Senin, 06 Desember 2010

[News] Reds Cruise to Villa Victory

Ryan Babel helped to ensure that Gerard Houllier's Anfield return ended in disappointment as Liverpool eased to a 3-0 victory over Aston Villa on Monday night.

The Dutch striker came in for the missing Fernando Torres and capped an impressive showing with the killer second goal as the Reds bounced back from last week's frustrating defeat at Spurs.

The No.19's clinical drive came straight after David Ngog's diving header had given the hosts a 14th minute lead and helped secure a win that has propelled Roy Hodgson's men up to eighth in the table, seven points adrift of Manchester City in fourth spot.

Maxi Rodriguez then put the seal on a solid all-round showing when he netted the third of the night by guiding home Ngog's cut back on 55 minutes.

The pre-match chatter had been firmly focused upon Houllier's first L4 experience as an opposition manager but as the team news filtered through, the spotlight shifted towards Babel, who was named in the side in place of Torres.

The Spaniard had withdrawn from duty after it emerged that his wife had gone into labour, providing the Dutchman with another chance to show what he could do in a much-craved striking role.

The former Ajax man looked up for the occasion too, but it wasn't just him who had the bit between his teeth. There was an energy to Liverpool's play right from the word 'go' and they could have been ahead inside two minutes when a Raul Meireles free-kick from the right caused chaos in the Villans' penalty area.

The visitors failed to clear their lines on at least two occasions and were left to heave a huge sigh of relief when Dirk Kuyt seared a volley off target from Ngog's knock down.

Villa responded and Martin Skrtel, who was making his 100th appearance for the Reds, had to be alert to deny Marc Albrighton after Stewart Downing's devilish cross into the six yard box.

Those who had braved the Baltic conditions would have craved an early goal to help fight off the cold sting and on 14 minutes the majority packed inside Anfield were on their feet in celebration of the opener.

Skrtel, who notched his first of the season at Spurs last weekend, once again showed his prowess in the opposition penalty area as he guided a Meireles corner back into the danger zone for Ngog to power a diving header into the top corner from inside the six yard box.

It was the perfect start for the hosts who had gone into the game without the key trio of Torres, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher - not that it seemed to faze their teammates though, as three minutes later it got even better.

Lucas Leiva picked up the ball just inside the Villa half and looked to take advantage of their indecision at the back by clipping a clever ball over the top for Babel to chase.

The striker showed good athleticism to spin full circle and turn into space before executing a superb low shot that flew back across Brad Friedel and into the far corner of the net.

Had Houllier envisioned a worst case scenario to his emotional return then this was fast becoming it.

As the half hour approached they had barely come close to testing stand-in skipper Pepe Reina in the Reds' goal and had Sotorios Kyrgiakos got over the top of another set piece, they could well have found themselves three behind.

Chances were few and far between but when they did materialise they came the way of the hosts.

Babel appeared to be high in confidence following his early goal and he could have had another just prior to half-time when his shot on the spin curled wide of the far post after a clever ball into his feet by Meireles.

Houllier would have called for his side to show more fight in the second period and they were first to show on 53 minutes.

Some good work down the left by Downing saw him surge into the area and cut the ball across for Gabriel Agbonlahor who was brilliantly denied by Reina at point-blank range.

It would prove to be a crucial save too as the home side sprung forward and killed the game on 55 minutes.

Ngog found space down the left and sped towards the Villa penalty area. The Frenchman then showed good awareness to pick out the run of Maxi who arrived on cue to coolly fire the ball into the right-hand top corner of Friedel's net.

With the points in the bag Liverpool began to enjoy themselves and Glen Johnson came close to scoring a sensational fourth on 70 minutes when he was denied by the visitors' stopper after a slaloming run had taken him beyond two defenders.

The England full-back must have sensed that it was an opportunity to add to his Reds' tally as he was in again two minutes later, but this time he blazed over at the near post.

Villa had now faded altogether as an attacking force and Kyrgiakos was the next player to be denied as he saw his header cleared off the line by Jonathan Hogg.

The Reds continued to push late on but couldn't add to their tally on a night that also saw Reina become the quickest man to a century of league shut-outs for the club.



achieve objective in sport: to progress or achieve a goal with very little effort,
especially in sport

make something certain: to make sure that something will happen or be available

complete something: to add the finishing touch to something such as an effort or a process
Bounce back

recover quickly: to recover quickly and completely after a bad experience

reliable and unlikely to fail or be lost

to move or push somebody or something forward
All round

in every respect or taking everything into consideration

in games such as soccer, to hit the ball into the net so as to score

to talk or converse rapidly and informally about unimportant things

the person or team that you or another player or team have to play against

the focus of public attention

removed from circulation, competition, or activity

to become known or apparent

the process of giving birth to a baby from when the contractions start to the baby's delivery, or the time taken for this process

to have a strong desire for something

a chance or opportunity to do something
Bit between
the teeth

to face up resolutely to a hard task, take control of a situation.

a state of complete disorder and confusion

to pull, push, lift, or throw something heavy by exerting great physical effort, especially in a concentrated or concerted burst

a release from anxiety or tension, or the feeling of release, lightness, and cheerfulness that accompanies this

extremely great or intense

having or showing courage, especially when facing danger, difficulty, or pain

a level or step on a scale, especially one measuring quality or achievement

exceptional ability or skill

to disconcert or disturb somebody

impressive in size or appearance

to form a mental picture of something, typically something that may occur or be possible in the future

scarcely or almost not

to become real or become fact

to move in a curve or spiral

most vital and of the greatest significance in determining an outcome

zigzag race: any race that involves following a zigzag course through obstacles

to lose strength, freshness, and vigor

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