to cause a title upset
By Tony Barrett - Liverpool Echo
Jamie Carragher believes Hull City could
yet provide a sting in the tail in this year’s title race
after Phil Brown’s relegation threatened side pushed
Liverpool all the way on Saturday.
Although nowhere near their best, the Reds emerged from a
tense encounter with a vital 3-1 win which ensured they kept
up the pressure on Manchester United at the top of the
Carragher readily admits Liverpool did not hit the heights
of recent weeks but believes a lot of the credit for that
must go to Hull who face United at the KC Stadium on the
last day of the season.
“We have been on a great run of form recently and that was
probably the worst we’ve played in a long time to be
honest,” said Liverpool’s stand-in skipper.
“Credit to them though, they competed really well and caused
us quite a few problems and we were just delighted to get
the result in the end.
“Good luck to them, we just hope they do the same when they
play Man United at the end of the season.
“They weren’t really the kind of conditions you want to be
playing in when it’s warm because the pitch was really
sticky and the grass was long so we couldn’t really get our
“But obviously they did that because it gives them more
chance of making a game of it and, like I said, good luck to
“If they keep going like that I’m sure they will do well and
hopefully we can take the title race to the last game
because it won’t be easy for United to go there just as it
wasn’t for us on Saturday.”
Carragher was delighted with the way his side stuck to their
task and believes the character of the team was vital yet
“That’s what we’re about to be honest,” he said.
“We’ve shown all season that we are prepared to fight and I
think that’s one of the main reasons why we’ve only lost two
games up to now.
“Obviously people will point to the fact that we’ve had a
few more draws than some of the other teams around us but to
only have two defeats at this stage of the season is
testament to the team and its character.”
Spirit can still
win us the crown
By Ian Doyle - Liverpool Daily Post
Dirk Kuyt celebrated his 100th Premier
League appearance with two goals – then hailed the character
that he believes could yet win Liverpool the championship.
Kuyt’s brace helped Rafael Benitez’s side secure an
unconvincing 3-1 win at struggling Hull City on Saturday and
keep up the pressure on leaders Manchester United.
Liverpool remain three points behind United having played a
game more than their bitter North West rivals.
With only four weeks left in the top-flight season, time is
running out for the Anfield outfit to overhaul the
But Kuyt said: “We don’t give up. On Tuesday, we played
really well but made too many mistakes and sometimes that
happens in football. But we had to move on to what was in
front of us.
“We didn’t play very well against Hull but the positive
thing was that we showed character and we kept going till we
got the three points. We will just keep fighting for the
Premier League – all we can do is keep winning our games.
“The important thing is what is in our hands now – the next
game, which is Newcastle – and winning all our games. We
have to just keep on winning our games and hopefully the
miracle will happen. I believe in miracles in football – I
have certainly seen stranger things happen in football.
“United need to slip up to make things interesting and as
soon as they have dropped some points the pressure will be
on them again. We will just have to wait and see and focus
Liverpool’s job on Saturday was made easier when Hull
striker Caleb Folan was red-carded shortly before the hour
by referee Martin Atkinson for kicking out at Martin Skrtel
as the pair tussled for possession.
the key to victory
By Steve Hunter - LFC Official Website
Emiliano Insua reflected on the 3-1 win at
Hull City and admitted the Reds had to dig deep to get the
Dirk Kuyt's double strike plus a superb effort from Xabi
Alonso ensured the Reds remained in the title hunt, but they
had to work hard to get the three points.
The Argentine starlet was making his 11th appearance of the
season at the KC Stadium and put in another accomplished
display at left back.
"It was a very difficult game and the pitch wasn't the best
but we got the three points which is the most important
thing at this stage of the season," Insua told
"The first half was very tough but fortunately Xabi scored
with a great strike and with it coming just before half-time
it was very important for us.
"We had to work hard in the second half and credit to Hull
who kept working hard despite them having a man sent-off.
"Fortunately Dirk scored two goals in the second half for us
and it was good to get the three points despite us not being
at our best."
