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Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Carroll scores pair as Liverpool blanks Man City
Liverpool, England — Andy Carroll scored his first goals for Liverpool since becoming Britain's most expensive player, striking twice in a 3-0 win over Manchester City on Monday that keeps alive his team's hopes of European football next season.
The England striker, who joined on a 35 million pound transfer in January, smashed a powerful shot on his favored left foot to make it 1-0 in the 13th minute and hit the third goal with a glancing header in the 35th minute of the Premier League match.
Dirk Kuyt found the net in the 34th in a slick and vibrant display from Liverpool that extended its run against Man City at Anfield to nine straight victories.
Liverpool stayed sixth in the standings but moved within five points of No. 5 Tottenham in the sole Europa League qualifying position, albeit having played one more match.
Fourth-place City has also played one more game than Tottenham and is only three points above Spurs in the final Champions League berth.
Worse still for City, captain Carlos Tevez was replaced early in the match with an apparent hamstring injury only five days before the FA Cup semifinal against Manchester United.
Due to a defensive crisis that has claimed Daniel Agger, Glen Johnson, Martin Kelly and Sotirios Kyrgiakos to injury or illness, Liverpool manager Kenny Daglish gave 18-year-old John Flanagan a debut at right- back.
With the semifinal in mind, City manager Roberto Mancini made three changes from the team that thrashed Sunderland 5-0 last week.
Striker Edin Dzeko, still to score in eight league matches since joining from Wolfsburg in January, replaced Mario Balotelli while midfielders Gareth Barry and James Milner also came in for Nigel de Jong and David Silva.
Liverpool started with plenty of verve, passing the ball from wing to wing as Luis Suarez probed for openings just behind Carroll.
Carroll's first goal came after a speculative long-range shot from Raul Meireles was blocked by Vincent Kompany. The ball landed for him to strike a low swerving shot that flew past 'keeper Joe Hart in a goal reminiscent of his first for England last month against Ghana.
Liverpool then scored twice within 93 seconds.
Desperate defensive lunges by City players had blocked goal-bound shots on three occasions before Kuyt collected his ninth league goal of the season, sliding the ball across Hart and inside the far post in the 34th minute.
Kroenke vows success
London — American sports tycoon Stan Kroenke promises to make Arsenal a champion again.
Kroenke secured a controlling stake that clears the way for him to become the fifth U.S. owner of a Premier League club.
While the Denver investor said he would bring "new success" to a club in the midst of a six-year title drought, he did not mention a commitment to spending heavily on new players.
Kroenke's stake in Arsenal will rise from nearly 30 percent to nearly 63 percent after agreeing to buy shares from fellow directors, including Danny Fiszman and Nina Bracewell-Smith. The deal values the club at $1.2 billion.
By going over the 30 percent threshold, the 63-year-old Kroenke is obliged to mount a full takeover bid by making a mandatory cash offer for the remaining shares.