AFTER CHELSEA’S RAMPANT display against Arsenal, all eyes turned to Liverpool to see if they could keep pace at the top of the table.
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Cardiff City 3-6 Liverpool
14.53 – Good afternoon and welcome to our live coverage of Liverpool’s Premier League trip to Cardiff City.
We’ve already had plenty of drama with Chelsea putting six past Arsenal, giving Arsene Wenger an unforgettable afternoon on his 1,000th game in charge of the Gunners.
That win moves Chelsea seven points clear of Liverpool for now — but the Reds have two games in hand, starting with this trip to the Cardiff City Stadium.
We’ll also be keeping a close eye on Manchester City who are at home to Fulham.
Kick-off is at 3pm. We’ll have the team news right away.
CARDIFF: Marshall, Fabio, Theophile-Catherine, Caulker, Cala, John, Medel, Kim, Mutch, Bellamy, Campbell.
Substitutes: Lewis, Turner, Whittingham, Jones, Gunnarsson, Daehli, Zaha.
LIVERPOOL: Mignolet, Johnson, Flanagan, Agger, Skrtel, Gerrard, Allen, Henderson, Coutinho, Suarez, Sturridge.
Substitutes: Jones, Sakho, Cissokho, Lucas, Moses, Sterling, Aspas.
14.56 – Plenty of early optimism from the Reds fans in the comments section. Chelsea’s win means that Liverpool’s goal difference advantage is now down to two (41 vs 39) so they could do with a healthy win against struggling Cardiff.
Given their history against so-called “smaller teams” in recent seasons, I’d imagine they’ll be happy enough with a win.
15.00 – We’re just about ready to go. Neil Swarbrick is the referee. If Chelsea-Arsenal is anything to go by, he might be worth keeping an eye on…
15.00 – KICK OFF: We’re underway. This is Liverpool’s first league fixture in Cardiff in more than half a century.
15.02 – 2 mins – Campbell cuts back inside Steven Gerrard and the Liverpool skipper trails a leg out and brings him down. Straight into Neil Swarbrick’s book.
15.04 – 3 mins – A few early tests for the Liverpool defence as Mignolet has to punch a cross behind and then Théophile-Catherine swivels and shoots over the bar from inside the box.
15.05 – 4 mins – Mutch gets to the byline and pulls the ball back across the face of Liverpool’s goal but there’s nobody there. All Cardiff in these first few minutes.
15.09 – GOAL! Cardiff 1-0 Liverpool (Mutch, 9′) Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy by Liverpool and Cardiff punish them. Joe Allen gives the ball away cheaply near his own box, Campbell pulls it back to Mutch on the edge of the box and he takes a step inside before drilling a shot low past Mignolet into the left corner.
Game on, Ger.
15.16 – GOAL! Cardiff 1-1 Liverpool (Suarez, 16′) Superb response by Liverpool. They build it up patiently and Coutinho shapes to shoot from 20 yards before rolling it square to Henderson. He splits the Cardiff defence with a threaded pass to Johnson who bolts up from right full to join the attack and slides it across to Suarez who taps in at the near post.
He wasn’t missing that one — and after trailing for seven minutes, Liverpool are on level terms.
15.14 – 14 mins – Liverpool are enjoying a bit more possession now but Cardiff, who have started with three central defenders, are happy enough to let them knock it about 30 yards from goal.
15.26 – GOAL! Cardiff 2-1 Liverpool (Campbell, 25′) It’s oh so simple for Cardiff as Liverpool’s ropey defence rears its ugly head again. Fraizer Campbell drifts into the space where the back four should be and takes one touch to come back inside Daniel Agger before finishing. No chance for Mignolet who might well ask where his teammates were.
15.21 – “We’ll always be blue” is the chant from the Cardiff stands. Vincent Tan — wearing his sunglasses, red jersey, and trousers up around his nipples — watches on impassively.
15.22 – 22 mins – Sturridge fizzes one across the box and Suarez just fails to get a touch on it. Cardiff living dangerously.
15.24 – 24 mins – Bellamy clips in a cross and Campbell gets up to win the header but can’t keep it on the right side of the crossbar.
15.31 – 28 mins – Hairy moment for Steven Gerrard. Another needlessly loose tackle and referee Neil Swarbrick lets him away with a warning rather than a second yellow card. Lucky.
15.34 – 33 mins – Suarez lines up a free from 20 yards out but it comes back off the wall, much to the delight of the home support.
15.36 – 36 mins – Liverpool knock the ball around in midfield but Suarez catches Gerrard off guard and his pass rolls out for a throw. Oh.
15.38 – 37 mins – Sturridge drives into the box and instead of playing in Jon Flanagan on the overlap, he goes it alone. A deflection takes the sting out of his shot though and it’s gratefully gobbled up by Marshall.
15.40 – 39 mins – Gerrard — who isn’t exactly having his best game today — pings a great ball towards Jordan Henderson in the box. He tries to volley it back into the danger zone but it goes harmlessly off his boot and behind for a goal kick.
Lots of Liverpool pressure in the last few minutes but no real chances.
