The Sports Matrix: Thursday 12 January 2012


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Gerrard spot kick hands Liverpool victory at City

Steven Gerrard's first-half penalty claimed Liverpool a 1-0 League Cup semi-final first leg victory over Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium last night. Liverpool dominated early on, forcing City goalkeeper Joe Hart into a succession of saves. And the hosts conceded the penalty in the 12th minute, Stefan Savic raking his studs down Daniel Agger's leg when he misjudged the ball in the box. Gerrard struck his ensuing spot-kick into the inside of the side-netting to Joe Hart's right, in turn condemning Roberto Mancini's side to a second successive home defeat after their FA Cup exit against Manchester United on Sunday. City, who were without their suspended captain Vincent Kompany and Yaya Touré who was on international duty with the Ivory Coast at the African Cup of Nations, face Liverpool for the second leg at Anfield in a fortnight. MORE

Newcastle play down Carroll link

Newcastle have dismissed reports they could bring Andy Carroll back to Tyneside, after being linked with a cut-price £10m move for the Liverpool forward. Carroll has told friends he will not return to Newcastle, who wish to keep their striker Demba Ba.

Hughes: I'll not repeat City errors

New Queen's Park Rangers manager Mark Hughes said he intends to use his experience under Manchester City's owners to help his relationship with Tony Fernandes. Hughes said: "I made mistakes with new owners last time and I understand that." MORE

Spurs prevail to go level with United

Tottenham beat Everton 2-0 at White Hart Lane to go level on points with second-placed Manchester United and three points behind leaders City. Aaron Lennon scored Spurs' opener before Benoît Assou-Ekotto struck after the break. MORE

Zigic double bags Birmingham win

Nikola Zigic struck late on to earn Birmingham a 2-1 home Championship win over Ipswich. Lee Martin's 18th-minute goal levelled Zigic's early opener for Birmingham, before Zigic scored again to lift the hosts to within two points of the play-off zone. MORE

Rooney: fallouts happen all the time

Wayne Rooney said he was "tense" after being fined by Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson for his display in training after his Boxing Day night out. He said he had formerly fallen out with Ferguson but added: "Football is made up of conflict". MORE

Cook's ton helps England recover

Alastair Cook hit 133 to help England recover from a poor start in their final warm-up match against a Pakistant Cricket Board XI. England declared on 269 for 9, with Matt Prior on 46, after slipping to 121 for 5. The opposition finished on 23 for 0. MORE

Farrell features in Six Nations squad

England's caretaker manager Stuart Lancaster signalled a "new era" after naming nine uncapped players – including Owen Farrell – in his 32-man squad for the Six Nations. Mike Tindall, Mark Cueto, Nick Easter and Shontayne Hape miss out. MORE

Cahill set to accept 'low' Chelsea pay

Chelsea are hopeful of completing the deal for Bolton's Gary Cahill today, after delays over the buying club's insistence that new financial fair play regulations (FFP) mean they are prepared to pay the defender a relatively low £50,000 a week. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

Liverpool were plainly in need of some kind of swaggering statement of self-belief and Dalglish, who tends to make such declarations as freely as most of us pass the time of day, inevitably obliged at the first time of asking. MORE