Tag: Jordan Henderson

Premiership: Swansea 0-1 Liverpool

Liverpool maintained the pressure in the race for Champions League qualification as Jordan Henderson’s fortunate second-half goal saw off Swansea at the Liberty Stadium to seal a 1-0 win.

Henderson’s 68th-minute winner — his sixth goal of the season and his third in successive Premier League games — had a slice of good fortune about it as Jordi Amat’s attempted clearance clattered into him, but Liverpool will not worry about that on a night when Swansea had them clinging on for large parts of the first half.

But Liverpool showed the resilience of a side which has not conceded away from home in the league since Dec. 14 and and grew in stature as the second half unfolded.

The gap between themselves and fourth-placed Manchester United was cut to two points again before the pair meet in a huge Anfield collision on Sunday.

After Arsenal and United both won over the weekend Liverpool knew they could not afford slipping up in south Wales and they were boosted by the return of skipper Steven Gerrard to the matchday squad after missing seven games with hamstring trouble.

But Gerrard started on the bench as Rodgers kept faith with the midfield and attacking personnel which has had served him so well in recent weeks and underpinned the performances which have made Liverpool the form team of 2015.

Joe Allen had shaken off a hip injury to feature against his former club and Martin Skrtel had recovered from the sickening fall which forced his withdrawal from Liverpool’s last game, the FA Cup quarterfinal tie against Blackburn eight days earlier.

Bafetimbi Gomis had also been declared fit to lead the Swansea forward line after collapsing on the field at Tottenham on March 4, the result of a vasovagal condition which can lead to low blood pressure but one which apparently has no lasting effects.

Liverpool’s need for the three points was greater than a Swansea side who had already reached the 40-point mark expected to guarantee another season of Premier League football, but it was the hosts who enjoyed the greater possession and scoring opportunities in an enthralling first half.

Swansea were also slick on the break and Allen’s saving tackle prevented Gomis from profiting after rounding Emre Can before Skrtel took up the right position to clear Ki Sung-yueng’s header at the back post.

Skrtel’s carbon-copy clearance soon denied Gomis as Swansea spotted a route to goal through Wayne Routledge’s forays down the right flank and crosses to the far post.

Liverpool offered only fleeting moments of menace, most notably when Daniel Sturridge held off Amat for Adam Lallana to fire into Lukasz Fabiasnki’s midriff and the Polish goalkeeper comfortably plucking Philippe Coutinho’s 20-yard shot out of the air.

But it was Swansea’s one-touch passing which was catching the eye and Ki found Gomis whose smart one-two with Routledge freed the Frenchman on goal.

Gomis took the shot early, maybe too hastily, but it still forced a fine sprawling save from Simon Mignolet in the Liverpool goal.

Mignolet made an even better save from Gylfi Sigurdsson’s curling effort and was then relieved to see Jonjo Shelvey’s strike from the resulting corner deflect to safety off Alberto Moreno.

Rodgers must have demanded a major improvement from his side at the start of a second half which opened with Gomis arriving late after the action had started.

And Liverpool immediately began to find their rhythm, if not the final ball, as Swansea were penned back in their own half for the first time in the match.

Swansea were almost cut open after 58 minutes when Sturridge fed Raheem Sterling down the right and his cut-back found Coutinho who forced an excellent save from Fabianski at the base of his post.

Gerrard was sent on after 64 minutes with Liverpool firmly in the ascendancy and he was soon celebrating a goal, even if it came in rather fortuitous fashion.

Skrtel advanced from the back and his pass squirmed through off Sturridge before Amat’s attempted clearance cannoned off Henderson and over the helpless Fabianski.

After that Liverpool pretty much held Swansea at arms length and Sturridge almost put the gloss on the win when he struck the post in injury time.

Read more at ESPN

Premiership: Liverpool 2-0 Burnley

Stand-in captain Jordan Henderson led from the front with his second goal in successive matches as Liverpool maintained their pursuit of a top-four place.

With third-placed Arsenal and Manchester United also winning, Brendan Rodgers’ side could not afford anything less than three points and a straightforward 2-0 victory over the Premier League strugglers was the achieved with the minimum of fuss.

Henderson, in possession of the armband in the absence of Steven Gerrard, back in training this week after a hamstring injury, slotted home just before the half-hour and Daniel Sturridge’s header just after the break sealed the result.

With Henderson, and the team, in this form the watching captain – who departs for Los Angeles Galaxy in the summer – must be wondering where he fits in.

Liverpool, the league’s only unbeaten side since the turn of the year, have not been defeated in the last 12 league games – picking up 30 points from a possible 36 having won seven of the last eight with six clean sheets.

Rodgers’ side are upwardly mobile and moved back into fifth place, which they had been ousted from by Southampton 24 hours earlier, remaining three points behind Arsenal and two behind United, who visit Anfield a week on Sunday.

