Luis Suarez scored an outstanding free-kick to ensure Liverpool bounced back from successive defeats to beat Hull City 2-0 at Anfield. Having dropped from first to fifth following their losses to Manchester City and Chelsea in the past week, it was a welcome way for Brendan Rodgers’s side to begin the new year as Suarez struck his 20th goal of the Premier League season to add to Daniel Agger’s first-half header.
The win was also revenge for Liverpool having suffered their worst defeat of the campaign to date against Hull at the KC Stadium just a month ago. Making New Year’s Day taste even sweeter for Liverpool was a draw for Merseyside neighbors Everton that means the Reds move above their counterparts in Blue into that vital fourth place.
Without the injured Joe Allen and with captain Steven Gerrard only deemed fit enough for a place on the bench, Spaniard Iago Aspas was handed his first start since September as Jordan Henderson dropped deeper alongside Jordan Henderson and Philippe Coutinho played through the middle.
With both sides playing their third game of the hectic festive schedule there was perhaps unsurprisingly a subdued beginning to the encounter. Suarez thought he had opened the scoring when he headed in Coutinho’s free-kick only to be denied by an assistant’s flag who spotted the merest of offsides.
There was to be no such reprieve for the visitors in the 36th minute. From Coutinho’s corner, Agger rose highest in the center of the box and powered a header down that beat both the efforts of defender and goalkeeper on the Hull line.
Hull came into the game on a real high, having recorded an extraordinary 6-0 victory over Fulham on Saturday. But Steve Bruce’s side rarely looked like getting on the score-sheet at Anfield. Henderson and Coutinho went close to adding a second for the hosts, who brought on Gerrard for his return from injury after the break, before Suarez, in typically stunning fashion, made the points safe.
The Uruguayan ran up to a free-kick 25 yards on goal and struck it with power and curve to send it soaring past the despairing dive of Allan McGregor in the Hull goal. With 20 goals in just 15 appearances in the Premier League, Suarez continues to demonstrate that he can fire Liverpool back to the promised land of the Champions League.