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Barclays Premier League

Anfield (ATT 44,874) 20th October 2012 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: R East

Liverpool Liverpool vs Reading Reading

Liverpool 1

R Sterling (29)


Liverpool picked up their first home win of the season with a 1-0 victory over Reading

Last Updated: 20/10/12 7:17pm

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Raheem Sterling celebrates after scoring the winning goal for Liverpool.

Raheem Sterling celebrates after scoring the winning goal for Liverpool.

Liverpool picked up their first home win of the season with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Reading at Anfield.

Raheem Sterling's first goal for the Reds proved to be enough to give Brendan Rodgers' side the three points.

Luis Suarez's delicate flick-on was seized by the teenager who raced through the inside-right channel and fired a shot across Alex McCarthy and into the far corner of the net.

The defeat means the Royals are still looking for their first win since earning promotion back to the Premier League.

Liverpool dominated the first half and but for some poor finishing and some good defending they would have been out of sight in the opening period.

The visitors improved after the break and Brad Jones, playing in place of the injured Pepe Reina, was called into action with a couple of good saves.

The Reds had opportunities to make the game safe late on but Steven Gerrard, Suarez and Glen Johnson all failed to take advantage.

The first half was virtually one-way traffic but the hosts lacked a cutting edge, too often over-complicating matters with one pass too many in and around the penalty area.

Best of the game

  • Man of the match: Raheem Sterling u2013 The Liverpool winger was a real livewire for the home side and his performance was rewarded with his first goal for the club.
  • Goal of the match: Sterling's strike was a superb finish into the bottom corner past Alex McCarthy after he raced clear from a ball over the top. After wasting several earlier chances the youngster showed great composure to find the net.
  • Save of the match: Although he did not have much to do Brad Jones produced a vital save to keep out Garath McCleary's effort in the second half as he stood up big to keep out the Reading winger's effort with his legs.
  • Moment of the match: It has to be Sterling's winner as it was his first competitive goal for the club to make him the second youngest goalscorer for Liverpool behind Michael Owen. It also was enough to earn Liverpool their first home win of the season.
  • Talking point: Do Liverpool need to bring in a striker to help them finish off their chances as again they failed to turn their dominance into goals and could have paid a hefty price in the end for their profligacy? Do Reading need to be more adventurous after showing Liverpool far too much respect in the first half?

Sterling found himself in the best attacking positions on several occasions but managed to get a shot off on target just once and Alex McCarthy easily held.

Auxiliary left-back Glen Johnson was also enjoying a lot of possession in the final third but he looked more threatening when cutting inside on his right foot.

During an injury break for Jem Karacan, who was eventually forced off by the effect of Steven Gerrard's block tackle, Rodgers took the opportunity to pass on some advice to Sterling.

Whatever he said appeared to have the desired effect as in the 29th minute the England Under-21 international finally made the breakthrough.

Suarez's delicate flick-on was seized by the teenager who raced through the inside-right channel and fired a shot across McCarthy and into the far corner of the net.

There were two main talking points prior to the game and both duly cropped up.

Firstly, Reading substitute Jason Roberts carried out his vow not to wear a Kick It Out T-shirt in the warm-up in protest at his perceived lack of action in combating racism in football.

While the rest of his team-mates - and all their Liverpool opponents except goalkeeper Brad Jones - donned the tops for the pre-match drills the 34-year-old went without, although Garath McCleary and Karacan removed theirs soon after entering the field.

Second hot topic, which has become a regular theme this season, of the week was whether Suarez dives or not.

The Uruguay international had seen one challenge by Kaspars Gorkss go unpunished, from which the striker curled a shot onto the roof of the net, and another given - prompting a sarcastic standing ovation from Anfield before he drilled the free-kick into the wall.

But the third instance, just before half-time, was the most contentious with Suarez going to ground under a challenge from his Latvian marker close to the byline.

Referee Roger East waved play on and then was soon waving away protests from a cluster of Liverpool players as he whistled for the interval.

Suarez, accompanied by the club doctor, gingerly hobbled off well after both teams had left the pitch but returned for the second half, which was less than a minute old when Sterling should have made it 2-0 having turned smartly in the penalty area but fired straight at the goalkeeper.

The South American did not appear to show any ill-effects with only his vision apparently affected as he opted to shoot at McCarthy when he should have squared to the unmarked Nuri Sahin.

Liverpool were almost caught by a swift counter-attack with substitute McCleary forcing an immediate save from Jones, on his first league start for the club in the absence of the injured Jose Reina, who also punched away a Jobi McAnuff shot.

The home side redoubled their efforts as Martin Skrtel flashed a header wide, substitute Jonjo Shelvey, caught in two minds, miscontrolled Suarez's cross and Gerrard saw a narrow-angle shot squeeze through McCarthy's fingers but wide of the post.

Rodgers said he felt his side would "fly" once they secured their first home win.

They will need to as next weekend they make the short trip to near-neighbours Everton, who even after this win are still five points ahead with a match in hand.

LiverpoolTeam StatisticsReading
11st Half Goals0
7Shots on Target3
11Shots off Target4
9Blocked Shots3
1Yellow Cards1
0Red Cards0
81.7Passing Success68
77.3Tackles Success68.2
47.3Territorial Advantage52.7
497Total Passes366
11Total Crosses17
164Lost Balls185
60.71st Half Poss.39.3
54.12nd Half Poss.45.9

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Barclays Premier League
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2 Manchester City 38 79
3 Arsenal 38 75
4 Manchester United 38 70
5 Tottenham Hotspur 38 64
6 Liverpool 38 62
7 Southampton 38 60
8 Swansea City 38 56
9 Stoke City 38 54
10 Crystal Palace 38 48
11 Everton 38 47
12 West Ham United 38 47
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