Cardiff 3-6 Liverpool: Stunning comeback for Reds, as Suarez bags another hat trick (video)

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Liverpool fought back twice against Cardiff City to beat the Bluebirds 6-3 at the Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday, with a hat trick from that man Luis Suarez stealing the headlines.

Cardiff twice took the lead in the first half through Jordon Mutch and Fraizer Campbell, but goals from Suarez and Martin Skrtel made it 2-2 at half time. Then a sluggish Liverpool side woke up after the break, with Suarez, and Skrtel both adding another goal and Daniel Sturridge scoring a fifth in the emphatic comeback win. Late on Mutch scored his second to make it 5-3, but then Suarez sealed his hat trick in stoppage time as Liverpool hit Cardiff for six.

The result was a little harsh on Cardiff, who had bossed the first 45 minutes and Liverpool were second best, but Brendan Rodgers’ men were at their clinical best when it mattered, as they’ve now scored 81 goals this season.

With the victory Liverpool sit in second spot, four points behind leaders Chelsea with a game in hand. Cardiff remain entrenched in the relegation zone, three points from safety.

(MORE: Latest Premier League standings)

Cardiff took a deserved lead early on as Mutch finished well with his left-foot after good work from Campbell to set him up. Cardiff pushed for a second and started very well against an out of sorts Liverpool side. However for all their earlier misgivings, Liverpool were level after 15 minutes as Suarez scored his 26th goal of the season with a delightful finish after Glen Johnson set him up.

Despite that equalizer, Cardiff continued to push on and they took the lead in the 25th minute when Mutch played in Campbell, and the Englishman cut inside and caught Daniel Agger out of position before firing a low shot into the net.

The game ebbed and flowed, but just before the break Liverpool equalized as Philippe Coutinho whipped in a great cross that Skrtel stabbed home, as Cardiff’s slack defending left the Slovakian defender unmarked. Before the break Liverpool pushed to go ahead, as the away side finally got going and Suarez was thwarted by David Marshall who saved brilliantly.

After the break Liverpool finally turned up, as the Reds went 3-2 ahead thanks to Skrtel’s header for his second of the game to give the title-contenders the lead for the first time. That goal knocked the stuffing out of Cardiff, as Liverpool pushed forward with wave after wave of attack that the Bluebirds just couldn’t deal with.

In the 66th minute it was 4-2 to Liverpool, as Johnson’s marauding run down the right saw his cross find Sturridge who then back heeled the ball towards the penalty spot, Suarez arrived to bag his second and Liverpool’s 80th goal of the campaign. Sturridge himself then got on the scoresheet, as Steve Caulker headed the ball straight to Suarez, who slotted in Sturridge to score his 22nd goal of the season and turn the comeback into a rout.

The rest of the match played out with Cardiff struggling to get the ball, and Liverpool looking dangerous every time they surged forward. However the Bluebirds did bag a consolation after a snazzy move which saw Mutch score his second of the match to make it 5-3, but the scoring wasn’t over as Suarez scored in stoppage time to bag his 28th goal of the season.

LINEUPS

Cardiff: Marshall; Fabio, Theophile-Catherine, Caulker, Cala, John (Daehli, 65′); Medel, Kim (Zaha, 65′), Mutch; Bellamy (Jones, 70′), Campbell

Goals: Mutch (9′, 85′), Campbell (25′)

Liverpool: Mignolet, Johnson, Flanagan (Cissokho, 73′), Agger, Skrtel, Gerrard, Allen, Henderson, Coutinho (Sterling, 68′), Suarez, Sturridge (Sakho, 92′)

Goals: Suarez (16′, 60′, 90′), Skrtel (41′, 54′), Sturridge (75′)

Premier League Preview: Everton vs. Cardiff City

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Cardiff City need a result at Goodison Park on Saturday – but the struggling Bluebirds will have to take points off an Everton side that have lost just once at home this season (Watch live at 11 a.m. ET online via Live Extra).

