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Page last updated at 22:47 GMT, Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Wednesday football as it happened


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By Sam Lyon

2245: Right then, with Match of the Day starting on BBC One and on this very website (UK users only) it's time for me to wrap this bad boy up. I'd highly recommend MotD, by the way - a shedload of goals, plenty of incident and what promises to be a whole load of Transfer Deadline Day chat for good measure. What more could you want? Join me if you can at the weekend for what promises to be an absolute barn-stormer of a set of fixtures. Jubbly. Adios amigos!

newtona on 606: "Wolves are in big trouble now."

InfostradaLive on Twitter: "Liverpool have never lost to Stoke in 48 top flight home matches, the longest unbeaten streak by one team v another in the English top flight."

Mandeep Sanghera reports:
"A dream debut for Liverpool striker Luis Suarez and a third win on the trot for Liverpool as they deservedly beat Stoke. Fernando who?"

Saj Chowdhury reports:
"Fulham improved considerably after the break, but Newcastle didn't. In the end, had it not been for goalkeeper Steve Harper, the Toon would have been embarrassed."

Oliver Brett reports:
"A dearth of class from both teams, and a goalless draw was on the cards until Ronald Zubar played a pass that was more Ronald McDonald."

Julian Shea reports:
"A hugely important win for West Ham at Blackpool - if Robbie Keane and Victor Obinna can keep up this kind of form they could soon find themselves climbing up the table."

Kevin Darling reports:
"Gritty. Solid. Boring. Not the adjectives you'd normally associate with Spurs this term but this will please Harry Redknapp just as much as their eye-catching wins."

Mark Ashenden reports:
"You can now call me the Octopus. Four goals, Craig Gardner blasts in from the spot to steal a point, and Patrick Vieira had better hide from Roberto Mancini and his team-mates. He had a shocker. Great Birmingham spirit."

2225: Right, it's that time again, let's hear from our reporters...

Fraser in Birmingham via text: "Great performance by Birmingham tonight. A big win at West Ham on the weekend could see a turnaround in our season."

2222: Newcastle manager Alan Pardew: "Having the £35m [for Andy Carroll] won't help me now, but it will in the summer. It would have been easy for the fans to be critical of the team and of me, in particular, tonight, but they were great."

2219: And now Man City manager Roberto Mancini on the penalty: "It was absolutely not a penalty. If that was a penalty then there would be five penalties in every game."

2217: Birmingham boss Alex McLeish on his side's equalising penalty: "I thought it was a clumsy challenge. It was two old players going against each other. He challenged him late and it was a penalty. We deserved it because we've had eight or nine turned down that were great claims."

VinayK1991 on Twitter: "Carroll gone, Ameobi out for a while, Ben Arfa not back til March, Gosling injured... Worrying signs for Newcastle."

2214: Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish: "We're all delighted with that result - and three clean sheets in a row is a great return. If you don't concede, you're always in with a chance of a win. Everyone's pleased for Luis [Suarez] too. He hasn't even trained with us yet but he showed what he's all about tonight and I can't wait to get working with him."

GloryGloryManUnited on 606: "Always love Harry Redknapp's post-match interviews. One of the few managers around who actually tells it like it is."

2210: Blackpool boss Ian Holloway: "That's quite a few goals gone in in the last four games but we've got to keep going - being entertaining is what got us our points, and I've got a team set up to do that. We've got to believe in ourselves - hopefully we can stay away from that horrible trapdoor and we won't end up back in the Championship."

2208: Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp: "It's a great result for us. William Gallas was magnificent and [Peter] Crouch deserved his goal, he has set up a lot this season. It's tough to break into the top four but we did it last year and we'll give it a shot again this season."

Chris, Bury St Edmunds via text: "Only one 0-0 draw this midweek in England's top five divisions. Leyton Orient and Brighton, you've let us all down."

