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Lads floored by Kuyt

Posted on 20 January 2010  - 12:00

An early goal and a stoppage time penalty from Dirk Kuyt clinched Premier League victory for Liverpool in the rearranged fixture at Anfield.

Lads floored by Kuyt

An early goal and a stoppage time penalty from Dirk Kuyt clinched Premier League victory for Liverpool in the rearranged fixture at Anfield.

The snow put a stop to this game being played ten days ago, but it was the home side who seemed most intent on making up for lost time on a cold Wednesday night on Merseyside, with a quick out of the blocks start that the team struggled to recover from.

There were three changes to the starting line-up from that which began against Hull at the weekend. Ledley King, Jermaine Jenas and Peter Crouch came into the side in place of Sebastien Bassong, Tom Huddlestone and Robbie Keane.

There was an early alert for the home side when an overlapping Gareth Bale fizzed in a teasing cross that Pepe Reina got to just before Peter Crouch and then Jermain Defoe. Just six minutes were on the clock however when Liverpool opened the scoring. A clever combination between Alberto Aquilani and Dirk Kuyt resulted in the Dutchman steering a low, powerful drive beyond the reach of Heurelho Gomes.

It was the first goal conceded by Gomes in five Premier League games and one FA Cup tie.

The game then became a little disjointed Liverpool did not press home their advantage, while a fluency was missing from our approach play. It was not a contest that was troubling goalkeepers - with the physios seeing more action, particularly when Bale and Philipp Degen had a clash of heads.

A Niko Kranjcar free-kick led to King testing Reina, but the assistant's flag was raised for some shirt tugging between Crouch and Sotirios Kyrgiakos. There was pressure from the home side as half-time neared, but shots on target were at a premium for both teams.

In stoppage time Bale was forced to clear a Kuyt header from just away from the line before Martin Skrtel blasted over the loose ball, before Luka Modric spurned a clear chance to send us in level after Wilson Palacios played him through on goal. Reina stayed big and managed to block the Croatian's effort.

Defoe had the ball in the net in the opening moments of the second half after Reina got into a muddle on the edge of the area and the little striker extracted the ball and slotted home, but the assistant's flag was up and the goal was disallowed.

Albert Riera hit the bar with a header at the other end and the contest was already far more gripping that at any point in the first half.

Reina palmed away a stinging Jenas drive and just after the hour mark Harry Redknapp made his first change, bringing on Alan Hutton in place of Vedran Corluka. Robbie Keane quickly followed in a swap with Kranjcar.

Kuyt volleyed over as Liverpool attempted to step up the pace, while Riera wasn't too far away with a shot from distance. Hutton connected in thumping fashion with a Bale cross but the swerve in his effort came a little too late. It would have been spectacular if on target.

The final change of the evening came with King making way for Bassong, who was later spun by the home substitute David Ngog - with Gomes coming to the rescue with a brilliant save. Kuyt was guilty of a miss that left the home crowd nervous, shooting over from in front of goal.

Gomes was again called on to deny Kyrgiakos from seven yards out as Liverpool attempted to seal a game they were, in truth, having the better of.

Ngog gave Bassong plenty of problems and the defender was deemed to have fouled the attacker inside the area in stoppage time. Referee Mr Webb pointed to the spot and Kuyt thumped home his penalty, only to be ordered to re-take for a Liverpool player stepping inside the area. He also made no mistake second time around and that was that.