Coutinho-o-o scores pivotal winner in title clash at Anfield

Premier League
Sunday 13 April 2014 - 1:37 pm
2Man City
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⚽️ Sterling6'
⚽️ Skrtel26'
⚽️ Coutinho78'
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Philippe Coutinho's 78th minute goal against Manchester City proved to be decisive as Liverpool signalled their intent in the Premier League title race.

Philippe Coutinho - Liverpool FC

Liverpool's lead at the top remains just 2 points after Chelsea also won later in the day, but the victory over Man City gave the reds a 7 point lead over the men from the Etihad - although the Mancunians do have two games in hand.

The days events started with another passionate welcome for the Liverpool coach to the ground.

A mosaic was unveiled on the Kop prior to kick off during a minute's silence; a tribute to the 96 supporters who died 25 years ago this week at Hillsborough.

The referee's second whistle produced a tumult of noise inside the ground - as the crowd gave their all in support of the team.  Whistling every pass from Man City, whilst cheering every interception by the reds.

Within 6 minutes an unchanged Liverpool side had broken the deadlock.

Suarez (who had already collected a yellow card) playing a neat ball in to Sterling who twisted twice to fool Kompany and Hart before dispatching the ball into the Kop goal.

Liverpool's pace and passing was pulling Man City apart.

Steven Gerrard was awarded a free header inside the box from a corner, but Joe Hart's reactions were quick to deny the Liverpool and England captain.

From the following corner, Gerrard sent it short and Skrtel glanced an exquisite header that this time Hart couldn't reach.  It was Skrtel's 7th of the campaign and doubled the reds lead inside half an hour.

Man City improved towards the end of the half even without Yaya Toure who had been removed after pulling up with a muscle strain.   The diminutive Raheem Sterling was called into action - heading a ball off the line as City cranked up the pressure.

The second half was a completely different affair - the players and the crowd were flat from the start.  The 15 minute break had done nothing but sow seeds of doubt into the players minds.

Gone was the attacking verve and impetus that has been so prevalent in the reds battles this season, and Man City pushed and pushed, until the goal of Mignolet finally caved.

The arrival of James Milner, bizarrely, had been a masterstroke by Pellegrini and it was his cross that found Silva to get City back in the game.

Within 5 minutes, Man City had another and had levelled the game.

David Silva cross getting a touch from Glen Johnson to wrong foot Simon Mignolet in the Liverpool goal.

Pressure was building from City and Silva should have added a third from a Aguero cross - he couldn't quite stretch far enough to fire the visitors ahead

Suarez and Sturridge were misfiring - Sturridge guilty of holding on to the ball a couple of times when releasing Suarez would have been a much better option.

Eventually Liverpool grabbed the winner in the 78th minute.

Vincent Kompany sliced a clearance and with his back to goal, Coutinho spun and shot a delicious effort into the corner of the Anfield Road goal.

3-2. Cue scenes of delirium followed by 12+5 minutes of nail-biting, heart-palpitating stress that has not been endured at Anfield in such a measurable quantity for some time.

Jordan Henderson picked up a red card in added time - for an over the top tackle which will see him miss 3 of the reds final 4 games - and was Liverpool's first red card in 80 matched.

The players looked shattered at the final whistle.  The fans did too.  Gerrard, clearly emotional, convened a quick meeting of his players union demanding similar effort in the reds next game at Norwich.

You know - the next biggest game of the season.

Liverpool have now won their 10th Premier League game on the run - matching a record set by Rafa Benitez's Liverpool and are undefeated in all 15 league fixtures this calendar year.


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