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Liverpool’s crucial draw

Posted by Faiyaz On December - 13 - 2008   

Steven Gerrard scored twice as league leaders Liverpool came back from two goals down against Hull in a match the Reds should have won after dominating.

Hull took a surprise lead when defender Paul McShane headed Marlon King’s cross into the roof of the net.

A Jamie Carragher own goal then doubled Hull’s lead before Gerrard’s goals, both from six yards, levelled matters.

The Reds had the better of the second half, with a Sami Hyypia header hitting the post and Nabil El Zhar going close.

In the build-up to the match, Rafael Benitez predicted that Liverpool would have “an 80% possibility” of ending the season as champions if they were still leading the Premier League in three weeks.

That percentage will surely now have lowered after this draw, their third on the trot at Anfield following stalemates against West Ham and Stoke.

And Benitez’s men could find themselves usurped by Chelsea at the top of the league should Luiz Felipe Scolari’s men beat West Ham at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Three goals in the opening 25 minutes made for a pulsating start after Liverpool had started brightly, with Yossi Benayoun and Alvaro Arbeloa causing Hull problems on the right flank.

But, for all of the home side’s slick passing, it was Hull who broke the deadlock when McShane rose above the hapless Andrea Dossena to head home.

Sam Ricketts was called into action to clear Dossena’s left-wing cross away from Benayoun, who was waiting for a simple tap-in, before Anfield was stunned into silence as the visitors doubled their advantage.

Bernard Mendy got the better of Dossena on the right with a surging run into the box, and his subsequent cross across the face of the goal caused a disorientated Carragher to divert the ball into his own net.

As is so often the case, Gerrard came to Liverpool’s rescue with two goals in 10 minutes.

Dirk Kuyt’s cross from the right fell kindly to his captain who drilled the ball in with the outside of his boot.

And, in the 33rd minute, the impressive Benayoun hooked Kuyt’s downward header towards Gerrard, who equalised with a rasping shot into the right corner.

Xabi Alonso, Kuyt and Albert Riera all had chances to give Liverpool the lead before the break, but Hull remained typically resolute.

Liverpool dominated the second half but lacked a cutting-edge in the final third as £20m summer signing Robbie Keane was left languishing on the bench.

Hyypia’s header did beat Boaz Myhill only for the post to come to the goalkeeper’s rescue.

In the 63rd minute, a fine last-gasp Michael Turner tackle prevented Benayoun from troubling Myhill before the Welshman was called into action to palm away Riera’s menacing 25-yard drive.

Liverpool brought on El Zhar and Ryan Babel as they searched for the winning goal, with the former forcing Myhill into great save low to his right.

And Hull, who had already won at Newcastle, Arsenal, Tottenham and West Brom this season, held on for the draw.

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