Everton’s only home loss this season came at the hands of, of all sides, Sunderland – which might give Cardiff some hope. The visitors will also be bolstered by last weekend’s 3-1 victory over Fulham, their first in five matches. But Cardiff aren’t safe yet, occupying the final spot in the Premier League relegation zone and in danger of being pushed down by Sunderland’s three games in hand.

The Toffees have had a bit of a tough time as of late. In addition to a 4-1 loss to Arsenal that knocked them out of the FA Cup last weekend, Everton lost to both Spurs and Chelsea by a 1-0 scoreline, before finally managing to beat West Ham by the same score two weeks ago – and even that win required a late goal from substitute Romelu Lukaku.

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Everton are currently one place back of the final Europa League spot, but they’re even on points with Manchester United and still have two games to make up. But to finish in the top six, they’ll need to be practically perfect from here on out, meaning Roberto Martínez will need his side to be fit and healthy, and he’ll need to be using his best players for every match.

There was some criticism after Martínez elected to use Joel to face Arsenal in the Cup last weekend, but don’t worry – it’ll be Tim Howard in goal this time around. No word yet, however, on whether Everton captain Phil Jagielka returns to defense after missing the last two matches with a hamstring injury.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is blessed with an almost fully-fit squad, with only defender Ben Turner in doubt, after he picked up an injury in the win over Fulham. However, it was his center back partner, Steve Caulker, that scored two against Fulham, and he’ll certainly get the nod this week. Upfront it’ll likely be Kenwyne Jones alone, although both Craig Bellamy and Wilfried Zaha are pushing to return to the starting lineup.

What they’re saying

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Cardiff’s fight to avoid the drop: “The pressure is not off after win against Fulham, but three points does help the team and players. A win is always good, but we know it’s going to be a two month test of character and team spirit. It was a great start in what was an important game against a team who are bottom. There were lots of positives, but nobody will relax now.”

Roberto Martínez on Everton’s push for Europe: ‘This is a very intense period and we were disappointed to leave the FA Cup. Can we get top four? Mathematically we can. It’s still achievable. Reaching Europe would be a massive step forward, it would bring the massive nights we want that helps us grow as a club.”

Prediction

Home win. Cardiff may have bagged multiple goals last weekend, but that was against Fulham. Everton will be itching to come back from their rather embarrassing defeat to Arsenal, and they’ll be hyper-aware of the need to collect three points to keep hold of a European position.

Premier League Roundup: Chelsea clear at the top, Manchester United click, Cardiff bag huge win

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On Saturday there were only five Premier League games due to FA Cup action… but that certainly didn’t mean there was a shortage of action.

Oh no.

Cardiff prevailed in a ding-dong relegation battle vs. Fulham, Manchester United’s offense finally clicked and hammered West Brom, Chelsea went seven points clear at the top with a huge win over Tottenham and plenty more action occurred in the other PL games.

Below you get a neatly wrapped package including recaps, analysis and video highlights as this roundup provides you with everything you missed from Saturday’s PL action in Week 29.

Here it goes, folks. Enjoy.

Cardiff City 3-1 Fulham

Massive. Massive. Massive win for Cardiff City against fellow struggles Fulham. The Bluebirds scored early through Steve Caulker but Lewis Holtby equalized for Fulham to make it 1-1 with 30 minutes to go. Cardiff responded superbly to conceding, as Caulker quickly bagged his and Cardiff’s second, then a scrappy goal that Fraizer Campbell claimed made it 3-1 late on. Cardiff are now only in the relegation zone on goal difference, while Fulham are five points adrift from safety at the bottom but Felix Magath thinks they can still stay up…

Chelsea 4-0 Tottenham Hotspur

For almost an hour Spurs were the better team at Stamford Bridge… then the game turned on its head in three crazy second half minutes. First Samuel Eto’o put the Blues 1-0 up following Jan Vertonghen’s slip up, then Eto’o (who was only starting due to Torres being injured in the warm-up) won a penalty and Kaboul was sent off for taking him down. Eden Hazard scored the PK and two late goals from Demba Ba gave Chelsea the 4-0 win, which was slightly harsh on Spurs. The Blues are now seven points clear at the top of the standings and unbeaten in 14 games.