The Reds have four games remaining and Manchester United
must slip-up in their final five games to give Rafael
Benitez's side a fighting chance.
"We know what we have to do and that is win our last four
games," said Insua.
"We know anything can happen in football and we have to hope
Manchester United will drop some points."
'satisfied' with key win
By Chris Burton - Sky Sports
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez was delighted
to have emerged from a tricky trip to Hull City with three
points on Saturday.
The Reds kept their Premier League title dreams alive with a
comfortable 3-1 win at the KC Stadium.
Goals from Xabi Alonso and a brace from Dirk Kuyt saw the
Merseysiders home, while Geovanni notched a consolation for
Benitez hailed Hull afterwards for the part they played in a
competitive contest, while the Spaniard was also pleased to
have prevailed on what proved to be a difficult surface.
"I think we were working very hard and I think we created a
lot of chances. I think we have to be satisfied," said
"I think we were a little bit rusty early on because the
pitch was terrible. It was dry, it was long and it was very
difficult to pass the ball.
"You can make mistakes when the other team is used to the
grass. But it is part of the situation and the second half
The Reds boss was also delighted to see two-goal hero Kuyt
reap the rewards of his recent hard work.
"Everybody is really pleased at the club because Kuyt is the
perfect professional. He always works so hard, so it was
very good for him to score today," he said
Benitez is also refusing to throw in the towel in the title
race, insisting his side are still in with a fighting chance
of overhauling champions Manchester United.
"In football, you never know," he said.
"We needed to win before today and we have. Now we have to
keep on winning.
"We are playing with more confidence. We were in control, we
scored two goals, but then we made a mistake, but I don't
remember too many more clear chances for them. But we can
Referee Martin Atkinson came under scrutiny for his
performance on Saturday, with a number of contentious
decisions infuriating the Hull support.
Much has been made of the awarding of a free-kick moments
before the interval, from which Alonso scored, but Benitez
believes the officials got the big decisions right.
"It was very clear if you see the replay. The referee was
right," he said on the incident preceding the opening goal.
as chase goes on
By JP Lonergan - Setanta Sports
Liverpool kept their Premier League title
chase on course with a 3-1 win over ten-man Hull City at The
KC Stadium on Saturday afternoon, deepening the Tigers’
relegation plight in the process.
This was a must-win game for Rafael Benitez’s side with the
Merseysiders running out of games and Manchester United
firmly ensconced in the driving seat to retain their league
crown. The Spaniard’s charges - again without talisman
Steven Gerrard - did the necessary however, with Xabi Alonso
and Dirk Kuyt (two) getting the goals, the second and third
of which were sandwiched by one from Hull’s Geovanni.
The win saw The Reds climb back to the top of the league
table for a couple of hours ahead of United's win over
Tottenham Hotspur. For relegation-haunted Hull, it is now
just two wins in 25 league efforts and Phil Brown’s men
never really looked like getting anything out of this game,
their cause not helped by a straight red card for striker
Caleb Folan, just before the hour mark.
The first scare of the game was one for the title-hunters,
but Fernando Torres was quick to run off a slight knock
after his heels were clipped by Hull skipper George Boateng.
The brilliant Spaniard nearly punished Boateng and his pals
for that, but Boaz Myhill turned his 12-yard effort over
after Yossi Benayoun’s initial effort had been blocked.
The Israeli attacker had the visitors’ second chance after
more weaving and winding from himself on the left, but he
sent his chipped shot off target.
The Tigers looked lacklustre in the first ten minutes but
hit back with a couple of goal attempts of their own soon
after to ensure it was not all one-way traffic. Dean Marney
collected the ball and let fly from 20 yards but the effort
was rotten and wide to the left before a more innovative
effort from Geovanni from the same distance flew just past
Jose Reina’s right post.
