Firmino and Liverpool punish sluggish Manchester City

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Roberto Firmino shoots at goal during the game against Manchester City.

Roberto Firmino scored his first Liverpool goal and made two more as Jurgen Klopp’s team stopped Manchester City recapturing the Premier League summit with a brilliant 4-1 away win on Saturday.

City were bidding to return to first place after being usurped by Leicester City earlier in the day, but they were left in third after a sloppy and unfocused display at the Etihad Stadium culminated in their third defeat of the campaign.

– EPL: Arsenal lose ground after 2-1 defeat to West Brom
– EPL: Troy Deeney own goal hands points to Manchester Utd
– FOLLOW: Live football scores from around the world
– SHARE, RATE, WIN with Sport360 and ValoraFutbol

Raheem Sterling, playing against Liverpool for the first time since his acrimonious close-season exit, had been the focus of the pre-match build-up, but it was Firmino, a €29 million ($44.1 million, 41.4 million euros) capture from Hoffenheim, who stole the headlines.

The Brazil international created an own goal by Eliaquim Mangala, teed up Philippe Coutinho and scored himself, all inside the first 32 minutes, and although Sergio Aguero marked his return from a seven-game lay-off with a hamstring injury by replying, Martin Skrtel slammed home Liverpool’s fourth late on.

Liverpool went ahead in the seventh minute after Coutinho dispossessed Sagna and found Firmino, whose low cross was inadvertently scuffed in at the near post by the back-pedalling Mangala.

City manager Manuel Pellegrini had changed both his centre-backs, Mangala and Martin Demichelis starting in place of Nicolas Otamendi and injured skipper Vincent Kompany, and it was from a mix-up between the two newcomers that Liverpool added a second goal in the 23rd minute.

As both players converged on a loose ball, Demichelis contrived to head it past Mangala and Firmino squared for Coutinho to steer a shot between the legs of Joe Hart.

Liverpool were playing with an aggressivity and purpose that has characterised their approach since Klopp’s arrival and they swelled their lead yet further after a sweeping counter-attack.

Coutinho initially saw a shot parried by Hart, but an audacious back-heel by Emre Can gave the Brazilian a second bite at the cherry and he rolled square for Firmino to tap home.

Firmino twice went close to compounding City’s misery, first seeing an effort blocked by Hart and then hooking inches wide from Coutinho’s flick.

Each misplaced pass from a player in sky blue drew a flurry of invective from the home fans, but shortly before half-time Aguero gave them hope.

The Argentine picked up the ball midway inside the Liverpool half, resisted the attentions of Adam Lallana and arced a right-foot shot around Simon Mignolet from 25 yards.

Pellegrini took reparative action at half-time, sending on Fabian Delph and Fernandinho for Yaya Toure and Jesus Navas in a bid to go toe-to-toe with Liverpool’s three-man midfield.

His side remained troublingly porous at the back, however, and Hart was required to save with his right leg on the hour after Can’s pass, dummied by Lallana, gave Firmino yet another sight of goal.

Hart also had to save from Dejan Lovren, before a calamitous back-pass from old boy James Milner almost let City back into the game, only for Mignolet to deny Aguero from Sterling’s lay-off.

After Hart had thwarted substitute Christian Benteke, Skrtel slammed home from a corner to rubber-stamp Liverpool’s first league win at the Etihad since October 2008 and condemn City to a second 4-1 reverse of the campaign after September’s drubbing at Tottenham Hotspur.

 

Most popular

Related Tags

EPL: Diego Costa downs Norwich to ease Chelsea crisis

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Diego Costa (4th L) celebrates after scoring his team's first goal against Norwich.

Diego Costa’s second half strike brought relief to Stamford Bridge as Chelsea halted a run of three straight Premier League defeats with a 1-0 victory over Norwich on Saturday.

It will take more to turn the reigning champions’ season around, but this win at least stopped the rot and eased the pressure on manager Jose Mourinho. 

EPL: Arsenal lose ground after 2-1 defeat to West Brom
EPL: Troy Deeney own goal hands points to Manchester Utd
– FOLLOW: Live football scores from around the world
– SHARE, RATE, WIN with Sport360 and ValoraFutbol

In the first half, the signs were the Blues are still some way short of finding the answers.  

Mourinho could have no complaints with the way his side approached the game, with Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic providing the midfield platform that allowed the home side to push Norwich backwards.  

Less satisfactory was Chelsea’s efforts inside the visitors’ penalty area, with Costa in particular guilty of spurning a succession of good chances that confirmed the Spain striker is still operating way below the standards he set last season.

