Tag: Lazar Markovic

Premiership: Liverpool 3-2 Spurs

Liverpool’s Mario Balotelli picked the perfect time to score his first Premier League goal for the club as he stole the headlines from the battle between England strikers present and, potentially, future.

All the talk prematch was about Daniel Sturridge and his free-scoring Tottenham counterpart Harry Kane.

No-one had mentioned Balotelli, back in the squad for the first time in four matches after a substitute appearance in the Capital One Cup semifinal at Chelsea.

No-one had given him a second thought and when he replaced Sturridge after 74 minutes there were probably not many inside Anfield who gave him a hope of scoring.

But he displayed a predatory instinct not previously seen since his 16 million piund summer move from AC Milan to convert fellow substitute Adam Lallana’s cross from close range seven minutes from time.

If he does little else in his time at the club, which remains in doubt despite him surviving the January transfer window, his goal against the Reds’ top-four rivals could still prove pivotal.

It lifted his side to within two points of third-placed Southampton, who have a match in hand, and also fourth-placed Arsenal.

Without his late intervention the debate would have centred around Kane and Sturridge.

The Spurs striker scored his 23rd of the season, equalising Lazar Markovic’s opener, while the closest his opposite number came was a clever backheel against the post.

Sturridge did win the penalty from which Steven Gerrard scored his 10th of the campaign but that was soon cancelled out by Mousa Dembele’s close-range effort.

In truth there could not be a truly fair comparison between the two strikes on show as Sturridge was starting his first match since August 31 – coincidentally the 3-0 victory at White Hart Lane – after two substitute appearances while Kane has been on a hot streak since the end of September.

Sturridge, still feeling his way back into Premier League action after the thigh injury which sidelined him for five months, still looked half a yard short of his very best blistering pace but his reactions in front of goal seemed to be up to speed.

Twice Hugo Lloris denied him, once after Ryan Mason had given the ball away, but the France goalkeeper will question himself over Liverpool’s 15th-minute opener.

Simon Mignolet’s punt downfield dropped straight at Sturridge’s feet, Spurs did not clear and Markovic took full advantage to plant a shot past Lloris, who should have done better given his class.

Tottenham were losing the battle in midfield as Liverpool’s pace of passing and movement had them chasing shadows – which may explain why Nabil Bentaleb gave the ball straight to Sturridge and had to be rescued by Eric Dier’s saving tackle.

Momentum was with the hosts but Kane’s equaliser soon put the brakes on that.

The 21-year-old’s first sniff of a chance had been dealt with by Martin Skrtel but he made no mistake with his second, turning Mamadou Sakho and leaving the France defender on the floor as he collected Erik Lamela’s pass and fired under Mignolet.

It was the first goal Liverpool had conceded in 416 minutes and the first from open play since New Year’s Day.

The game opened up even more, which benefited youngster Jordon Ibe who drove one shot into Lloris after a good run and then crossed for Sturridge to backheel against a post as Tottenham’s defence panicked.

Sturridge maintained his threat after the break and it was his weaving run which was halted by Danny Rose inside the penalty area, although it took a linesman’s flag to convince Dowd to award the spot-kick.

Gerrard slotted home to make it 10 for the season, becoming his side’s leading goalscorer, but any control they had had over the game had long gone.

Mignolet tipped over a rasping Lamela drive and did well to keep out a Christian Eriksen free-kick but Dembele was on hand to turn the ball home from close range.

Balotelli replaced Sturridge after 74 minutes and entered the pitch to words of encouragement from four sides of the ground.

It was more in hope than expectation, although there is still a groundswell of feeling among fans for the Italy international to succeed despite his underwhelming performances so far.

But he delivered when his side needed it most, nipping in behind his marker in the six-yard box to divert Lallana’s cross into the net.

Read more at ESPN

Premiership: Sunderland 0-1 Liverpool

Liverpool’s challenge for a top-four spot continued to gather pace as they claimed a third win in four league games by beating 10-man Sunderland.

Lazar Markovic poked in a shot to put the visitors in front.

A volley from the Serb also hit the crossbar, while Sunderland had Liam Bridcutt sent off for two bookings.

The home side’s Adam Johnson hit the crossbar but Liverpool held on, despite losing skipper Steven Gerrard at half-time after he felt his hamstring.

It was only a sixth clean sheet in 37 games for Liverpool and they had to endure a nervous finish following their failure to turn their dominance and numerical advantage into more goals.

But, despite Sunderland carrying a greater threat with 10 men than 11, the Black Cats struggled to create chances and have managed just one home win in 11 top-flight outings so far this season.

The Stadium of Light side were given a reprieve in the opening minutes when a piercing Philippe Coutinho pass found Markovic, who went down under a Wes Brown challenge.

The Reds were furious at referee Craig Pawson’s decision not to award a penalty, but were grateful when the official played advantage in the build-up to their intricate opener.

