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Milestone man Suarez sends Liverpool second Pardew in trouble

SOUTHAMPTON, United Kingdom, March 1, (AFP): Liverpool moved into second place in the Premier League table as goals from Luis Suarez, Raheem Sterling and Steven Gerrard secured a 3-0 win at Southampton on Saturday. Suarez put Liverpool ahead after 16 minutes of his 100th Premier League appearance with his first goal since Jan 28. Southampton missed chances to level before Sterling, a 57th-minute substitute, scored with his first touch of the game and Gerrard then netted a penalty in injury time. Liverpool had already known that third place was theirs for the taking with League Cup finalists Manchester City not involved in Premier League action. The bonus was Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat at Stoke City earlier in the day, which meant that second place was also up for grabs. Southampton brought Dejan Lovren back in place of Maya Yoshida for his first game since the Croatian centre-back damaged ankle ligaments in a 2-2 draw at Sunderland in mid-January.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, meanwhile, began the match with Sterling on the bench and Joe Allen in the starting line-up. Allen’s inclusion appeared to be an attempt to help Liverpool keep the ball better than they had in last season’s 3-1 defeat in this fixture and it was his long pass down the right that created the game’s first chance. The Welshman’s ball sent Daniel Sturridge clear of the hosts’ defenders and he needed only to find Suarez, unmarked to his left, for Liverpool to take the lead. However, he under-hit his pass just enough to give Jose Fonte the chance to recover and slide the ball away for a corner. The Saints claimed a penalty in vain when their captain Adam Lallana went down under a challenge from Jon Flanagan, the Liverpool right-back, and in the 16th minute they fell behind to Suarez’s opportunistic goal. He began the move with a run infield from the left, but the chance seemed lost when Sturridge’s attempt at a return pass was intercepted.

Unfortunately for the home side, the ball rebounded back into the path of Suarez, who calmly slotted the ball past goalkeeper Artur Boruc. Southampton should have replied after 31 minutes with a slick move that would have impressed watching England manager Roy Hodgson. Rickie Lambert chested a cross from Jay Rodriguez down for Lallana, but although he sidestepped a defender to give himself only Simon Mignolet to beat, he could only roll the ball against the post. Morgan Schneiderlin then volleyed over the bar and Mignolet had to reach out to his right to parry a first-time shot by Rodriguez after Lambert had cleverly dummied Lallana’s low cross from the left. Southampton brought on crowd favourite Gaston Ramirez for Steven Davis at half-time to add an even greater element of unpredictability. It was Ramirez’s pass that put Rodriguez in possession on the left side of the penalty area with a chance to escape Flanagan and shoot, but Martin Skrtel blocked his attempt to curl the ball around Mignolet.

Liverpool were not making much impression as an attacking force as Southampton monopolised possession. Rodgers needed to do something to interrupt the home side’s flow and he decided to withdraw Philippe Coutinho in favour of Sterling, but even the Liverpool manager must have been amazed by the instant effect of his substitution. Gerrard started the move, playing Suarez through a gap on the right flank, and when the Uruguayan crossed low, Sterling shot home first-time. Gerrard coolly placed a penalty into the top-right corner in injury time to add further gloss to the scoreline after Fonte tripped Suarez.

Newcastle 4, Hull 1
In Kingston Upon Hull, Newcastle manager Alan Pardew faces a severe punishment after he headbutted Hull’s David Meyler during his side’s 4-1 win in their Premier League clash at Hull.
The 52-year-old appeared to take umbrage when Meyler pushed him to recover the ball as the hosts tried to get back into the game at 3-1 down during the second-half and the manager offered no protest when referee Kevin Friend sent him off. Pardew’s behaviour overshadowed a fine win for Newcastle — their second win in a row and first over their opponents since a League Cup success in 1997 — as a double by Moussa Sissoko, one from talismanic striker Loic Remy and a late one by Vurnon Anite saw them to a comfortable win. Hull remain in the relegation mix and have failed to win at home in four games. Newcastle also continued their extraordinary record of winning the last eight games where Remy has scored. Newcastle started the game brightly and Cheick Tiote teed up Yoann Gouffran, whose shot from the edge of the box just went wide of the top corner.

Magpies goalkeeper Tim Krul then came to his side’s rescue with an incredible double save from Alex Bruce, the first from a header and then as the ball went free he dived to bravely block Bruce’s follow-up effort. Almost immediately Newcastle went down the other end and broke the deadlock as Remy and Mathieu Debuchy linked up well down the right, with the latter finding Sissoko, who neatly took his chance. However, Hull it was who took the upper hand following Sissoko’s goal with Nikica Jelavic twice going close, first with a superb header and then a freekick which deflected off the wall and came back off the crossbar. The hosts went close again as Shane Long put in a brilliant cross which beat Krul and found Egyptian Ahmed Elmohamady, but he sent his header wide. Newcastle made them pay for that as Maynor Figueroa under hit a backpass to Alan McGregor and Remy pounced on it to stroke home his 13th league goal of the campaign.

The hosts reduced the deficit and got back into the match when three minutes into the second-half Curtis Davies benefited from a mistake by Krul to head into the net. However, the visitors restored the two goal advantage through Sissoko, who started the move from inside his own half, passed it to Remy, who found Gouffran and when McGregor saved his shot Sissoko was on hand to roll the ball into the net. Newcastle should have added another two to their tally as Luuk de Jong, a loan signing from Borussia Moenchengladbach in the January transfer window, should have done better than miss from close range, while McGregor saved brilliantly to deny Remy. Pardew’s red card followed soon afterwards but he was still able to celebrate the fourth goal from the director’s box when Anita popped up to beat McGregor from close range.

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