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

Three takeaways from the Red Bulls CCL draw against the Whitecaps

New York Red Bulls forward Bradley Wright-Phillips, left, trips over Vancouver Whitecaps defender Kendall Waston inside the Whitecaps box during the first half of a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal soccer match, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, in Harrison, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
AP Photo/Julio Cortez
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With 90 more minutes to play up in Vancouver, this tie is far from over. However, Wednesday night’s clash at Red Bull Arena surely presented intriguing storylines ahead of leg two.

The Vancouver Whitecaps picked up a critical away goal in their 1-1 draw against the New York Red Bulls in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal meeting.

While their CCL clash was the first competitive action for either side since 2016, both clubs showed glimpses of brilliance in the first of their two encounters in the competition.

Here’s a look back at three important takeaways from the Red Bulls’ draw against the Whitecaps.

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Red Bulls still working out kinks up front

Bradley Wright-Phillips has been one of Major League Soccer’s most prolific goalscorers since joining the Red Bulls, but even the star striker struggled to find the ball in dangerous positions on Wednesday. The Red Bulls striker netted the game’s equalizer after 62 minutes, but chances were far and few between on the night for Wright-Phillips.

Despite dominating the possession for long spells of the match (as is the case much of the time), the Red Bulls found difficulty breaking down the Whitecaps when it mattered most.

Jesse Marsch’s side managed just two shots on target throughout the 90 minutes, while Sacha Kljestan’s penalty kick miss voided the host side from leveling up the first leg just after the halftime break.

The Red Bulls have wanted to toy with a two-striker set since early 2016, and Marsch finally got his wish with Argentine DP Gonzalo Veron match fit for the start of the campaign. Veron looked solid at times with his quality first touches and quick pace, but it was the final ball that was often lacking.

Sacha Kljestan and Daniel Royer interlinked well with one another behind the two strikers, and with Mike Grella and Alex Muyl also tabbed as rotational players in the midfield, Marsch will have a solid group to pick from to help his attack develop moving forward.

Manneh is coming into his own

He scored, facilitated and just looked all around dangerous against the Red Bulls. Kekuta Manneh has become one of the most intriguing MLS players over the past 12 months in large part because of his success in the league as well as the opportunity to represent the U.S. Men’s National Team.

While his goal wasn’t the prettiest six minutes before halftime, the Whitecaps attacker was in the right spot, just as he was for much of the night. His three shots on target led all players involved, but it was Manneh’s confidence under pressure that was most impressive.

The Whitecaps didn’t throw too many numbers forward on the night — with the second leg being north of the border — but Manneh and the Whitecaps attack thrived on the counterattack on several occasions.

With a number of players unavailable for Carl Robinson’s side, including Yordy Reyna, Christian Bolanos and Fredy Montero, the visitors played a strong opening leg, particularly after playing the final 20 minutes down a man when Cristian Techera was dismissed for a high tackle on Red Bulls defender Sal Zizzo.

Youngsters show out for both sides

Experience is still the name of the game for both the Red Bulls and Whitecaps, but Wednesday night also provided a glimpse into the future with several stellar performances from the youngsters on the pitch.

Sean Davis was tasked with filling the hole in the central midfield after Dax McCarty was treaded away from the Red Bulls this offseason, and although the youngster has had experience in the past, he certainly didn’t disappoint for Marsch’s group. The 24-year-old looked confident in his distribution and defended well when called upon alongside Felipe.

Meanwhile, Whitecaps attacker Alphonso Davies continues to turn heads for a player that is only 16 years old. Davies only appeared in eight MLS matches last season for the Western Conference side, but looked like a seasoned veteran against the Red Bulls at times with his blazing strides and pinpoint passes.

The young attacker surely has room to grow, particularly in front of net, but hey, he’s 16.

New York Red Bulls 1-1 Vancouver Whitecaps: BWP saves a draw

New York Red Bulls' Aaron Long, top, climbs over Vancouver Whitecaps forward Erik Hurtado while competing for the ball during the first half of a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal soccer match, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, in Harrison, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
AP Photo/Julio Cortez
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  • ‘Caps nap road goal
  • Techera sent off in 71′
  • Return leg March 2

Kekuta Manneh and Bradley Wright-Phillips traded goals as the Vancouver Whitecaps and New York Red Bulls drew 1-1 in their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal first leg on Wednesday at Red Bull Arena.

Cristian Techera sent the ‘Caps down to 10 men in the 71st minute when he connected with a kick between Sal Zizzo’s legs.

A deft touch by Wright-Phillips set up Sacha Kljestan for a fifth minute chance, but two sliding Whitecaps helped pressure the captain’s shot wide of the near post.

Vancouver had a chance two minutes later when Alphonso Davies played Russell Teibert down the right wing, and the Whitecaps wide man curled a shot wide of the far post.

[ MORE: Amazing beach soccer bicycle kick goal ]

The Whitecaps beat Luis Robles before halftime. Kendall Waston flicked a ball toward the net, and Kekuta used his head to turn the ball off Justin Bilyeu and behind Robles. 1-0, 39′.

A foul outside the 18 nearly saw Kljestan level it up with a 45th minute free kick.

Kljestan should’ve tied it up with a PK just after the break. He didn’t, barely chipping his Panenka attempt above shin level. Woof.

Wright-Phillips made it 1-1 in the 62nd minute, when Zizzo’s cross dropped at his feet. A quick reaction had the ball in the back of the net.

Sacha Kljestan stars in “When Panenkas Fail” (video)

HARRISON, NJ - MARCH 22:  Sacha Kljestan #16 of New York Red Bulls heads the ball in front of Steve Birnbaum #15 of D.C. United during their match at Red Bull Arena on March 22, 2015 in Harrison, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
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When Panenkas don’t go well, players look foolish.

Sacha Kljestan looks foolish.

The New York Red Bulls captain strode to the penalty spot to level the score in Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal first leg against the visiting Vancouver Whitecaps.

[ MORE: Leicester grabs away goal ]

Only he didn’t. Kljestan chipped his attempt barely a foot off the ground, allowing David Ousted to kick the chance away. Bradley Wright-Phillips blazed the rebound over the frame, and it remained 1-0 for the ‘Caps.

WATCH: Liverpool loanee nets hat trick for U.S. U-20 side

STEVENAGE, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 19:  Brooks Lennon of Liverpool celebrates his goal during the Premier League 2 match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at The Lamex Stadium on September 19, 2016 in Stevenage, England.  (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images
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If Brooks Lennon brings this sort of scoring prowess to Real Salt Lake, he may just walk away Rookie of the Year.

On loan from Liverpool, Lennon is first on duty with the United States U-20 men’s national team in Costa Rica.

The U.S. opened U-20 World Cup qualifying with a 1-0 loss to Panama, and was under the gun when it allowed an early goal to Haiti late Tuesday evening.

[ MORE: Rooney’s agent in China ]

But Lennon scored a trio of goals and sent in the corner that Luca de la Torre eventually finished as the Yanks won 4-1. The U.S. has St. Kitts and Nevis in the final group match on Friday.

The top two teams from each group of four advance to the next round, in which four teams will qualify for the U-20 World Cup. That tournament is set for May in South Korea.