Wednesday, June 26

Premier League


Oct 27, 2018 at 3pm UK
CardiffCardiff City
Salah (10'), Mane (66', 87'), Shaqiri (84')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Paterson (77')

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Live Commentary: Liverpool 4-1 Cardiff City - as it happened

:Headline: Live Commentary: Liverpool 4-1 Cardiff City - as it happened:ID:339805: from db_amp
Relive how Liverpool beat Cardiff City 4-1 to go to the top of the Premier League, courtesy of Sports Mole's minute-by-minute coverage from Anfield.
By , Reporter | 8mo

Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah played starring roles as Liverpool climbed to the top of the Premier League table with a 4-1 victory over Cardiff City this afternoon.

Salah opened the scoring inside 10 minutes when he swept home from eight yards out, after both Mane and Roberto Firmino had efforts blocked in a goalmouth scramble.

The Reds were completely dominant in the first half, enjoying 84% possession and registering 12 shots to Cardiff's zero, but they could not extend their advantage as Sean Morrison cleared Adam Lallana's stoppage-time header off the line.

Mane gave Liverpool some comfort on 66 minutes, but that was short lived as Callum Paterson became the first visiting player to score in the league at Anfield since February. A late double from substitute Xherdan Shaqiri and Mane made it three wins in a week for Jurgen Klopp's men.

Relive how the action unfolded on Merseyside with Sports Mole's minute-by-minute updates.

