Tag: Adam Lallana

FA Cup: Crystal Palace 1-2 Liverpool

Liverpool exorcise Selhurst Park demons, reach FA Cup quarterfinals

Liverpool exorcised some demons at Selhurst Park by reaching the FA Cup quarterfinals with an impressive win against Crystal Palace.

Brendan Rodgers’ side returned to south London in Saturday’s late kick-off looking to avoid another horror show at the ground where last season’s title dreams went up in smoke before then suffering a 3-1 loss this term.

An early Fraizer Campbell goal had the Reds fearing another nightmare result, yet their dominance eventually told as Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana goals secured a 2-1 comeback win.

Victory keeps alive the dream of Steven Gerrard ending his Liverpool career by holding the FA Cup aloft on his 35th birthday, although for a while it looked like Alan Pardew could be involved in another upset against the Merseyside giants.

The Palace manager’s extra-time winner secured the Eagles a famous win against the Reds in the 1990 FA Cup semi-final and he was celebrating again after 15 minutes, when a gaffe from Martin Skrtel allowed Campbell to slot home.

Dwight Gayle could have doubled that lead as half-time approached but that would have been harsh on Liverpool, who had 17 shots over the course of the opening period.

Furthermore, Palace debutant Pape Souare got away with a penalty after taking down Sturridge, who started the comeback four minutes after the break, finishing a fine team move with aplomb.

It was a fantastic volley from the England striker, whose international team-mate Lallana scored what proved to be the 58th minute decider – directing home after Julian Speroni failed to deal with a stinging Mario Balotelli free-kick.

Few could argue with the result as Liverpool impressed from the outset, with Sturridge directing a Lazar Markovic cross wide early on.

Rodgers’ side were looking decent but they were almost caught out when Joe Ledley sent a wonderful through ball to Gayle, only for Skrtel to cut out his threatening cross.

It was a timely interception by the Slovakian defender, who undid that good work in the 15th minute.

Skrtel’s attempted clearance from a high Ledley ball forwards ended going backwards after a slight nudge from Gayle. The forward chased the loose ball and forced Simon Mignolet into a save, only for the ball to fall kindly for Campbell to slot home.

It was a sucker punch but one Liverpool responded well to.

Speroni did fantastically to prevent Lallana drawing parity after a fine, intricate team move, before Philippe Coutinho tested the Palace goalkeeper in twice quick succession.

Jordan Henderson was the next to call him into action, before Sturridge was left perplexed as to why referee Robert Madley did not point to the spot soon after being brought down by Souare.

The visiting fans certainly let their displeasure known, although that anger almost turned to joy as Joe Allen volleyed just wide, with Coutinho and Markovic having efforts as Pardew’s men rode their luck.

Liverpool were in complete control yet would have gone in two-down at the break was it not for Mignolet stopping Gayle.

A two-goal deficit would have harsh and, smelling blood, Balotelli was brought on in place of Markovic at the break.

Palace, too, made a change with Marouane Chamakh replaced by Jason Puncheon, who flashed an effort over within a minute of his introduction.

It was again Liverpool looking the most threatening side and they drew level in some style inside four minutes of the restart.

Allen’s ball between the lines found Henderson, whose cute, clipped ball was met by a wonderful left-footed volley by Sturridge.

Palace attempted to go back ahead through Joel Ward and Gayle, although Liverpool were looking confident and went ahead in the 58th minute.

Scott Dann was adjudged to have fouled Balotelli, whose stinging effort from the result free-kick was spilled by Speroni into the path of Lallana.

Palace went with a more attacking approach in search of a leveller but they were struggling to break down the Liverpool defence and create clear-cut chances.

The Reds appeared happy to soak up the pressure and Henderson saw a cross cut out by Scott Dann, before Rickie Lambert had an effort deflect over.

Gayle blazed a late free-kick over but Palace never really looked like drawing level as Palace fell to a second defeat in all competitions under Pardew.

Read more at ESPN

Premiership: Liverpool 4-1 Swansea

Liverpool moved to within five points of the top four with an emphatic victory over Swansea at Anfield.

The home side took the lead through Alberto Moreno’s close-range finish.

Adam Lallana made it 2-0 when Lukasz Fabianski’s attempted clearance struck him and found the net before Swansea’s Gylfi Sigurdsson hit back immediately.

But Lallana struck again with a low finish and Jonjo Shelvey’s headed own goal from a corner sealed the rout.

It could have been worse for Swansea, with Raheem Sterling striking the post with a shot from an angle and substitute Mario Balotelli drawing a good save from Fabianski with a low drive.

It has been a year of two halves for Liverpool, who began 2014 with drive, purpose and a 16-game unbeaten run to take them to within a whisker of an unexpected Premier League title, but in the last few months have been characterised by doubt and inconsistency.

Aptly, this was a game of two very different halves, with a slow-paced and unmemorable first period giving way to a dynamic and entertaining one after the break.

Liverpool were the better side in both – especially the second – to ensure they end the year with back-to-back victories that lift them up to eighth in the table, five points behind fourth-placed Southampton.

Without the injured Daniel Sturridge, the Reds still lack strength up front, which was most apparent in the stale 33 minutes before Moreno darted into the box to finish Jordan Henderson’s low cross to give them the lead.

But, in spreading three of his quickest and most skilful players – Lallana, Sterling and Philippe Coutinho – across the forward line, manager Brendan Rodgers has at least discovered an effective alternative.