The Reds – having seen eight goals conceded in their last
two outings – began to look a little nervous at the back,
making a few poor clearances and conceding a couple of
unnecessary corners. Hull, however, were lacking the ideas
to punish them and were nearly caught on the hop when a
Liverpool break led to the ball coming to Lucas Leiva in the
right channel, but the Brazilian’s effort was soft, across
goal and ultimately well wide.
Liverpool’s edginess was further emphasised when Reina
hacked a pass back from Alvaro Arbeloa straight up in the
air, but their danger always outweighed their doubt and more
good work from Benayoun led to a shot from the previously
quiet Kuyt, the Dutchman’s well-hit 20-yard effort
deflecting behind off former Red Nick Barmby. Full back
Emiliano Insua then drilled the ball over from the corner
As half-time approached, Folan rose but failed to get a
decent connection to a cross from Sam Ricketts. Liverpool
hit back and as Javier Mascherano tried to take them
forward, Boateng was harshly penalised for a catching the
Argentine’s foot, handing Benitez’s men a free-kick 25 yards
from Myhill’s goal.
Alonso stepped up and powered the free-kick goalward, but
found only the Hull wall. However, the way The Tigers' luck
has been since the Christmas decorations came down, it was
only to be expected that the ball would bounce perfectly for
the classy Spaniard once more and he was spot on with an
unstoppable 25-yard half volley.
Barmby was booked for dissent after the awarding of the
free-kick, but his complaints did not help the Hull cause as
they made the familiar trip to the dressing room in arrears.
Torres had been pretty quiet in the first half, but the
ex-Atletico Madrid ace normally does not need much to hurt
opponents and Brown had cause to roar at his defenders when
the hit-man was left all alone 20 yards from goal early in
the second half. Luckily for those defenders, Liverpool’s
number nine pulled his shot high and wide.
Mascherano followed suit soon after with another long-ranger
as Hull started the half on the back foot. Torres then went
closer with a first-time effort from just outside the area
after Arbeloa’s battling created the opportunity. He was
just over this time.
Hull’s day got worse minutes later when Folan was shown a
straight red. The burly attacker had been a nuisance for The
Reds' defence all day, but could not get past Martin Skrtel
as The Tigers broke and lashed out with a stupid kick at the
Slovakian. Referee Martin Atkinson showed the Republic of
Ireland man a straight red card and as he left the field,
Hull’s chances of getting anything out of the game pretty
much accompanied him.
Four minutes after Hull’s player count went down one,
Liverpool’s goal tally went up one. Benayoun and Alonso
interchanged passes from a corner, before the Israeli sent
in a cross that was headed down and out by Michael Turner.
It fell to Skrtel at the edge of the area and although the
defender made a mess of his shot, it bounced up perfectly
for the onside Kuyt to head beyond Myhill and double the
With Hull seeming beaten, a Geovanni free-kick could only
find the Reds wall, but with 17 minutes to play, the
Brazilian had a much less difficult opportunity. Brown had
brought on Bernard Mendy and Daniel Cousin for Barmby and
Craig Fagan just after Folan had been sent off and the duo
combined to create a goal that reignited the hosts’ hope. A
superb long ball from Mendy on the right found Cousin, who
held it up and battled past Skrtel before crossing past
Reina and into the path of Geovanni, who tapped into an
The goal was something of a soft one for The Reds to concede
and their nervousness returned somewhat for the remainder of
the game, though Torres could – and maybe should – have
finished it when picked out by Kuyt after great battling by
the Dutchman on the right. Torres’ header boomed back off
the bar, however.
Brown threw on on-loan Manchester United man Manucho with a
few minutes to go and though his side won a couple of
corners, the man from Old Trafford could not help the Hull
cause. Indeed, it was Torres who had a more clear-cut effort
as he shot into the side-netting from the right of the area.
Then with just a minute on the clock, Liverpool sealed it.
Arbeloa made his way into the area on the right and took his
time before shooting. Myhill parried the defender’s effort,
but the ball fell to Kuyt who could do nothing but score and
the Dutchman’s second made sure that The Reds would be
taking all the points home.