Fabio Borini appeared to have been fouled just outside the area, but Pawson allowed play to continue and Markovic slotted a shot past keeper Costel Pantilimon for his first league goal for the club.

Markovic almost added a spectacular second when he produced an acrobatic 20-yard volley which hit the crossbar and keeper Pantilimon before going wide.

Borini – who scored 10 goals on loan at Sunderland last season – latched on to a Emre Can pass only to send a shot from a tight angle into the side-netting.

Sunderland managed just one attempt on goal compared to Liverpool’s eight in the first half and their cause was not helped when they had midfielder Bridcutt sent off for second yellow after a foul on Can.

Nevertheless, the home side rallied and came closest to an equaliser when a swerving 30-yard Johnson shot came back off the Liverpool crossbar.

Read more at BBC Sport

League Cup: Bournemouth 1-3 Liverpool

Raheem Sterling nets brace to help Reds through over Bournemouth

Raheem Sterling’s first goals since mid-September helped Liverpool end a miserable seven days with a place in the Capital One Cup semi-finals at the expense of Bournemouth.

The England winger had endured a 22-game goal drought for club and country until he set Liverpool on their way to a 3-1 away win with a close-range header.

Lazar Markovic, fresh from his controversial red card as the Reds exited Europe, grabbed the second before a trademark Sterling run ended with his fifth of the season to put the smiles back on the faces of supporters after their Old Trafford defeat.

Dan Gosling, who memorably netted a cup winner to beat Liverpool in his Everton days, pulled a goal back and then rattled a post as the Championship leaders relinquished their 12-game unbeaten run.

The majority of the sold-out crowd arrived with expectations that their table-toppers could pile more misery on Brendan Rodgers and they almost took an early lead against a strong Liverpool line-up.

Left-back Adam Smith, one of six Bournemouth changes, saw an effort blocked by Martin Skrtel before Callum Wilson side-footed wide having done all the hard work to create an opening.

After those escapes Liverpool began to kick into gear, with Adam Lallana forcing his former Southampton team-mate Artur Boruc into a fine save from 20 yards.

Baily Cargill is yet to make a Championship start but Cherries boss Eddie Howe kept faith with the youngster, a regular during this competition, and he caught the eye with a fine block to deny Sterling after he had scampered through the hosts’ half.

The visitors were beginning to pin Bournemouth in their own half and that sustained pressure eventually told in the 20th minute when Jordan Henderson headed Markovic’s delivery across goal for Sterling to nod in.

It was no surprise when Liverpool doubled their lead seven minutes later. Philippe Coutinho’s low near-post shot was kept out by Boruc but the ball fell straight to Markovic, who calmly chalked up his first Liverpool goal.

Free-scoring Bournemouth carved out a huge chance to cut the deficit with the game’s next move – only for Yann Kermorgont to fire his effort over the crossbar.

Having struggled with Cardiff’s aerial presence in Saturday’s 5-3 victory, Bournemouth’s defence were facing a completely different threat with Rodgers’ nippy playmakers swarming around behind Sterling.

And Rodgers’ false nine showed his electric pace to create a chance for himself just before the break, only for the diving figure of Boruc to deny Sterling.

The England player would, however, only have to wait until the 51st minute to double his tally. Picking up a pass from Lallana he twisted and turned past Cherries captain Tommy Elphick and found the bottom corner.

Reds goalkeeper Brad Jones had enjoyed a quiet evening on his second successive start in place of the dropped Simon Mignolet until the 57th minute, when the goalkeeper failed to cover himself in glory as the Cherries pulled a goal back. Gosling cleverly stepping through two challenges before squeezing a shot past the Australian.

Sterling missed a gilt-edged chance to claim a hat-trick when he dragged a 67th-minute effort wide from Lallana’s back-heeled pass but that was a rare respite from a spell of Bournemouth domination.

Substitute Ryan Fraser watched his looping header fall wide, Gosling crashed an effort off Jones’ other post and then Ritchie drilled a low effort across goal.

Despite controlling possession Bournemouth could only muster a wayward effort from Simon Francis and a header from Cargill in the final 10 minutes but they bowed out with their heads held high.

Read more at ESPN

Premiership : Liverpool complete £20m signing of Lazar Markovic

Liverpool have completed the £20m signing of winger Lazar Markovic from Benfica on a “long-term deal”.

markovic

The 20-year-old helped Benfica win the Portuguese title last season after joining the club from Partizan Belgrade in the summer of 2013.

“I hope that I will fulfil the expectations of the supporters, coaches, players and all connected to the club,” he told Liverpool’s website.

The Serbia international becomes the club’s fourth signing this summer.

Markovic scored seven goals in 49 appearances during the 2013-14 campaign as Benfica sealed a domestic treble and reached the Europa League final.

The Serb, who made his international debut in February 2012, says he is looking forward to joining Brendan Rodgers’ squad and playing in the Premier League,

Read More on BBC Sport