And with Henderson and Lucas putting in the hard yards behind them, Rodgers was vindicated in his decision to leave out captain Steven Gerrard, who had started all seven of their previous fixtures this month.

The pick of the bunch was Lallana, who put a poor first-half miss behind him to assert himself decisively on the game.

His first goal owed a lot to fortune, with Fabianski’s kick deflecting off him and looping into the net, but it also illustrated his desire through his willingness to close the keeper down in the first place.

In contrast, his second – a decisive blow after Swansea had gained a foot-hold in the game through Sigurdsson’s close-range finish to make it 2-1 – was chiefly down to his ability as he collected a neat flick from Coutinho, beat two men and finished low.

The Reds were assisted by Swansea, who have practised the high-tempo, high-pressing game Rodgers is trying to rediscover at Anfield to superb effect this year but were uncharacteristically limp and wasteful in possession.

The visitors’ biggest crime was a failure to regularly test home goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, who had been dropped “indefinitely” by Rodgers due to his poor form but was brought back following an injury to his replacement Brad Jones.

Bafetimbi Gomis did strike the bar with an 18-yard shot late on but by then they had already gifted the hosts an unassailable lead through former Liverpool midfielder Shelvey’s near-post header into his own net from Henderson’s corner.

Shelvey was also involved in an incident earlier in the game when he caught Liverpool’s Emre Can with a flailing arm.

Read more at BBC Sport

Premiership: Leicester 1-3 Liverpool

Liverpool may want to re-think the contract offer made to Steven Gerrard after their captain bailed them out in a 3-1 comeback victory over Leicester like he has done so many times in the past.

The former England midfielder’s current deal expires in the summer and, despite the offer of an extension, he has yet to commit to stay at the club he has been with since he was nine.

But while Gerrard may be deliberating his next move, reportedly wanting double the one-year contract on offer, he showed no hesitation on the pitch with a coolly-placed goal to set his side on the way to victory and provide a reminder of glory days gone by.

Restored to the starting line-up after being rested against Stoke on the 16th anniversary of his debut at the weekend – and now relieved from defensive duties in a more advanced role – the midfielder responded with his first goal in open play since the Merseyside derby at Anfield in January.

That completed the comeback after Adam Lallana had equalised goalkeeper Simon Mignolet’s unfortunate own goal in the first half and, when Wes Morgan was shown a red card, Jordan Henderson secured back-to-back Premier League victories for the first time since October.

A week can be a long time in football and in the space of seven days Gerrard and Mignolet have both experienced highs and lows.

Having been at fault for Ludogorets’ opener in their Champions League draw in Bulgaria last Wednesday the Belgium goalkeeper looked to have turned a corner with a clean sheet at the weekend.

However, the jitters which have become more frequent with every passing game and gradually infused his team, resulting in a side which resembles the consistency of jelly when put under pressure, returned quicker than you could say “goalkeeping howler”.

His inexplicable pass straight into the path of Esteban Cambiasso, who rolled a 25-yard shot just wide of an open goal, set the nerves jangling and within two minutes Leicester were in front thanks to more weak defending.

It was unlucky in some ways as Mignolet made a good save when Jamie Vardy raced on to Riyad Mahrez’s through-ball. But from the rebound Martin Skrtel could only weakly head out Ulloa’s follow-up and the striker was given enough time to collect the ball and smash a shot against the near post which cannoned off Mignolet’s head and into the net.

Liverpool’s response was almost instantaneous; Gerrard’s free-kick was half-cleared to Lucas Leiva whose cross dropped at the feet of Lallana off Morgan and he smashed home the 50th league goal of his career.

The former Southampton midfielder, returning to the starting line-up, had looked neat and tidy with the ball at his feet but his wild lunge at Vardy, for which he was booked, a few minutes later was anything but.

In the first half Gerrard struggled to have much influence in a pin-ball midfield and it was Leicester’s own veteran midfielder Cambiasso, also 34, who exuded an air of calmness and control.

At the break Reds manager Brendan Rodgers made a tactical switch taking off Javier Manquillo, switching Glen Johnson back to right-back and bringing Alberto Moreno in on the left but it was a change he made last week which was more pivotal.

Against Ludogorets the captain was restored to an advanced role he previously occupied with great success in an attempt to allow Lucas to come in and provide more solidity.

And it was the Gerrard of old who strode into the penalty area in the 54th minute, having been involved in the build-up, to caress a shot past Kasper Schmeichel after Morgan could only dangle a foot at Raheem Sterling’s cross.

It got worse for the Leicester captain when he was red-carded just past the hour for hauling down Rickie Lambert as the Liverpool striker managed to get beyond him.

However, from the resulting free-kick the hosts launched a swift counter-attack and Gerrard showed he still had some life left in those ageing legs by charging back and using his experience to commit a cynical foul on Matty James before he could do too much damage.

Leicester were lucky not to be down to nine when Schmeichel collided with Gerrard inside the penalty area after he sprang the offside trap to race through – but referee Lee Mason waved play on.

Equally, the Foxes were unlucky when Cambiasso’s deflected shot was diverted wide by team-mate Vardy but by now Gerrard was relishing the open spaces and his cross to Sterling produced the cut-back for Henderson to score the third.

And no prizes for guessing who headed clear a corner in added time. As messages go it appeared to say “I’m not finished yet”.