A training ground injury for Lucas Leiva ruled the midfielder out of Sundays’ FA Cup semi-final against Aston Villa handing Steven Gerrard an opportunity to return to the side.
Lucas has been in great form since returning from a muscular problem but the Brazilian suffered a thigh injury on Thursday opening the door for Gerrard who was available again following his 3-game suspension. A Wembley appearance in his final Liverpool game – before a move to MLS side LA Galaxy – was seen by many as the perfect end to a wonderful Liverpool career but after 700+ matches spanning over 15 years it wasn’t meant to be. Despite Philippe Coutinho opening the scoring it was Villa who hit back with goals from the in-form Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph; although Mario Balotelli had an equaliser wrongly disallowed for off-side it was the Claret and Blues who thoroughly deserved the win.
Leicester City made it 3-wins on the trot with victory over Swansea and the Foxes were sent on their way by an unlikely goalscorer as Leonardo Ulloa - who was initially named among the substitutes - grabbed his eight goal of the season.
The unlucky David Nugent felt a little discomfort / tightness in his calf during the warm-up and Ulloa was called into action with less than 15 minutes to kick-off. Nigel Pearson decided not to take any risks and the Argentine was quick to repay his managers faith with a goal before Andy King sealed victory in the dying moments. It was also confirmed that Marcin Wasilewski who was withdrawn at half-time [thigh] was more of a precaution as Pearson switched from a 5-3-2 to a more orthodox 4-4-2 to combat Swansea’s attacking diamond.
Nathan Baker became the second Aston Villa defender within the last week to suffer a knee ligament injury which is almost certain to end his season.
Baker was drafted into Tim Sherwood’s FA Cup semi-final side following the news that Ciaran Clark had suffered a medial knee ligament injury which would keep him out until next season but the defender lasted less than half an hour. The news will serve as a hammer blow for Villa who pulled off an unexpected win over Liverpool to reach the final at Wembley while the Claret and Blues sit just 4-points above the relegation zone. Ron Vlaar and Jores Okore – themselves no stranger to the treatment room – are tasked with staying fit and helping Villa to retain their top-flight status "They're the only two we're going with between now and the end of the season, so we're not blessed in defensive areas," which suggests Phillippe Senderos is also sidelined for the rest of the campaign.
Spanish playmaker David Silva was taken to hospital on Sunday after the diminutive midfielder was caught by the elbow of Cheikhou Kouyate.
After several minutes of treatment which saw Silva lying prostate requiring oxygen the player was stretchered from the field of play with a suspected fractured cheekbone and possible damage to his collarbone following an awkward fall. However despite the apparent horror of the injury Silva was able to provide his own update post-match via social media "Many thanks to all the messages of support, all the tests have gone well and I’m already home. The 3 points is what was important!" although his involvement in GW34 remains uncertain. Samir Nasri – his replacement – will also be assessed after the Frenchman picked up an unspecified leg injury. City went on to take all three points in the game to help consolidate fourth place and open up a 7-point gap over Liverpool.
Harry Kane scored his 20th Premier League goal of the season to cap off Spurs' 3-1 win over Newcastle United at St. James' Park.
Nacer Chadli opened the scoring in the 30th minute with a drive from deep that Tim Krul probably should have saved. Chadli was allowed the freedom of midfield as he found his spot and launched his shot. Jack Colback equalized but it was Christen Eriksen who scored from a free kick that was allowed to bounce in the penalty area as six or seven offsides Spurs distracted Krul who should have saved it. Spurs' final goal wasn't the fault of the keeper as Newcastle had sent everyone forward and were caught out on the break as Kane and Ryan Mason were in alone on net. Kane called his own number and slotted past Krul for the final tally.
Jack Colback scored but Newcastle's slump continued as Spurs beat the Magpies 3-1 at St. James' Park.
St. James' Park has become one of the less intimidating grounds in the Premier League over the second half of the season. John Carver's side has lost six straight since the end of February and looked bad doing it. Jack Colback contributed a goal that briefly drew Newcastle even but Christen Eriksen and Harry Kane scored as Spurs dominated possession on the road.
West Ham suffered another Premier League defeat as they went down 2-0 to Manchester City at the Etihad.
The season started so brightly for West Ham but the four months have been extremely disappointing, winning just two league matches in 2015. This match went much the same way as the Hammers found themselves behind when James Collins looped an attempted clearance from a Jesus Navas cross into his own net to give City the lead. Navas set up Sergio Aguero to slot in a second after a slick counter-attack. West Ham had a late Kevin Nolan shot saved by Joe Hart, but they rarely threatened a comeback.
Manchester City got back on track today with a relatively comfortable 2-0 win over West Ham United, leaving them seven points clear of Liverpool for the final Champions League spot.
It was a walk in the park for City, as their opponent gave very little effort from the opening whistle and it was 2-0 and too late for the Hammers by the time they started to come to life. Jesus Navas was man of the match, and his attempted cross to Sergio Aguero in the 18th minute led to a James Collins own goal. The City pair would team up again in the 36th minute, as a turnover by Stewart Downing saw the Sky Blues on the break, with Aguero dribbling down the center and Navas flying open down the right. Aguero played a 1-2, Navas teed him up, and the Argentine became the first player to reach 20 goals on the season. On the down side, David Silva took an elbow to the jaw and was stretchered off, so his availability next week is already a major doubt.