Home » EPL, Featured, Latest » Match Report: Liverpool 3 Cardiff 1

Maybe Luis Suárez deserves another pay rise. An outlay of £40 million over four years for a player of this rare calibre suddenly looks like the steal of the century.

The financial numbers may be extraordinary; but then so is Suárez’s form at the moment. And his own stats. Everything about him is stratospheric.

The Uruguayan signed a new contract on Friday and scored twice yesterday and has 14 goals in his last six Anfield appearances; 42 goals in his last 45 Premier League matches and 19 in the league this season.

From just 12 games. He has moved to a higher plane.

It would have been 20 – the first player to achieve that feat before Christmas in the Premier League – had he not selflessly teed up Raheem Sterling for the second of Liverpool’s three goals in a first-half when they also struck the woodwork twice. So much for being on a goals bonus in that new deal!

Suárez has rightly struck gold at Anfield with his latest contract but then he has the Midas touch. The alchemist of the Premier League; he is also the architect of Liverpool’s unlikely title push.

The superlatives have been exhausted. “The one from today is unselfish,” Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers purred. “It was for the second goal.

“He also shows the great humility of the man as well when (vice-captain and substitute) Daniel Agger came on the field and he got the armband to him straight away.”

This victory took Liverpool back to that summit and also, probably, marked Malky Mackay’s last match in charge of Cardiff City.

He never stood a chance with an owner such as Vincent Tan, who sat in the Anfield directors box like a Bond villain, and his team did not stand a chance.

Having appeared composed and obdurate at the start of this encounter, with Craig Noone also stinging Simon Mignolet’s palms with a powerful shot from a dangerous breakaway, things fell apart in the second half of the first period.

Cardiff did not play badly, but that did not matter. They were not disorganised, but that was immaterial. Not with Suárez in this kind of swagger.

At the end of that first half Tan probably felt vindicated, somehow, but Mackay showed his mettle with his half-time team-talk, his substitutions and the way his players responded admirably, defiantly.

“One of the best players in the world came into his own and had a 25-minute spell when he was blinding,” Mackay said afterwards of Suárez as he also confirmed that he shared the collective fear that he and his team were heading for a hiding unless they rallied.

But as overwhelmed as they were, Cardiff then rattled Liverpool after the break and incredibly could have run this contest closer.

They fought. Just like their proud, resilient manager whose face was etched with emotion at the end as he walked towards the vocal visiting support, who had let their anger towards Tan be known throughout, and also acknowledged the applause from the Kop.

“To get a round of applause from Liverpool fans doesn’t surprise me,” Mackay, who spoke at length to his friend Rodgers afterwards, said. “They are a class act and know their football.” Unlike the Cardiff owner.

But everything about Cardiff is impossible to predict at present beyond the bizarre behaviour of Tan who flew in from Malaysia to attend this match having already held talks over when he was going to sack Mackay – who has rightly ignored the ridiculous, bullying call for him to resign after two-and-a-half hugely successful years in charge.

Understandably the unsavoury story threatened to overshadow Liverpool’s return to the top which again confirmed they have the desire and – in the absence of the injured Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge – maybe the depth also to sustain a challenge this season.

“Over this calendar year you will see from January that this is a team that has been on the up,” Rodgers rightly said.

As outstanding as Suárez was he was again aided and abetted by Jordan Henderson. He and Joe Allen – both players transformed – played sublime parts in the striker’s goals.

Liverpool are brimming with confidence, pace, purpose and aggressive attacking football and it is a joy to watch.

Both of Suárez’s goals were breathtaking. For the first he started the move, shimmying to gain space and slip a pass to Allen who swept it wide to Henderson.

The midfielder chipped a first-time ball across the penalty area and there was Suárez, continuing his run undetected, to volley low and right-footed and into the net.

Suárez’s second came on half-time and again Allen and Henderson combined with the latter back-heeling into Suárez’s path.

The striker’s first-time shot curled around the Cardiff defenders from the area’s edge, cleverly using them as a disguise, to beat goalkeeper David Marshall.

That could have been Suárez’s hat-trick goal but he had already rolled the ball to Sterling – who scored Liverpool’s second, tapping it past Marshall.

Suárez had run clear on goal from Henderson’s threaded pass but decided to pass rather than shoot.

Philippe Coutinho struck the post, after tricking his way past Gary Medel, and Jon Flanagan also skimmed a post with an angled shot from Glen Johnson’s cross that Marshall then improvised by kicking off the goal-line as Cardiff were overwhelmed.

But they produced that fighting response in the second-half and reduced the arrears when Jordon Mutch was somehow left unmarked to reach Peter Whittingham’s free-kick to steer his header back across goal and into the net.

Marshall also denied Sterling, twice, and Suárez who also had another shot deflected narrowly wide as Cardiff defenders threw themselves in the way.

The ball, at times, ping-ponged around the Liverpool area from a series of Cardiff set-pieces which they did not deal with convincingly even if Mamadou Sakho, at the heart of the defence, produced another powerful performance.

Liverpool deserved the victory and Suárez the headlines; Mackay certainly does not deserve the sack although he will undoubtedly and rightly leave with his head held high for this performance and his time at Cardiff.

Match Details

Liverpool (4-1-4-1) Mignolet 7; Johnson 5, Skrtel 6, Sakho 7, Flanagan 6 (Kelly 55, 6); Lucas 6; Sterling 7, Allen 6, Henderson 8, Coutinho 6 (Agger 83); Suarez 9. Subs Jones (gk), Toure, Agger, Alberto, Aspas, Moses.

Cardiff City (4-4-1-1) Marshall 7; Taylor 5, Turner 6, Caulker 5, Theophile 5; Whittingham 6, Medel 5 (Campbell 55, 6), Gunnarsson 6 (Cornelius 80), Noone 7; Mutch 7; Odemwingie 6 (Kim 55, 6). Subs Lewis (gk), Hudson, Cowie, John.

Referee Lee Probert

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