Burnley, on the other hand, have just one win in the last 12 league matches and stay second-bottom three points from safety.

Just 24 seconds had elapsed when Sturridge brought a smart reaction save out of Tom Heaton low to his left after Raheem Sterling had cut the ball back

But if the hosts thought that was the beginning of the onslaught they were mistaken as Burnley recovered their composure quickly and set out their stall to harass and make things difficult.

They achieved that with plenty of endeavour but despite gaining the upper hand in the game, what they lacked was that touch of class.

Liverpool have that in spades in the form of Philippe Coutinho, who pulls the strings in the space between opposition defences and midfield, and he was soon demanding and receiving more of the ball.

The clever brain and quick feet of the diminutive Brazil international have always been a characteristic of his play but what he has added to his game with devastating effect is shooting power.

Two wonder goals in successive matches have given the 22-year-old the confidence to have a go and when he let fly from distance the shot rebounded off a crowd of defenders to Henderson who, having also found the net in Sunday’s win over Manchester City, rammed home from the edge of the area.

It was the first time in his senior career the 24-year-old had scored in consecutive matches.

Three minutes later Coutinho almost replicated his brilliant effort against City from a similar position but although he wrapped his right foot around the ball to impart plenty of spin the shot bent just around the far post.

It encapsulated the match as a whole. Liverpool, having spent £120million in the summer, had far more quality to call upon than Burnley, who make up for the difference in financial clout with committed players who carry out manager Sean Dyche’s game plan effectively.

Goalkeeper Tom Heaton had to deny Sturridge three times in the first half alone: once from a direct shot, second time racing out to snatch the ball off striker’s toes when Emre Can’s deflected effort looped up off Michael Keane and then sticking out a leg to win a one-on-one with the England striker.

Burnley, for all their hard work and desire to go toe-to-toe with their opponents could not create half as much with Danny Ings, a reported target for Liverpool this summer, robbed by a perfect tackle from Martin Skrtel six yards out and Ashley Barnes heading at goalkeeper Simon Mignolet moments before the break.

Six minutes into the second half the Clarets were exposed again as Adam Lallana led the defence a merry dance with some nifty footwork to retain possession long enough for support to arrive in the form of Henderson, whose cross to the far post was nodded in by Sturridge.

Barnes volleyed wide to provide a reminder the Premier League strugglers were far from finished while Ings, as was the case for his team, came up just short in a race with Mignolet.

Read more at ESPN

Premiership: Liverpool 2-1 Man City

Liverpool put a huge dent in Manchester City’s title hopes with a 2-1 victory which dramatically enhanced their own hopes of a top-four finish.

Chelsea’s involvement in the Capital One Cup final had given Manuel Pellegrini’s side a chance to reduce the gap at the top to two points but, as was the case last season, they were cut down at Anfield.

Eleven months ago defeat here did not prove their undoing in the title race as Chelsea did them a favour by winning at Anfield.

This time it was Liverpool doing Chelsea favours — not something their fans would usually celebrate but on this occasion their club’s needs come first, and with the championship beyond their means, the race for Champions League qualification takes priority.

Jordan Henderson’s brilliant opener was matched by an equally good team goal from Edin Dzeko but Philippe Coutinho’s 75th-minute winner eclipsed them all.

Anfield is a bad ground for City, who have now not won here in 12 league matches, yet it was supposed to be their hosts who were mourning a Europa League exit to Besiktas on penalties on Thursday.

City reverted to the team which thrashed Newcastle 5-0 last weekend after losing to Barcelona in midweek but it was the home side, registering four changes — most significantly returning playmaker Coutinho — from the defeat to Besiktas, who got off to a flier.

Coutinho, who twice set up Adam Lallana to first shoot weakly at Joe Hart and then brilliantly finish from a narrow angle only to be judged marginally offside, was the instigator.

Pressing hard he robbed Vincent Kompany and rode a challenge from the City captain before laying off to Raheem Sterling, who gave Kompany a torrid time in the first half, and he teed up Henderson to curl a beauty over Hart and into the top corner in the 11th minute.

Immediately the intensity went up a notch, with Sergio Aguero breaking free of Skrtel and beating Simon Mignolet but not the far post with a left-footed shot.

It was end-to-end stuff, with the creative Coutinho and equally mercurial David Silva running the show for their respective sides, although an honourable mention should go to the pint-sized Joe Allen, who was a giant in midfield against players of huge size and even bigger reputations.

The former’s ball with the outside of his right foot sent Sterling racing down the left wing, but although he easily jinked past Eliaquim Mangala, City’s 32 million-pound summer signing, his cross rolled through the six-yard area with no-one to knock it in.

Silva was increasingly finding space in front of Liverpool’s back four, the area where he is most dangerous, and from there he crafted City’s 25th-minute equaliser.

