Reds return to winning ways

24 September 2011 05:13
iverpool returned to winning ways but made hard work of it as the Reds beat Wolves 2-1 in the Premier League at Anfield on Saturday.[LNB] Everything appeared to be going to plan as a Roger Johnson own goal, diverting in Charlie Adam's shot, and another magical Luis Suarez strike appeared to have put the Reds in the comfort zone at half-time.[LNB]But substitute Steven Fletcher pulled one back within minutes of the second half starting to ratchet up the pressure on the hosts, who were guilty of missing a number of opportunities to make the victory easier than it turned out to be.[LNB]Having lost back-to-back matches at Stoke and Tottenham, where they were humiliated 4-0, it was understandable nerves would be shaky.[LNB]And with the Reds keen to avoid a third successive defeat, which would have been their worst run since 2003, the pressure to secure a victory - especially with the Merseyside derby and the visit of Manchester United around the corner - was all-important.[LNB]What was equally key to Kenny Dalglish's side's fortunes this season was captain Steven Gerrard making his first Barclays Premier League appearance since March having recovered from a groin operation.[LNB]Wolves had actually started the brighter, aided by their hosts' penchant for conceding free-kicks outside their own penalty area.[LNB]Their best chance fell to Jamie O'Hara when a ill-judged backpass from Martin Kelly, returning to the side in the absence of the injured Daniel Agger, saw the midfielder shoot weakly at Jose Reina.[LNB]A couple of Adam corners caused some difficulties for the Wolves defence but not as much as the midfielder's 11th-minute long-range shot.[LNB]Stewart Downing's lay-off saw the Scotland midfielder unleash a 25-yard shot which was diverted past Wayne Hennessey by Johnson's diving header.[LNB]Andy Carroll, still the subject of intense debate about his place in the side, should have silenced his critics with a free header from Downing's corner but planted the ball straight at the goalkeeper.[LNB]In his favour, however, the England international's performance offered plenty apart from a goal.[LNB]But it was Suarez who, once again, was providing the major threat up front with the Wolves centre-backs struggling to contain the Uruguay forward.[LNB]Johnson was left bewildered when Suarez brought down Reina's kick and turned the defender inside the penalty area only for his cross to be cut out.[LNB]Two further half-chances fell to the South American before he finally got he just desserts in the 38th minute with a goal which owed everything to his movement and Jose Enrique's vision.[LNB]The Liverpool left-back lifted a ball over the top of the defence and his team-mate timed his run perfectly to collect, turn Christophe Berra inside then out before firing a shot inside the near post.[LNB]Just before the break - during which the third biggest cheer of the afternoon greeted news of former Reds striker Fernando Torres' sending-off for Chelsea - Suarez poked another shot just wide of the far post.[LNB]But Liverpool's defensive record this season - they have kept only one clean sheet - meant the third goal would be crucial and it fell to Wolves.[LNB]Four minutes after coming on for the start of the second half boyhood Reds fan Fletcher smashed home a shot from Stephen Hunt's cut-back after Reina and Martin Skrtel had got in the way of each other trying to clear their lines.[LNB]But Wolves almost crumbled in the aftermath as Hennessey produced his most important save of the game to block Suarez's effort at close quarters from Carroll's knockdown.[LNB]Carroll headed against a post while Hennessey made yet another vital block to deny Downing, who should have scored after Liverpool broke quickly on the counter-attack.[LNB]Wolves recovered their composure and turned the tables with an extended spell of pressure which caused some consternation amid the massed Red ranks and almost saw Berra equalise with a far-post header.[LNB]The long-awaited appearance of Gerrard, who made a brief substitute appearance in the Carling Cup in midweek, finally arrived in the 81st minute when the England midfielder replaced Suarez, who had run himself into the ground.[LNB]When the ball dropped to the Reds captain 25 yards out he did not need a second invitation to unleash a dipping volley but there was no fairytale Anfield comeback as the ball bounced wide.[LNB]There were a few worrying moments before the end but Dalglish's side saw them out to get back on the winning track.

Source: Team_Talk