Crystal Palace 0-1 Southampton

Saints stopped the rot after losing three games in a row across all competitions. Jay Rodriguez’s bizarre first half strike, which saw him score while sitting down after winning a tackle with Palace’s ‘keeper, was enough to snatch all three points as Saints out-battled Palace. The Eagles remain in the thick of the relegation battle after this result, while Saints are steady in ninth and looking to break into the top six.

Norwich City 1-1 Stoke City

The Canaries let this one slip as a strike from Bradley Johnson was cancelled out by a penalty kick by Johnathan Walters in the second half. Norwich are now just four points above the drop zone with the teams below them having games in hand. As for Stoke, they aren’t out of trouble yet, but a late red card for goalscorer Walter tested their resolved and the Potters held on for a decent point.

West Bromwich Albion 0-3 Manchester United

After the game David Moyes declared himself delighted with United’s marauding offensive performance away at the Hawthorns. Phil Jones headed United into an early lead and the Red Devils withstood strong pressure from the home team before Wayne Rooney made it 2-0 in the second half. Late on Rooney set up substitute Danny Welbeck to make it 3-0 as United returned to winning ways with a bang. They are now in sixth place, just nine points away from Manchester City in fourth but they have two games in hand of United. Regardless, United’s front four of Mata, Rooney, RVP and Januzaj are starting to click and Marouane Fellaini looked superb in midfield.

Steven Caulker the hero as former Swansea star wins South Wales derby for Cardiff

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Following the first-ever meeting between Cardiff City and Swansea City in the Premier League, Cardiff captain Steven Caulker proved to be the match-winner for the Bluebirds.

Caulker, who once played for Swansea on loan from Tottenham Hotspur in 2011-12, scored a header in the 62ndminute to separate the two sides as the English central defender beat Chico Flores to the ball and sent the Cardiff City Stadium wild.

“It was really intense, especially the last 10 minutes or so,” Caulker said. “We were clinging on. But I thought the boys stuck together really well, that’s two clean sheets in a row now and a great win.”

Cardiff City manager Malkay Mackay started with local hero Craig Bellamy, and the veteran Welsh winger put in a tremendous all-action display on the left-wing to give the Bluebirds a cutting edge going forward.

(MORE: Cardiff City 1-0 Swansea: Caulker’s header hands Bluebirds win)

Bellamy revealed afterwards just how much the win meant to him, his home city and the club.

“It’s a big win,” the 34-year-old Welshman said. “It’s the third South Wales derby I’ve played in and every single one has been decided by one goal, so it’s a hardy fought game. Today was no exception.”

Of course the game winning-goal came had to come courtesy of a former Swansea player, as Caulker came back to haunt his former team who he played for in their debut Premier League season. But there were no over-zealous celebrations from the man Cardiff bought to the Welsh capital for $12 million this summer, as bedlam ensued around him.

Afterwards Caulker explained why.

“It was a different experience playing against them today,” Cardiff’s 21-year-old captain said. “I always enjoyed my time there, but now I’m a Bluebird and I’m focused on the win for us and even more buzzing to get the goal. I always respect the other teams that I played for and they [Swansea] took me in a couple of years ago. So there’s no hard feelings on my behalf at all.”

Cardiff’s players reveled in delight as they leapfrogged their neighbors in the standings with their third PL win of the season and first at home since beating Manchester City in August. The Bluebirds are now 12th in the table with 12 points from their opening 10 games, while Swansea sit in 13th with 11 points.

The Bluebirds knew how big of a boost the win would give them, as they now have a tough stretch of games coming up with Aston Villa away followed by Manchester United and Arsenal at home.

Bellamy admitted the three points won in the heat of a South Wales derby were crucial as Cardiff aim to keep moving up the PL.

“Look, as well as it being a derby it was a big three points for us, we really needed that,” Bellamy said. “We’ve got some really tough fixtures coming up next month. We knew it was very important, not just being a South Wales derby but we really needed the three points as well.”