to record a much-needed 3-1 victory over high-flying Newcastle United on Friday night. Despite being unbeaten at home so far this season, the Reds have been criticised for failing to kill opposition teams off at Anfield. But there was no such problem this time around thanks to a Craig Bellamy’s superb brace and then a slick finish by inspirational skipper Gerrard, whose introduction with just half an hour to go gave the whole team a visible boost.
The result leaves Liverpool in sixth spot in the Premier League table, level on points with Chelsea who are now just one place above the Reds after the same number of games. Kenny Dalglish’s side are also only two points behind Arsenal, who occupy the much-coveted final Champions League spot. While a title-challenge looks to be way out of reach at this moment in time, Liverpool can certainly still make the top-four come the end of the season.
But in order to keep the pressure up on the Gunners, Liverpool will have to record a good result over title-chasing Manchester City on Tuesday night. Roberto Mancini’s men currently sit top of the table, a massive 11 points ahead of the Reds and with a vastly superior goal difference. In fact, while City have found the net on 53 occasions in the top-flight so far this term, Liverpool have only managed to score 24 goals. Defensively, the Merseysiders have the upper hand. The Reds have conceded just 15 goals from their 19 league games so far, while City have shipped 16. This will be a clash between the Premier League’s highest scorers and meanest defence.
Liverpool can take encouragement from the fact that they more than held Mancini’s side when they visited Anfield towards the end of November. That fixture ended 1-1 – a result which disappointed the Reds who thought they could and should have grabbed a well-deserved winner. Another positive for Liverpool is City’s poor recent form. The Blues lost their recent game against Sunderland and also dropped points at West Brom. This may be the perfect time to face stuttering City.
Meanwhile, former Liverpool and Everton defender Gary Ablett has died at the age of 46. A piece on the Reds’ website read: “Liverpool Football Club were today saddened to learn of the death of former player Gary Ablett, who passed away on Sunday night after a 16-month battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma…Everyone at Liverpool Football Club sends their condolences to Gary’s family.”
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