15.41 – GOAL! Cardiff 2-2 Liverpool (Skrtel, 41′) LIVERPOOL ARE LEVEL AGAIN! Coutinho’s corner is easily cleared but Gerrard returns it to the little Brazilian and at the second time of asking, he gets a dangerous ball in behind the Cardiff back four. Skrtel steals in through a thicket of red jerseys and stretches to toe poke it past Marshall.
Say what you like about Liverpool’s title credentials but they’re certainly entertaining!
15.45 – We’re into stoppage time at the end of the first half.
15.48 – 45+2 mins – Neat interplay between Suarez and Johnson on the edge of the Cardiff box but Marshall is out off his line quickly enough to snuff out the danger.
That’ll be the last chance of the half.
15.48 – HALF TIME: Cardiff City 2-2 Liverpool
15.49 – Just the four goals to mull over at the break then. Cardiff started brilliantly but it was always going to be tough to maintain that intensity of effort and the more they invite Liverpool onto them, the more you feel that they will be punished.
Back in five.
Source: David Davies
16.03 – SECOND HALF: We’re back.
16.08 – 50 mins – Sturridge takes a tumble inside the box following a clumsy challenge by Fabio but the contact was outside. Suarez still fancies it…
16.09 – 51 mins – He drills it off the wall. Again.
16.11 – GOAL! Cardiff 2-3 Liverpool (Skrtel, 53′) Liverpool lead — and their goal has come while Cardiff are temporarily down to nine. Theophile-Catherine and Mutch are both off the pitch receiving treatment as Coutinho swings in a corner and Skrtel ducks in at the near post to head home his second of the afternoon.
What have Cardiff got left in the tank now?
16.18 – GOAL! Cardiff 2-4 Liverpool (Suarez, 60′) Game, set and match? Suarez strikes again but Daniel Sturridge deserves serious credit for his role in Liverpool’s fourth. The ball falls to him inside the box but he picks out Suarez with a neat little backheel and the Uruguayan makes absolutely no mistake.
16.23 – Double substitution: Solskjaer changes it up for the last 25 minutes — Zaha and Daehli on for John and Kim.
Looks like we’ll have a Liverpool change in a minute too. Raheem Sterling is getting ready.
16.25 – Liverpool substitution: Sterling comes on to replace Coutinho.
16.27 – Substitution: Kenwyne Jones on for Craig Bellamy as Cardiff’s final sub. Twenty minutes left.
16.31 – Substitution: If it seems like I’m only telling you about substitutions, that’s because there’s not too much else happening — not that Liverpool fans will mind. Sahko is on for Flanagan.
16.33 – GOAL! Cardiff 2-5 Liverpool (Sturridge, 75′) Here’s something to tell you about — Liverpool have scored again and, as one of my colleagues has just exclaimed, “it’s the S in SAS” who has scored it.
Glen Johnson raked a long ball towards Suarez who takes advantage of some woeful Cardiff defending and slides it across the six-yard box for Sturridge to tap in. Easy.
16.39 – I’m still here, don’t worry.
16.41 – 83 mins – Jon Champion and Brian Little are now analysing the wrinkles on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s baby face. That’s punditry, folks.
16.43 – 84 mins – Raheem Sterling looks like he’s about to get in on the act but he’s crowded out by the Cardiff defence and they scramble the ball clear.
16.45 – 86 mins – Henderson plays the pass and Suarez tries to spin away from his marker, but he goes down clutching his right ankle. The referee waves play on.
16.45 – GOAL! Cardiff 3-5 Liverpool (Mutch, 88′) Liverpool have had plenty of chances for a sixth but instead it’s Cardiff who get a consolation goal. Kenwyne Jones heads back across goal and Jordan Mutch just has to nod it past Mignolet from four yards out.
They couldn’t, could they?
I’ll answer that myself: No.
16.48 – 90 mins – Don’t go anywhere just yet! We’ll have five minutes of added time and Cardiff are peppering the Liverpool box.
16.50 – Substitution: Liverpool try to run down the clock as Sturridge strolls off to be replaced by Aly Cissokho.
16.51 – 90+3 mins – Cardiff have a bit of a snifter but after Mignolet clears a dropping free, Fraizer Campbell hooks his shot way over the bar.
16.52 – Luis Suarez is named man of the match.
Liverpool will have to defend another corner though. Last 90 seconds…
16.53 – 90+5 mins – Suarez skips forward in search of his hattrick but the pass sends him too far wide and the momentum is lost.
That should be that.
16.54 – GOAL! Cardiff 3-6 Liverpool (Suarez, 90+6′) Spoke too soon. Skrtel clears his lines and although Cala looks like he has everything under control, he’s nudged out of the way by Suarez who strolls unimpeded towards goal. He takes his time — waiting for Sterling to join him so he can square it for the tap-in — but eventually rolls it past Marshall for another hattrick.
16.54 – FULL TIME: Cardiff City 3-6 Liverpool
17.02 – You never know what you’re going to get with this Liverpool side, do you?
But what we do know is that they have scored six, conceded three, Suarez has another hattrick and they’re back to within four points of league leaders Chelsea… with a game in hand.
City’s comfortable 4-0 win at home to Fulham means that it’s as you were in the title race. Apart from Arsenal. They’re finito.
Thanks for reading and for commenting.