Coming into this game, the Brazil-born forward had scored just twice in 10 Premier League starts. 

And while he had the opportunity to add to that tally before the break, his finishing lacked conviction, suggesting his confidence has been affected by Chelsea’s dismal run. 

Costa wasn’t the only culprit in the first half with Fabregas and Willian also failing to make the most of good chances.  

But more is expected from Costa and the way he shot high over the bar after being picked out by Pedro’s cut-back was a sign of things to come.

A more glaring miss came in the final moments of the first half when Chelsea broke quickly with Kenedy eventually finding Costa in time and space on the right hand side of the Norwich box, only for the forward to shoot too close to keeper John Ruddy.  

And prior to that, Costa failed to read Hazard’s intentions when the midfielder sent a low ball across the face of goal, waiting instead for a pull-back on the edge of the box.  

Mourinho’s reaction on the touchline spoke volumes and the manager again remonstrated with Costa following a carbon-copy move early in the second half.  

Costa produced the ideal response, however, in the 64th minute when he offered a glimpse of his undoubted quality and conjured the goal Mourinho will hope triggers a resurgence in his form.  

Chelsea’s pressure had been building after the break and Norwich cracked when they lost concentration as Fabregas took a quick free-kick on the halfway line.  

The midfielder’s chip allowed Costa to break free behind the backtracking defenders and this time the striker showed great composure to curl the ball beyond Ruddy and inside the near post.  

Mourinho’s side may have deserved their lead on the balance of play but Norwich could easily have found themselves ahead in the first half.  

Willian was fortunate referee Craig Pawson allowed the Brazilian’s clumsy challenge on Robbie Brady to go unpunished inside the area and it took an excellent block by John Terry to deny Sebastien Bassong’s close-range shot.

Most popular

Related Tags

Related Sections

EPL: Arsenal lose ground after 2-1 defeat to West Brom

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Alexis Sanchez breaks past Craig Garnder at The Hawthorns.

Arsenal missed the chance to go top of the Premier League as they suffered a 2-1 loss away to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

France international Olivier Giroud headed his ninth goal in 11 matches from a Mesut Ozil free-kick to give Arsene Wenger’s visitors hope of a sixth win in seven league matches.

– FOLLOW: Live football scores from around the world
– SHARE, RATE, WIN with Sport360 and ValoraFutbol

But two lax pieces of defending before half-time, and a late Santi Cazorla penalty miss, allowed West Brom to claim victory — their first over Arsenal at the Hawthorns since 2005.

James Morrison got free to turn in Chris Brunt’s free-kick with his shin, before Mikel Arteta diverted a cross into his own net via his arm and his thigh.

Arsenal did, though, have the better of the opening half-hour, with Alexis Sanchez’s floated free-kick well held by keeper Boaz Myhill, and were first to score.

Albion’s defence switched off as Ozil’s free-kick, swung in from the right, was glanced in by an unmarked Giroud.

Arsenal’s advantage lasted just five minutes, however, as they were undone by a set-piece at the other end.

Brunt lifted in a free-kick from just inside the visitors’ half, and Morrison sneaked in behind Hector Bellerin to volley the equaliser from seven yards.

It got worse for Arsenal five minutes before half-time, with the excellent James McClean doing the damage.

McClean, who had caused problems with an early low ball that whizzed across goal, burst past Bellerin on to Salomon Rondon’s pass, and drove in a delivery that was turned into his own net by Arteta, on as a substitute for the injured Coquelin.

Arteta, who had a thoroughly forgettable afternoon, was himself replaced by Mathieu Flamini just three minutes into a second half that the visitors dominated.

By then, Arsenal had almost drawn level, with Giroud seeing a penalty appeal rejected as he tangled with Jonas Olsson at a free-kick, then hitting the inside of the post with a terrific low shot on the turn.

Only a superbly-timed by West Brom’s Jonny Evans challenge prevented Ozil from connecting with a Sanchez through pass.

But still the visitors could not find an equaliser, with substitute Joel Campbell skewing back across goal when Cazorla’s diagonal chip found him free six yards out.

At the other end, Albion centre-back Jonas Olsson went close with a header that bounced down off the bar, but referee Mark Clattenburg ruled that Saido Berahino had been standing in an offside position.

Despite going close there, the home side were largely holding on through the closing stages, and looked set to be caught when Brunt was judged to have pushed over Sanchez with seven minutes left.

But Cazorla slipped as he took the resulting penalty, sending the ball looping over the crossbar.

Most popular

Related Tags