Luis Suarez

Liverpool 4-1 West Bromwich Albion: Suarez hat trick sinks Baggies (video)

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The Luis Suarez show took center stage at Anfield on Saturday, as the Uruguayan international scored a hat trick in Liverpool’s 4-1 win against West Brom.

Suarez’ treble, which was his fourth for Liverpool and first at Anfield, was a masterclass of clinical finishing as he headed home twice and scored a brilliant individual effort for the first goal. Daniel Strurridge added a sublime chip for the final goal, after West Brom briefly threatened a comeback following James Morrison’s goal from the penalty spot.

The resounding win sees Liverpool back to second in the Premier League on 20 points, just two points behind Arsenal, while West Brom drop to 13th.

Suarez gave Liverpool an early lead after 10 minutes, with a superb solo strike as he took the ball past one defender, nutmegged another and drilled the ball home. Majestic strike from the deadly Uruguayan.

Then in the 16th minute, Suarez headed home a great cross from Aly Cissokho with a bullet finish that really was a fantastic goal. How Suarez got that much power in his header was astonishing, as he rose highest from just outside the box and arrowed his effort into the top corner.

Liverpool continued to pile on the pressure for the rest of the first half, as the Anfield crowd sensed a hiding was in the cards.

Martin Skrtel was guilty of a horror miss, as Steven Gerrard cut the ball back to him six-yards out, but the Slovakian international got it all wrong and hit a complete air shot with the goal beckoning.

West Brom rarely threatened, despite Steve Clarke starting with three strikers in Stephane Sessegnon, Nicolas Anelka and Victor Anichebe. Jordan Henderson almost added a third in the 39th minute, as Gerrard laid the ball back and Henderson curled his effort just over the far post.

source: Reuters
Suarez was in fine form against the Baggies, as he scored his fourth hat trick for Liverpool.

Liverpool went in 2-0 ahead at the break, after a scintillating first half display.

Following the interval, Liverpool’s onslaught continued as Daniel Sturridge curled a powerful free kick just wide of the far post. However the Baggies did put some pressure on the Liverpool goal at the start of the second half, as three corners and a flurry of activity in the Reds’ penalty box gave the traveling fans hope of a comeback.

But Suarez soon dashed that, as the Liverpool forward completed his hat trick in the 54th minute. Unmarked at the near post, Suarez flicked home a header from Gerrard’s inviting cross to seal his first treble in front of the Anfield crowd.

Sturridge almost added a fourth soon after as his shot hammered off the cross bar and away to safety in the 58th minute. Liverpool were on a roll.

Then in the 64th minute, West Brom got back into the game as Lucas Leiva was adjudged to have fouled Billy Jones by referee Jon Moss and his assistant referee, Jame Morrison rifled home the penalty kick to make it 3-1.

That goal buoyed the Baggies as they poured forward in search of a second goal with the final 20 minutes fast approaching. It was certainly an impressive response in the second half, but Suarez had done all the damage early on.

Sturridge then put the cap on the display with a wonder goal. The England striker ran forward and chipped the ball over Boaz Myhill to make it 4-1.

Suarez almost scored his fourth, as the Uruguayan international swiveled and struck a bicycle kick against the crossbar. But three was enough, as Suarez walked away with the match ball after tearing the Baggies apart.

LINEUPS

Liverpool: Mignolet, Johnson (Kelly, 62), Cissokho, Toure, Sakho, Skrtel, Lucas, Gerrard (Allen, 86), Henderson, Sturridge (Luis Alberto, 89), Suarez

West Bromwich Albion: Myhill; Jones, McAuley, Olsson (c), Ridgewell; Yacob (Brunt, 69), Mulumbu; Amalfitano (Morrison, 46), Anelka (Long, 68), Sessegnon; Anichebe

Real Madrid 1-0 (1-0, agg.) Manchester City: Lackluster Citizens bow out of UCL

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 04:  Gael Clichy of Manchester City and Gareth Bale of Real Madrid challenge for posession during the UEFA Champions League semi final, second leg match between Real Madrid and Manchester City FC at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on May 4, 2016 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images )
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  • Kompany lasts just nine minutes
  • Fernando scores own goal
  • Real headed to 14th UCL final

Ninety minutes came and went but Manchester City never showed up, losing to Real Madrid 1-0 and bowing out of the UEFA Champions League in the semifinals.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s UCL coverage ]

Fernando’s own goal in the first half was enough to send Real to a record 14th Champions League final, while City must now shift their focus back to the Premier League.

The Champions League final on May 28 will be a rematch of the 2014 final, a Madrid derby between Real and Atletico.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

The match got off to a brutal start for Manchester City as Vincent Kompany lasted just nine minutes before going down with a thigh injury. The Belgian center-back has been plagued by muscle injuries all season and Manuel Pellegrini was forced to make an early substitution, bringing in Eliaquim Mangala to replace his captain.

Real Madrid would find the tie’s first goal in the 20th minute, although it would come off the foot of City’s Fernando. Gareth Bale streaked in from the right wing and tried to play a cross into the box, but his attempt deflected off of a sliding Fernando and sailed into the top corner at the far post. Originally given to Bale, it was later ruled an own goal.

