Luis Suarez ended his mini-drought to score on his 100th Premier League appearance after a lucky bounce saw the striker finish first time past Artur Boruc. The Saints had a number of chances to equalize, and in a second half-flurry they nearly did, but a timely substitution from Brendan Rodgers saw Raheem Sterling double their lead within 80-seconds of coming on. The hosts did little to press Liverpool after that, and when Jose Fonte fouled Suarez deep into injury time, Reds captain Steven Gerrard sealed the points from the penalty spot with an emphatic finish. Eleven years without a win at St. Marys’s? Reset that counter.
It’s not often that you see the Reds concede three at Anfield, but we saw Swansea City’s quality in the reverse fixtures when the two sides ran out a 2-2 draw at the Liberty Stadium and the Welsh side showed it again today. Two goals in four minutes from the Jacks nullified a spectacular opening twenty minutes from the hosts, and when Daniel Sturridge scored his second to put the Merseysiders ahead at the break, Wilfried Bony was on hand to slot home from the spot not long after the restart.
A Kolo Toure own goal less than ten minutes in set the tone of what was a nervy visit to London for Brendan Rodgers men. Daniel Sturridge pulled the Reds level just before the break after latching on to a delightful pass from Steven Gerrard, but former Manchester United winger Kieran Richardson, who forced the own goal with cross that took a bobble on the bumpy pitch, was on hand to capitalize after Martin Skrtel’s attempted clearance went awry. Philippe Coutinho pulled the visitors level for the second time with a well struck drive before Steven Gerrard secured the points – and Brendan Rodgers blushes — in dramatic fashion as the clock rolled onto the 90-minute mark.
The running narrative in the build up to this top of the table meeting was whether the Gunners could cement their title credentials and avoid the prophesied, predictable implosion pundits around the world have been trumpeting since the beginning of the season. In retrospect, the more poignant question was if Brendan Rodgers side could bounce back from the disappointing 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion and dominate Arsenal the same way they did Everton last week. The only answer Reds around the world wanted to hear, and which came emphatically within the first 20 minutes, was a resounding yes.
At the bottom of the table, every point counts and Baggies boss Pepe Mel will be more than satisfied with a result that staves off fears of relegation for another week. The top of the table is a different story altogether though and his counterpart in Brendan Rodgers will be rueing the lost opportunity to open a serious gap on the Reds closest chasers after his side failed to build on their demolition of Everton midweek. If we’re going to be completely honest, he’ll be rueing his patchwork defence and decidedly embarrassing lack of activity in the transfer market as well.
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