"Virtually impossible" is how Neil Warnock has described the task facing his Cardiff City side at Anfield today. Liverpool are unbeaten at home in the Premier League since April 2017 and made Red Star Belgrade's midweek visit to Merseyside miserable. Can Cardiff pull off Mission Impossible today?
LIVERPOOL: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Lovren, Moreno; Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Lallana; Mane, Salah, Firmino
Subs: Mignolet, Matip, Gomez, Robertson, Milner, Shaqiri, Sturridge
CARDIFF: Etheridge; Manga, Bamba, Morrison, Bennett; Hoilett, Camarasa; Gunnarsson, Murphy; Paterson; Reid
Subs: Smithies, Cunningham, Connolly, Damore, Harris, Madine, Zohore
After impressing during Wednesday's 4-0 Champions League win over Red Star Belgrade, summer signing Fabinho is given the opportunity to makes his first Premier League start for Liverpool. Elsewhere in the midfield, Adam Lallana is preferred to Xherdan Shaqiri as the creator for the front three.
Jurgen Klopp takes what he feels is a good chance to rest Andrew Robertson and Joe Gomez, who had played every minute of Liverpool's league campaign to date, so Alberto Moreno sees league action at left-back for the first time this campaign and Dejan Lovren makes a third successive league start.
Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita are missing through injury, but Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane have now recovered from concerns picked up on the international break to flank Roberto Firmino as Daniel Sturridge drops back to the bench from the 1-0 win at Huddersfield Town a week ago. Salah, Mane and Firmino were all on the scoresheet for the first time together this season in midweek.
Trent Alexander-Arnold is recalled at right-back after sitting out Liverpool's last two league fixtures. Klopp's team selection was very consistent in the early matches of the campaign but now the Reds boss is using the greater resources that he now has in his squad as he tries to fight on all fronts.
Trent Alexander-Arnold is recalled at right-back after sitting out Liverpool's last two league fixtures. Klopp's team selection was very consistent in the early matches of the campaign but now the Reds boss is using the greater resources that he now has in his squad as he tries to fight on all fronts.
Cardiff finally recorded their first victory since returning to the top flight last weekend when they won a 4-2 thriller with Fulham to move out of the relegation zone. They have Leicester and Brighton at home after today so Warnock may approach this trip to Merseyside as a bit of a free swing.
Warnock's team selection certainly seems to indicate that, with Junior Hoilett coming in for Harry Arter in the only change from the victory over the Cottagers, and one which sets up Cardiff to counter-attack upon Liverpool rather than contain. Bobby Reid, Josh Murphy and Callum Paterson also start.
Midfielder Joe Ralls serves the second game of his three-match suspension, and injured trio Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, Danny Ward and Lee Peltier are also absent. However, veteran striker Gary Madine is available for the Bluebirds again after missing their last two outings through illness.
Goalkeeper Neil Etheridge has arguably been Cardiff's best performer so far this season, certainly making a name for himself as an expert penalty stopper. The former Fulham stopper may be in for his busiest afternoon yet today, judging by Liverpool's return to their scintilating best in Europe.
Liverpool and Cardiff shared 13 goals across their two games in their last Premier League season together, with Luis Suarez contributing five of those. Somehow the Reds have found an attack even more exciting than the Suarez, Sturridge and Sterling triumvirate that took them oh so close to the title under Brendan Rodgers in 2013-14.
Warnock reckons the current front three of Firmino, Salah and Mane is "probably the best in the world." They have combined for 15 goals in all competitions so far this season. In comparison, Barcelona's Suarez, Lionel Messi and Mousa Dembele have 22 between them, and PSG's Edinson Cavani, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar have a whopping 28, so maybe they aren't quite the world's best just yet.
Salah scored his 50th Liverpool goal in just 65 appearances for the club against Red Star Belgrade on Wednesday. That makes the Egyptian King the quickest to reach that landmark for the club, breaking the 77 game-record set by Albert Stubbins, and beating the likes of Ian Rush and Fernando Torres.
Cardiff have scored just one goal in their last six Premier League away matches, coming earlier this season at Stamford Bridge. That makes them the lowest scorers on the road in the division, and they are facing a team who have not conceded a home goal in their last nine league matches. Warnock may have been right about 'impossible'.
In fact, another clean sheet today would see Liverpool set an outright top-flight club record of 10 consecutive home clean sheets. Previously they had gone six matches at Anfield without a shutout, conceding 10 goals, which shows the difference that Virgil van Dijk and latterly Alisson Becker have made to their defensive cause.
Alisson is looking to become the second Reds goalkeeper in Premier League history - after Pepe Reina - to keep seven clean sheets in his first 10 starts. It has been 931 top-flight minutes since the Brazilian's goal has been breached.
Liverpool's three goals conceded is their fewest after nine games in their top-flight history, and 13 fewer than they had leaked at this stage last season. Klopp will hope that they can retain their defensive solidity throughout his rotation.
Last weekend's nervy 1-0 success at Huddersfield Town is the type of game that the Reds might not have won 12 months ago as they came under late pressure. As it was, it was Liverpool's first win in seven matches against teams in the relegation zone.
The Reds have lost just one of their last 45 home Premier League matches against newly-promoted teams - against Blackpool in 2010-11. Fernando Torres struck Liverpool into a third-minute lead that day before Gary Taylor-Fletcher and DJ Campbell tamed the Reds for a famous Blackpool triumph.
Perhaps surprisingly, Cardiff have the superior head-to-head record in top-flight football, winning 11 of their 22 top-flight encounters against the Reds, drawing two and losing nine. That is largely thanks to a dominant run during the 1950s, and it was as far back as 1959 that the Bluebirds recorded the most recent of those 11 victories.
Warnock has lost all four of his away games as a manager against Liverpool, without his seeing his teams score a goal. This is his first duel with Jurgen Klopp though, and the German has admitted that he is looking forward to meeting one of the great characters of the English game. "He's obviously, vocal-wise, very talented!", Klopp told BBC Sport. I think that's a compliment?
It was a four-and-a-half year wait for Cardiff to experience a top-flight win. It has been 56 years since they last won consecutive top-flight matches. Can they end another wait today?
The Welsh outfit scored as many goals in that match as they had managed in their previous eight league games this season. Reid, Paterson and Kadeem Harris all got off the mark in the Premier League which should be a massive confidence boost to their attacking collective.
HEAD-TO-HEAD: Liverpool have won the last four meetings in all competitions, most recently winning both clashes in the 2013-14 Premier League season. That included the 2012 League Cup final which the Reds won 3-2 on penalties despite a miss from Gerrard – Steve's cousin Anthony who was skipping Cardiff that day.
Of the 36 players who made up the respective squads on the day of their last meeting in March 2014, only THREE remain at the same clubs - Simon Mignolet and Jordan Henderson of Liverpool and Aron Gunnarson of Cardiff, only one of whom starts today. The Bluebirds have gone through a relegation and four managers since so that level of turnover is understandable, but it does show how much Klopp has shaken things up in his three years on Merseyside, and the backing he has had in the transfer market.
Just under 10 minutes until kickoff at Anfield this afternoon, after which Cardiff will have played all of the Premier League's top five. So far they are yet to claim a scalp although they did push Arsenal and Spurs all the way.
Klopp is pretty popular with the neutrals, but there will be a lot of Fantasy Football managers miffed with him today!