Real thought they had a second when Pepe put the ball in the back of the net off a scramble in the box, but the defender was correctly ruled offside as City remained just a goal behind.

It took nearly the entire first half, but City finally created a chance in the 44th minute. Fernandinho found himself upfield and took a pass from Kevin De Bruyne towards the box. The Brazilian cut onto his right foot and fired a shot on goal, but it hit the outside of the post and deflected wide.

[ RELATED: Has Pep Guardiola’s tenure at Bayern Munich been a failure? ]

After the break it was more Madrid pressure, with Joe Hart making a massive stop on Luka Modric just minutes into the second half to keep City alive. Gareth Bale also saw a header rattle off the crossbar as Real continued to control the match.

Just one goal would put City through to the final, but Pellegrini’s side never threatened Keylor Navas, registering just one shot on target. In City’s biggest match in recent history, they were simply not good enough as they must now focus on a top-four finish in England.

Vincent Kompany forced off just nine minutes into Man City’s UCL semi

MADRID, ENGLAND - MAY 04: Pepe of Real Madrid checks on the injured Vincent Kompany of Manchester City  during the UEFA Champions League semi final, second leg match between Real Madrid and Manchester City FC at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on May 4, 2016 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
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Vincent Kompany managed just nine minutes in Manchester City’s Champions League semifinal against Real Madrid before going down with a thigh injury.

The City captain pulled up around midfield and immediately went down, replaced by Eliaquim Mangala.

[ FOLLOW LIVE: Real Madrid vs. Man City ]

Earlier this season in the Champions League, Kompany lasted just six minutes before leaving the pitch with a calf injury against Dynamo Kiev.

At 30-years-old, injuries have been Kompany’s biggest enemy this season, with the Belgian center-back managing just 13 starts in the Premier League.

Anfield nights: Liverpool prepares for second leg vs Villarreal

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 04:  Dejan Lovren (L) and Jurgen Klopp, manager of Liverpool arrive for a press conference ahead of the UEFA Europa League Semi-Final Second Leg match against Villarreal at Melwood Training Ground on May 4, 2016 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clint Hughes/Getty Images)
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Denis Suarez found Adrian Lopez on a streaking counter attack in the last gasps of stoppage time, breaking 90 minutes worth of stern resilience from Liverpool.

What a difference a minute can make.

Villarreal enters the second leg of its UEFA Europa League semifinal against Liverpool with a 1-0 lead and the knowledge that a draw or one-goal scoring loss will put it into the final.

[ PL PLAYBACK: What does Leicester’s title say for the future? ]

For their part, the Reds will be amped up by the Anfield faithful on Thursday, and Jurgen Klopp will hope to make amends for a Starting XI and substitution set that left Liverpool fans asking, “Why no Sturridge, boss?

Liverpool won’t be too worried, though, given its Europa record when in need of a comeback. The Reds came back to topple Borussia Dortmund in the quarterfinals, one of the most enthralling matches in recent memory.

Suffice it to say that Reds don’t want to go down 2-0 again, and expect a bit more of a chess match this go-round. Here’s Dejan Lovren, from LiverpoolFC.com:

“[It will be] maybe even more than 90 minutes, so like I said – we need to be clever enough. We don’t just have 20 minutes to play the game, we have 90 minutes so everything is possible. The fans know and are expecting a massive game, but we will take it smarter than the last time [against Dortmund]. It would be a great season for us if we go to the final and win it.”

Klopp opted to rest several regulars in Sunday’s loss to Swansea, with names like Smith, Stewart, Ojo, Chirivella and Ward on the pitch. Those will likely give way to more established names Mignolet, Lucas and Lallana come Friday.

Villarreal is coming off a 2-0 win over Valencia, and holding onto a shutout streak of more than three matches (including Thursday’s win over Liverpool). They’ll have to do very well to hold Liverpool scoreless, but perhaps a road goal will be all “The Yellow Submarine” needs to advance to the final in Basel.

UCL FOLLOW LIVE: Man City looks to upend Real Madrid in Spain

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 26:  Sergio Aguero of Manchester City and Pepe of Real Madrid CF battle for the ball during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final first leg match between Manchester City FC and Real Madrid at the Etihad Stadium on April 26, 2016 in Manchester, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
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Real Madrid needs a win at home against Manchester City to give the UEFA Champions League its second Madrid Derby final in three years.

Kickoff is at 2:45 p.m. ET from the Bernabeu and, unlike the first leg, Cristiano Ronaldo will be in the lineup for Real Madrid.

[ UCL: Pellegrini hails road record | Ronaldo in ]

Man City has Yaya Toure back in the fold, and Vincent Kompany will captain the unit.

To follow live, click here.

LINEUPS

Real Madrid: Navas; Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos, Modric, Bale, Jese, Isco, Ronaldo. Subs: Casilla, Varane, James, Kovacic, Lucas Vazquez, Danilo, Borja Mayoral.

 Manchester City: Hart, Sagna, Kompany (C), Otamendi, Clichy, Fernando, Fernandinho, Toure, Navas, De Bruyne, Aguero. Subs: Caballero, Mangala, Kolarov, Delph, Sterling, Bony, Iheanacho.