The Spain international picked out Aguero, whose sublime ball to Dzeko was deservedly rewarded with a goal as the Bosnian slotted past Mignolet for his 50th Premier League goal.

From then on the game became even more open and entertaining, something of a rarity for a noon kick-off on a Sunday.

Both defences looked to be the weakest links, with Mangala equally out of touch as Kompany while Dejan Lovren’s presence in the back three, after his penalty shoot-out miss in Istanbul cost his side Europa League progress, seemed to cause as much indecision in Liverpool’s ranks as it did consternation in the stands.

The ripple of applause he received for holding off or, depending on your persuasion, pushing over Pablo Zabaleta in the box just before half-time seemed more in relief than appreciation.

Attacks continued, with Aguero heading over 20 seconds into the second half and Sterling bundling wide a Lallana cross, but the quality level dropped somewhat.

In an instant it was raised again, in the 75th minute, when Coutinho cut in from the left, dropped his shoulder and unleashed an arcing shot which dipped over the outstretched fingertips of Hart.

Once again going behind sparked City to go to another gear and, having sent on striker Wilfried Bony for Fernandinho, Aguero’s angled shot whistled just past the far post after Lovren had lunged in.

A frenzied final 10 minutes saw Coutinho have another shot deflected over, Bony escape with a yellow card after appearing to lead with an elbow on Lallana, substitute Daniel Sturridge roll a shot wide with only Hart to beat and Silva flash a shot just off target with the seconds ticking down.

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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”.

Champions League: Ludogorets Razgrad 2-2 Liverpool

Liverpool conceded a late equaliser at Bulgarian champions Ludogorets – but are still just a win away from reaching the Champions League last 16.

The hosts led when Dani Abalo pounced on Reds keeper Simon Mignolet’s error, but Rickie Lambert headed in his first Champions League goal to equalise.

Jordan Henderson steered Liverpool ahead at the far post, before Georgi Terziev headed in the equaliser.

Liverpool will still qualify if they beat Basel at Anfield next month.

Read more at BBC Sport

Euro 2016 Qualifying: Engalnd 3-1 Slovenia

Wayne Rooney helped England survive a scare against Slovenia on his 100th international appearance as they came from behind to make it four wins from four in the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.

Rooney was presented with a golden cap by England and Manchester United legend Sir Bobby Charlton before kick-off in honour of his landmark but underdogs Slovenia threatened to spoil the celebrations when Jordan Henderson’s own goal gave them the lead just before the hour.

England’s captain quickly restored order with his 44th goal for his country from the penalty spot, putting him joint-third with Jimmy Greaves in the all-time standings and moving him to within five of Charlton’s record.

With Slovenia’s resistance finally broken, Danny Welbeck struck twice to bring his tally to an impressive five goals in qualifying.

The Wembley surface was the subject of much debate after areas were churned up in the NFL game between Jacksonville Jaguars and Dallas Cowboys last Sunday.

Conditions were not perfect, but this was no excuse for a dire first-half display from England.

The eventful second half was a far cry from a dreadful opening 45 minutes, which was devoid of action and flouted its billing as entertainment in front of a crowd of more than 82,000.

England’s supporters gave 29-year-old Rooney a warm ovation as he was presented with his cap accompanied by his sons Kai and Klay – but it was all downhill in the first half.

Manager Roy Hodgson will be delighted his side raised their game after the break, stung into action by Slovenia’s goal, the first they have conceded so far in the qualifiers.

Rooney laid the foundations before Welbeck once more proved his importance as he followed his two goals against Switzerland and one against San Marino with another double here.

Once again England collected three points without truly impressing, the trend emerging from Group E, which they will surely move through untroubled to France in 2016.

And Hodgson, with another competitive victory secured, can now perhaps experiment in Tuesday’s friendly against Scotland at Celtic Park.

The first half was instantly forgettable, and a smattering of jeers greeted the half-time whistle.

England began the second with more attacking intent – they could hardly have had less – but were stunned when Slovenia took the lead after 57 minutes as Henderson glanced a perfect header high beyond Hart from Milivoje Novakovic’s free-kick.

The hosts needed a quick response and Rooney helped them deliver it, first winning the penalty when he was clearly tripped by Bostjan Cesar then dispatching it powerfully past Slovenia goalkeeper Samir Handanovic, who got a touch but could not keep the ball out.

In those few minutes the momentum swung in England’s favour, and they were soon ahead when Welbeck’s scuffed finish beat Handanovic after the goalkeeper had turned away Adam Lallana’s deflected cross.

And to emphasise the point, Welbeck underlined his growing stature as a striker – and his importance to Hodgson – with the third, playing a neat interchange with Raheem Sterling before steering in a composed angled finish.

Read more at BBC Sport