Liverpool’s front three looked lethal after months on Wednesday night when they clinched a 4-0 victory against Red Star Belgrade in a Champions League encounter. They were up against new boys Cardiff City this afternoon and expected to replicate a similar show in consecutive Anfield fixtures. But a slow start turned into one of the most exciting finishes and the Reds clinched a 4-1 victory to maintain their emphatic Premier League run.
Liverpool, as expected, started the game with full dominance. The visitors understandably switched to an ultra-defensive strategy but conceded within 10 minutes when Mohamed Salah scored his fourth goal in a week. Virgil van Dijk’s looping header hit the woodwork whereas Adam Lallana’s thumping header was cleared off the line by the Bluebirds centre-back Sean Morrison in closing seconds of the first half. These were the only notable moments before the half-time whistle.
Liverpool kept hold of possession after the break but lacked penetration upfront. This, however, changed completely when Xherdan Shaqiri replaced unimpressive Adam Lallana and the Reds doubled the lead minutes later through Sadio Mane’s thunderous strike. Cardiff, meanwhile, pulled back one against the run of play when Junior Hoilett’s low cross was deflected off Virgil van Dijk and fell favourably into the path of Callum Paterson who made no mistake to finish it from the close range. It was the first league goal Liverpool conceded at Anfield since February.
The rejuvenated visitors were pushing for an equalizer, however, it was Shaqiri whose neat finish restored the two-goal lead and Mane struck again in closing minutes to ensure all three points once again.
Liverpool, for now, are leading the race with 26 points after 10 gameweeks but must prepare for a tricky away tie against high-flying Arsenal next week.
Liverpool vs Cardiff City Lineups:
Liverpool: Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Dejan Lovren, Virgil van Dijk, Alberto Moreno, Fabinho, Georginio Wijnaldum, Adam Lallana (Xherdan Shaqiri 61′), Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino (James Milner 71′).
Cardiff City: Neil Etheridge, Bruno Manga, Sean Morrison, Sol Bamba, Joseph Bennett, Junior Hoilett, Victor Camarasa, Aron Gunnarson (Loic Damour 73′), Josh Murphy (Kadeem Harris 74′), Bobby Reid (Kenneth Zohore 83′), Callum Paterson.
Liverpool vs Cardiff City Highlights:
Liverpool vs Cardiff City Match Stats:
|Shots (on Target)||19(7)||2(1)|