This season has swung round so much some of us must be feeling a bit dizzy. With Rafa challenging his players this morning to turn up the heat in the battle for fourth – beginning with three points at Birmingham City on Easter Sunday, we were relying on the results of other teams today to determine the battle for fourth and what a Super Saturday its been!
Tottenham‘s Champions League ambitions were hit by former Spurs striker Darren Bent this afternoon who brought his goalscoring tally to 23 goals this season. Bent scored a brace in a fascinating encounter, opening the scoring just after 36 seconds and then adding a well taken penalty into the bottom corner past Gomes. Incredibly, Bent also saw two penalties saved by Heurelho Gomes. Substitute and former Liverpool striker Peter Crouch, headed Spurs back in contention but another former Red, Boudewijn Zenden’s stunning volley sealed the three points late on for Sunderland, a wonderful result for Liverpool!
Meanwhile, Aston Villa moved level on points with Liverpool after Ashley Young sealed a 1-0 win over Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok Stadium.
The Race for Fourth Place – Saturdays Results
Bolton 0 – 1 Aston Villa
Following Manchester Citys victory over Burnley in the late kick off this evening, City have now moved into fourth and have gained a 5 point advantage over Liverpool with all the 4 challengers having played the same amount of games…..
Saturday Evening’s Table
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Looking at the remaining fixture lists for each club, Aston Villa have a strong shout for fourth place this season, having the relatively easiest remaining fixtures of the run in, alot may depend on who gets the three points at the City of Manchester Stadium when City entertain Villa. Liverpool also have an easier end of season fixture list compared to Tottenham and City, however, its pivotal we secure the 12 points from our next four games against Birmingham, Fulham, West Ham and Burnley before Chelsea come to Anfield where not only could fourth place be decided but also the League Champions could also be decided that evening at Anfield!
The Race For Fourth – Remaining Fixtures
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Manchester City have an extremely tough end of season fixture list. Their 3 league games against United, Arsenal and Villa will have a big say in the battle for fourth place. In the words of Rafa Benitez last month, Tottenham‘s gruelling run-in gives Liverpool hope in the race for fourth spot. They have arguably the toughest of the remaining schedules facing all 3 title contenders in their remaining seven games this season.
Meanwhile, in other news today, Stephen Darby spoke of how his experience out on loan at promotion chasing Swindon Town may bring him a step closer to achieving his Liverpool dream.
Stephen played the full 90 minutes of Swindon’s 3-0 stunning win over Leeds United this afternoon to move into the League One automatic promotion places, following a commanding second half performance at Elland Road. Darby had another impressive game and was called into action on the 25th minute when a Jonathan Howson effort beat Swindon goalkeeper David Lucas, but Darby was on hand to head the ball off the line and clear of danger.
Darby has played five games for Swindon so far in which he has helped the club to keep four clean sheets. Speaking to liverpoolfc.tv spoke of his delight and experience he has gained :
“This is my first experience being out on loan and I feel like I’m learning each game which is great. This is the right time for me to go out on loan and I need to play some games and get more experience. I spoke to the coaching staff at Liverpool who told me this would be good for my development. Swindon play football the right way and they are a good team.”
In other loan watch news, Nathan Eccleston, on loan at Huddersfield Town completed a three-game ban following his dismissal in last month’s defeat at Gillingham by coming on as a 62nd minute substitute during Huddersfield 2-1 victory over Wycombe today. Nathan replaced goalscorer Robinson and was immediately involved in the action, collecting Pilkington’s knock-down before volleying way over the crossbar from 25 yards out.
David Martin was an unused substitute during Derby County’s 1-0 victory over Coventry today. David joined Derby on a months loan from Liverpool in mid-March 2010 to answer Derby’s SOS call for a goalkeeper with Stephen Bywater injured and Saul Deeney suspended. David has so far featured in two league games for Derby. Also down in the Championship, Jay Spearing was an unused substitute during Leicester City’s 3-0 defeat to Derby yesterday evening. Down in League 2, Robbie Threlfall played the full 90 minutes during Bradford’s 1-0 loss to AFC Bournemouth.
Looking ahead to our clash with Birmingham tomorrow, former Liverpool and Kop Legend Jimmy Case spoke of the threat Kevin Phillips will pose the Liverpool defence after his priceless last-gasp equaliser for Birmingham City to deny Arsenal three points last weekend. Speaking To the official Liverpool website, Case Commented :
“Kevin used to clean my boots at Southampton and he’s a great lad and a brilliant finisher, He might not have the pace he used to but as he showed against Arsenal last Saturday he can still score goals at the highest level. He is a poacher who can score goals at any time and even though he’s not a regular starter these days he is still a real threat.”
For a full preview on tommorow’s clash with Birmingham, check out our Birmingham Match Preview here.