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Liverpool v Hull City – 1st January 2014

Liverpool v Hull City – 1st January 2014

Liverpool v Hull city action

The Reds moved back into the top four following successive Christmas defeats with a comfortable victory over Hull.

Daniel Agger nodded in a Philippe Coutinho corner to set the hosts up for a seventh straight home win.

It was all Liverpool as Jordan Henderson and Coutinho went close before Luis Suarez doubled the advantage with an exquisite free-kick early in the second half.

Rodgers hails Liverpool’s ‘best win’

Hull created little, but did well to prevent the hosts from scoring a third.

The victory goes some way to repairing the damage caused by the losses to Manchester City and Chelsea over Christmas, and prevented Hull from completing the double over Brendan Rodgers’s men.

Not only was this payback for the 3-1 defeat Hull inflicted at the KC Stadium last month, but the three points also keep Liverpool in touch with league leaders Arsenal.

The Reds, top on Christmas Day but fifth at the start of play, leapfrog Everton into fourth after their Merseyside rivals drew at Stoke.

A further boost to Anfield boss Rodgers was Steven Gerrard’s second-half introduction after the captain’s four-match absence with a hamstring injury.

However, the sight of Glenn Johnson hobbling off early in the second half will be a worry to Rodgers who already has a lengthy injury list to contend with.

Suarez continues to impress

  • Luis Suarez is the first Liverpool player to score 20+ league goals in successive seasons since Robbie Fowler in 94-95 & 95-96
  • Suarez has scored 15 goals in just seven Premier League appearances at Anfield this season.

The manager has described the second half of the season as “massive” for the club as they seek a first top-four finish since 2008-09.

Not every opponent in 2014 will be dealt with as easily as Hull were, although it did take the hosts a while to break down Steve Bruce’s well-organised side.

When they eventually hit their stride midway through the first half, it was Suarez’s imagination and energy that was at the heart of it.

The Uruguayan thought he had scored his 20th goal of the season early on, only for his header from a Coutinho free-kick to be correctly disallowed for offside.

Undeterred, he went on to create an opening for Raheem Sterling but Allan McGregor advanced quickly off his line to get down and smother the teenager’s effort.

The opener came from an unlikely source as Agger scored his first league goal since April, his downward header evading not just the goalkeeper but two Hull defenders on the line.

The hosts should have extended their advantage before the break but the influential Henderson missed with the goal at his mercy, while Coutinho squandered an equally glorious chance.

Those misses were forgotten in the 50th minute, however, when Suarez stepped up to produce a moment of brilliance, curling an unstoppable free-kick into the top corner.

And there were more cheers from the home fans when Gerrard replaced Iago Aspas shortly afterwards.

The veteran midfielder enjoyed an easy reintroduction as Liverpool continued to dominate, Coutinho twice more going close in the latter stages, though Hull held their discipline to prevent further scoring.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers: “It was arguably our best win of the season, on the back of what was a tough schedule for us with a light squad.

“The energy, as you’d expect, was not what it has been but we showed great resilience. Luis Suarez’s quality is unquestionable. It’s probably unfair that our team doesn’t get the credit.

“Everyone talks about Luis, and we all know he’s a world class player, but even when he was out of the team we only lost one game. Today was a great team performance and what we’re building here is based around that.”

Hull boss Steve Bruce: “It’s a disappointing result. It was a difficult afternoon for us. It isn’t the easies of places to come and, towards the end, we had a lot of tired bodies out there.

“We stuck at it and conceded from two set pieces. Our season is never defined in places like this. It was very comfortable for Liverpool because we didn’t have the energy. They were better than us on the day.”

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