Liverpool are the only team in the top five of the table who are in action today, so a win today - even a point actually - against the Bluebirds would lift them to the top of the standings. Cardiff could climb as high as 14th with an unlikely three points but may settle for anything other than a good drubbing.
PREDICTION: It is difficult to see anything other than a Liverpool win today, but I think Cardiff will give this a go and it won't be all one-way traffic. I fancy the Bluebirds to score and deny Liverpool that defensive club record, but the Reds to eventually saunter to a 3-1 win.
KICKOFF:  The action is underway at Anfield but only briefly as today's referee Stuart Attwell immediately has to blow his whistle with Cardiff's Paterson grabbing his face after being caught by the stray arm of Moreno.
All of the early possession has been with Liverpool, with Cardiff sitting off despite their attacking lineup. I don't think that will last but Warnock might just want to get through the opening 15-20 minutes unscathed as an initial checkpoint.
Now a Liverpool player is in the wars, with Gini Wijnaldum, an unsung hero of their excellent start to the season, caught by the boot of Reid as he stooped to clear one a long throw from Gunnarsson; a weapon the Reds will have to be wary of today.
Firmino lifts the ball into the right channel for Salah to run onto and Morrison comes across to clear at the expense of a corner. Cardiff have conceded more goals from corners than any other Premier League side so far this season, which may come as a surprise.
The hosts are prepared to be patient with their build-up play, but a nice interchange between Salah and Lallana cuts through the Cardiff defence and Morrison has to be well positioned to intercept the cross for Firmino.
It is business as usual already for Liverpool with Salah putting them ahead inside 10 minutes. A hacked near-post clearance from Bamba presents Mane with the intial opportunity, but his shot on the turn is blocked. Another Cardiff body gets in the way of Firmino's follow-up but it is third-time lucky for the Reds as Salah swoops in to thrash home from close range for his fourth goal of the week.
That is Salah's 17th goal in his last 14 league appearances at Anfield, and you wouldn't back against him adding to that again this afternoon. Fifty-one and counting in total for Liverpool's Egyptian King.
OFF THE POST!  Salah stands up a cross and Van Dijk, who had stayed forward following a set piece, rises above Bamba at the back post and knocks a header across goal. There is no real power behind the effort, but Etheridge gets into a mess with his feet and only the post saves Cardiff from going 2-0 down early.
Etheridge races off his line to confront Salah on the edge of the box and indeed makes a well-timed tackle. But he is in peril moments later when Liverpool rapidly recycle the ball and play it into Salah's feet. He backs into Morrison in the box and goes down but referee Attwell decides no penalty.
This has been a lot more one-sided than I thought it would be. Cardiff only completed FIVE passes inside the opening 15 minutes. They have barely ventured beyond the halfway line and have no out ball whatsoever.
LATEST: There has been early goals elsewhere in the Premier League with Watford and Bournemouth each taking the lead against struggling Huddersfield and Fulham respectively. So it is all going to form as it stands.
Panic is set among the Cardiff defence - and you can't really blame them considering the incessant pressure they are coming up against. Manga's heavy touch inside his own box is picked up by Etheridge and Liverpool appeal for a back-pass, but referee Attwell decides it was simply poor control.
The Bluebirds enjoy some brief respite with their first meaningful attack. Josh Murphy leaves Wijnaldum on the floor with a quick change of direction but his cross is easy pickings for Alisson. Cardiff did have four players in the box so will attack with numbers when they get the chance to break.
SHOT!  The ball falls to Alexander-Arnold on the edge of the box and he creates room for a shot on his left foot, dragging it five yards wide. What may be a concern to Klopp is that, for his side's total dominance, they have only registered one effort on target.
Etheridge flaps at a cross from Salah and is lucky that it didn't drop to a Liverpool shirt. The Reds eventually work the ball to Firmino but he can't keep it under control to get a shot away.
Van Dijk strides out of defence before moving the ball onto Moreno who is midway into the Cardiff half. Indeed, every player is in the Cardiff half apart from Lovren and Alisson and that has been the pattern of the game for the opening half an hour; a long time to have this level of superiority in the top flight.
Camarasa pinches the ball off Wijnaldum on the halfway line and starts a promising Cardiff attack that he eventually wastes. The Spaniard travelled with the ball 30 yards but then selfishly ignored the run of Murphy to his left and ran straight into Lovren.
