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Cardiff City 3, Liverpool 6: All About the Goals as Liverpool Overwhelm Cardiff

A poor first-half display saw Liverpool enter the break level with Cardiff, but more control and four second-half goals gave them an overwhelming 6-3 victory.

Your analysis is worthless. It might be accurate, of course, and no question Liverpool should try to correct the errors, both individually and collectively, that saw them concede three at Cardiff today. But when they score six with relative ease, there's really no point in doing anything other than grinning like an idiot. Liverpool are capable of doing much, much better. And they just won 6-3 away from Anfield for their fifth sixth win on the trot to stay in second place and remain unbeaten in 2014.

Cardiff City 3: Mutch 9' 88', Campbell 25'
Liverpool 6: Suarez 16' 60' 90+6', Skrtel 41' 54', Sturridge 75'

Brendan Rodgers opted to bring Philippe Coutinho back into the eleven, pushing Raheem Sterling to the bench, but things were otherwise unchanged, in terms of both formation and personnel. In terms of application, however, it would become clear very early that things were worlds away from the dominance we saw at Old Trafford.

Cardiff burst out of the gates and didn't slow down until they took the lead through Jordan Mutch in the 9th minute. The hosts had already exposed the amount of space Liverpool afforded them a handful of times, and Mutch found himself free on the edge of the area after an errant pass back into Liverpool's penalty area gave Cardiff possession, and he made no mistake to strike a low left-footed effort past a helpless Simon Mignolet. Worrying letdown from Liverpool's defense collectively, and, even worse, it wouldn't be the last time we'd see it in the opening 25 minutes.

Thankfully Liverpool were at least able to draw level after some extended buildup; their first real spell of dangerous possession was initially rebuffed by Cardiff's ability to get numbers back, but a through ball from Jordan Henderson played Glen Johnson in behind Declan John, and the fullback slid a low cross to the onrushing Luis Suarez, who easily beat David Marshall at the near post.

And then Cardiff had acres of space again, only this time it was Fraizer Campbell providing the finishing touch as he waltzed through a lazy midfield and exposed backline to put the home side back in front. Their second lead would last a bit longer than their first, but Liverpool managed to sneak another equalizer less than five minutes before half-time, when Martin Skrtel edged past Kevin Theophile-Catherine to poke in his fifth goal of the season from a Coutinho cross.

Nothing looked to have changed for the second half, except Liverpool went on to score four goals and absolutely trounce Cardiff until the host's late goal created a few more nerves than necessary. First it was Skrtel nodding in his second with Cardiff down to nine men, then it was Suarez again after a ridiculous backheel from Daniel Sturridge, then Sturridge after a well-placed Suarez cross, and finally the killing stroke in injury time as Suarez finished off his hat-trick on a breakaway.

Better over the second 45 minutes, but still not vintage stuff. Just the four goals, then.

liverpool blog fc sbn

There were some significant problems with Liverpool today, some of which weren't entirely rectified over an improved second half. On the whole things were improved, but on the whole things turned out to be not that important unless those things were goals. Concede three, score six, add it up after the final whistle. Liverpool have that sense of inevitability about them now, even when they're not at their best.

And they certainly weren't at Cardiff City Stadium, with the first half more or less playing out like a redux of the Aston Villa draw or the trip to Fulham a few weeks ago. Cardiff had far too much time and space going forward, with Steven Gerrard experiencing something of a regression in the holding role, and the hosts were able to run at their visitors with more than enough threat about them. It paid off twice early, leaving Liverpool to sort out the mess they'd made as they played catch up.

Which they did with aplomb, taking advantage of the numerical advantage on Skrtel's second and then taking over the match from there. Cardiff's stadium, mostly their fans, but Liverpool's ball, which covered up any cracks that remained. Suarez and Sturridge could only be kept quiet for so long once the visitors were in the ascedancy, and aside from the defensive calamity for Cardiff's third, all was right in the world.

Three full days to recover before Sunderland visit Anfield, and three full days for belief to grow.

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