Suarez puts Liverpool back on track
Luis Suarez fired Liverpool back into the Premier League's top four as the Reds returned to form with a 2-0 victory against Hull on Wednesday.
Brendan Rodgers' team had lost their previous two matches against title rivals Chelsea and Manchester City, but they were able to put those disappointing results behind them thanks to the continued excellence of Uruguay forward Suarez.
Reds defender Daniel Agger headed his side into the lead in the first half before Suarez sealed the victory in the 50th minute with another superb free-kick to add to his ever-growing collection of stunning goals this season.
Suarez's 20th goal of the campaign ensured Liverpool climbed back above local rivals Everton into fourth place.
Hull may have thought their victory over the Reds just four weeks ago at the KC Stadium gave them a chance of starting 2014 with a shock win at Anfield.
It was Steve Bruce's side who did threaten first as Yannick Sagbo fired over from distance, but his wastefulness would prove to be costly considering Hull's lack of opportunities.
The Reds thought they had the lead in the 19th minute when Suarez rose to head in Philippe Coutinho's free-kick, yet the assistant referee had his flag raised and the television replays suggested the striker was marginally offside.
Soon after Raheem Sterling perhaps should have given his side the opener when Suarez cleverly nodded the ball into his path, but after racing clear the winger could only shoot straight at the on-rushing Allan McGregor in the Hull goal.
Liverpool's opener eventually arrived in the 36th minute as Coutinho's corner was met by Agger.
Jordan Henderson attempted to divert it but missed the ball only for Maynor Figueroa to then fail miserably with a goal-line clearance.
Hull had managed to contain the hosts but after the goal their defence looked ragged and out of sorts.
Henderson should have doubled Liverpool's lead as a well-worked move between Coutinho and Iago Aspas put the former Sunderland midfielder in, only for him to slide the ball wide with McGregor diving the wrong way.
The game certainly could have been over before the break but Coutinho was the culprit this time as despite sublime control to take down Henderson's pass, he could not find the target.
Suarez, who had been slightly below his best against City and Chelsea, announced his return to peak form with a simply sublime goal five minutes after the interval.
The striker was fouled about 25 yards out from goal by James Chester and he brushed himself down before curling a powerful free-kick into the top corner.
Hull boss Bruce made three changes soon after, bringing on forwards Matty Fryatt, Danny Graham and George Boyd in a bid to get something from the game but with little service, they were struggling for opportunities as Liverpool continued to dominate possession.
When a chance did present itself, it fell to defender Curtis Davies and from 20 yards he delivered a shot befitting of a centre half as it bobbled harmlessly wide.
Suarez would have a late free-kick from distance that he ballooned into the famous Kop stand behind the goal which brought good-natured jeers from the home faithful.
Coutinho's run at the end almost brought a third, but McGregor pushed away his shot to deny the Brazilian.