The visitors are in the midst of their best spell, although that is not saying a great deal. Hoilett gets down the right but his cross is underhit and Van Dijk turns it away with authority at the near post.
Selfishness strikes again, this time at the other end as Lallana takes aim 30 yards from goal on his left foot, hitting it straight at Bamba, when Salah and Mane were either side of him on the counter.
The possession stats list Liverpool with 85%, which would be a Premier League record if they were able to sustain it for 90 minutes.
Lallana slips on his way into the box, just as Lovren had found him with a run out of defence and incisive pass. The former Southampton man recovers but the momentum of the attack quickly wanes.
A Liverpool corner barely gets past the front post but Van Dijk nearly makes the most of it by hooking his right foot around a volley that he can't keep down. The Dutchman recently scored on international duty against Germany, but has not found the net for Liverpool since his debut winner over Everton.
SHOT!  Firmino and Mane exchange a one-two on the edge of the box, and the Brazilian works his way back onto his right foot for a shot which goes over the crossbar. It is not quite happening for Firmino in front of goal at the moment, but we know his role in the team is so much more than that.
Murphy makes an out-to-in run, getting the wrong side of Alexander-Arnold and Camarasa pings a ball into his chest from the right flank, only for the flag to go up. His cushioned header intended for Reid had been intercepted anyway. Cardiff's attackers have been working off scraps all half.
OFF THE LINE!  Cardiff will somehow get to the break with only a deficit of one, and they have captain Morrison to thank. Liverpool work it really nicely down the left, Firmino feeding the overlapping run of Moreno who stands up a cross which Lallana heads past Etheridge, but not past Morrison on the line.
Twelve shots to none; five corners to none; 84% possession in their favour; but only 1-0 up. Liverpool lead at the break against Cardiff but they will be wondering how they aren't out of sight by now. That is as one-sided a half of Premier League football as I've seen, but Cardiff are still in it.
LATEST: Brighton 0-0 Wolves; Fulham 0-1 Bournemouth; Southampton 0-0 Newcastle; Watford 2-0 Huddersfield.
Mohamed Salah became the quickest Liverpool player to 50 goals in midweek and has got straight back on the goal trail. It took only 10 minutes for the Egyptian to get his customary Anfield goal, pouncing from eight yards after Mane and Firmino had seen efforts blocked in a goalmouth scramble.
Adam Lallana has not taken his chance to impress so far, using the ball quite wastefully at times and squandering a golden chance on the stroke of the break. Klopp may be happy to accept, in these sort of games, that the England international, needs minutes to work his way back to his best form.
BENCH WATCH: Lallana got the nod over Shaqiri this afternoon and the Swiss will count himself unlucky not to have had more minutes having caught the eye in his cameos thus far. He will be hoping to get a run out in this second half and help the Reds put this result beyond doubt.
Cardiff have barely carried a threat at all, but if they are to get back into the game than Josh Murphy seems their most likely avenue. He has taken up some intelligent positions in the inside left channel and has the pace to trouble the Liverpool defence, but so far has not had the service.
KICKOFF:  The action resumes in Merseyside with both sides unchanged from the first half. Paterson seemed to be carrying a knock in the latter stages of the first period but is back out there again.
The visitors are looking to use Murphy as an outlet whenever they can but here he finds himself an equal in Alexander-Arnold who times his slide tackle well to prevent the winger from getting away.
Moreno makes a good covering run to intercept Murphy's switch of play intended for Paterson but Cardiff retrieve the ball and work it nicely through midfield to win a free kick under Lovren's challenge on Reid.
DISALLOWED GOAL!  Cardiff nearly execute a training-ground free-kick routine to perfection as Morrison peels off at the back post and heads it back across for Bamba to bundle over the line, but the offside flag had gone up against the Bluebirds skipper who just mistimed his run.
This would not have been the fast start to the second half that Klopp would have wanted to kill this game off. Cardiff have more than held their own since thr break, and looked the more likely team to score if anything. That could play into Liverpool's devastating counter-attacking hands though.
Cardiff have been a lot more proactive since the restart but their attempts on goal are still pretty speculative. Murphy tries something extraordinary from the outside left of the penalty box but gets it horribly wrong.
Really good defending from Bamba who fairly wrestles the ball off Salah before releasing Murphy. Cardiff have a two-on-two situation but Lovren blocks the cross towards Paterson and Alisson picks up the loose ball.
After that attack, Murphy stays down holding his ankle and requires some treatment. Losing their No.11 would be a blow to the Bluebirds as he has looked their best outlet, not just today, but all season.
SUBSTITUTION: Klopp makes the change that might have come at half time, with Shaqiri replacing Lallana who won't be happy with his performance but will have enjoyed starting a league game at Anfield for the first time in 18 months.
There have been a couple of penalty appeals for handball that Cardiff have survived in the last five minutes. How much longer before Klopp starts to worry that there could be a twist in the tale here?
Finally Liverpool have the daylight that their dominance deserves, with Mane easing the nerves that were starting to surface around Anfield. It looked as though the Senegalese had lost his shooting chance when he was dispossessed on the edge of the box, but he grafts to win the ball back before blasting a left-footed rocket through Etheridge who seemed to be taken by surprise by the power behind the effort.
The Reds are warming to their task again, and may had added a stylish third had Mane not slightly overhit his back-heel for the run of Fabinho who was forced too wide to get a shot away.
Murphy is lucky to get away with a blatant dive, with referee Attwell taking sympathy on the winger who has put in a good performance this afternoon and shouldn't be souring it with that nonsense.
Murphy is lucky to get away without a yellow card for a dive which infuriated Lovren. The winger has been decent this afternoon and shouldn't be souring his performance with that nonsense.
SUBSTITUTIONS: A change apiece here as Klopp takes the luxury of resting Firmino, although it is James Milner and not Daniel Sturridge who gets a run out in his place. Warnock makes the straight swap of Loic Damour for Aron Gunnarsson in midfield.
SUBSTITUTION: Another Cardiff substitution sees Kadeem Harris replace Murphy for the final 16 minutes plus stoppage time.
LATEST: The visitors are heading for defeat here, but not back to the relegation zone because of the scores elsewhere. As it stands, Fulham are 2-0 down at home to Bournemouth, Huddersfield are losing at Watford, and Newcastle are being held at Southampton.
It might not be over at Anfield just yet, because Cardiff have grabbed one back out of nowhere. Hoilett and Reid exchange a slick one-two down the right but the cross into the box is little more than hopeful. Van Dijk stretches out a leg and accidentally diverts it into the path of Paterson who prods the ball home from the six-yard line!
That is the first Premier League goal that Liverpool have conceded at Anfield since Michail Antonio scored for West Ham in February, and with it goes the potential club record of 10 successive home clean sheets in the top flight.
For the first time this afternoon, Cardiff believe but that could leave them vulnerable at the back. Salah gets free down the right and tries an audacious lob with Etheridge off his line, failing to direct it.
SUBSTITUTION: Warnock's masterplan to pinch a point here is to throw on striker Kenneth Zohore as an extra target up front, with Reid being sacrificed. The forward has gone 14 games without a goal in all; what a time it would be to end that run.
Victory was only in jeopardy for a few minutes for Liverpool, with Shaqiri now surely putting this one beyond doubt. The Swiss brings a fierce pass from Salah under control brilliantly, and his next couple of touches are just as good as he wriggles away from two defenders and slots into the bottom corner.
Mane adds some authority to the result with a fourth as he and Salah cut Cardiff apart on the break. The Senegalese starts the move off before passing the ball onto Salah and continuing a run which the Egyptian finds with a defence-splitting pass. The finish is a delicate lift over Etheridge. Ruthless stuff.
For the first time today the scoreline has a margin which is probably reflective of Liverpool's superiority. Shaqiri has made a real difference off the bench and it can't be long before he gets a run in the team.
There will be three minutes of stoppage time, and Salah thinks that is long enough to try to steal the show as he tries to chip Etheridge from the halfway line, only to slice his attempt wide to the right.
Liverpool go top of the Premier League with what was, for all but six second-half minutes, a comprehensive win over Cardiff at Anfield. Mohamed Salah is definitely back to his best with a goal and a couple of assists while Sadio Mane and Xherdan Shaqiri were also on the scoresheet for the Reds.
That's it from our coverage from Anfield this afternoon. You can read our match report here, and catch up on today's other results here in our live scores section. Thanks for joining Sports Mole today. Until next time, goodbye!

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