2205: Not quite as many goals tonight as last night, then, but some real potentially season-defining results nonetheless. How big a blow to Man City's title hopes will their draw at Birmingham prove? Can Tottenham and Liverpool push on up the table on the back of their wins tonight? Does West Ham's fine win signal a change in their fortunes? Will Newcastle live to regret their monster sale of Andy Carroll on Deadline Day? And what price to be Ronald Zubar's bodyguard in the Wolves dressing room this evening? Questions...

Johno_LFC on 606: "Liverpool played fantastic tonight, unrecognisable. The formation looked dubious but was a surprise revelation. 3 wins, 3 clean sheets. Just the small matter of Chelsea at the weekend now..."

neelukhan on Twitter: "Transfer deadline day buys are making their impact!"

Football League Danny: "League One full-time fans, here's the best thing you'll see all day. It finished Bristol Rovers 1-2 MK Dons and Notts County 1-1 Walsall. MK Dons up to sixth. Bristol Rovers in 22nd, out of form and in big trouble. County in 18th. Walsall stay bottom, although only on goal difference behind Dagenham and Redbridge."

Full time
2155: FULL-TIME Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

2154: FULL-TIME Bolton 1-0 Wolves

Full time
2153: FULL-TIME Blackburn 0-1 Tottenham

2152: FULL-TIME Blackpool 1-3 West Ham

Bolton goal: What a gift to receive on your debut - Daniel Sturridge has won it for Bolton. Wolves defender Ronald Zubar's back-pass is absolutely abysmal and Sturridge pounces to slide in the last-gasp winner.

2151: GOALFLASH Bolton 1-0 Wolves (Sturridge)

Full time
2151: FULL-TIME Liverpool 2-0 Stoke

2150: Chris Samba, you have to score there, the Blackburn defender finding himself unmarked from David Hoillett's cross but heading off-target six yards out.

Someone has struck the woodwork
2148: Kevin Doyle almost nicks the points for Wolves after a huge deflection off Paul Robinson's back leaves Bolton 'keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen stranded. It looks for all the world like the ball is headed for the net but it bounces slowly off the post. Still 0-0 at the Reebok...

2147: At Ewood Park, Tottenham are far from home and hosed against Blackburn... the hosts pushing for an equaliser with centre-half Chris Samba deployed up front now.

2145: Chance for Clint Dempsey to wrap things up for Fulham, but the American - one-on-one - is denied by Newcastle keeper Steve Harper.

Full time
2145: FULL-TIME Birmingham 2-2 Man City

2144: ...And it is a coat of paint away from flying in from Aleksandar Kolarov. Woah.

2144: Last minute of stoppage time at St Andrew's, free-kick to Man City...

2143: Close to a debut goal for Gael Kakuta, but the Fulham loanee shoots straight at Newcastle keeper Steve Harper from 16 yards from Moussa Dembele.

2142: Since James Beattie and Marlon Harewood came on for Blackpool, the home side have absolutely hammered the West Ham defence, but somehow the visitors are still clinging on to their two goal lead. This game has the air of a last-day battle for survival about it.

2140: We're into stoppage time at St Andrew's, but it's not Man City pushing for a winner - it's Birmingham. Roberto Mancini's men have been poor since the break, they really have.

2138: Stoke almost back in it immediately as Jon Walters's snap-shot flies at goal, but Pepe Reina sticks out a hand to instinctively turn it away. It's the only thing that the Potters have offered all night, really, that John Carew shot wide earlier on aside.

Liverpool goal: Sixteen mintues he's been on the pitch, and Luis Suarez has already stitched his name into the Liverpool fans' affections. The Uruguayan is set clear on goal by Dirk Kuyt and he calmly rounds the keeper and rolls home, despite the best efforts of Andy Wilkinson tracking back, who deflects the shot on to the post but in.

2136: GOALFLASH Liverpool 2-0 Stoke (Suarez)

Football League Danny: "Late drama fans will enjoy events at Meadow Lane, where Alex Nicholls has scored an 88th-minute equaliser for Walsall against Notts County to make it 1-1. Although Notts County fans who are also late drama fans are probably internally conflicted by this news."

2134: Sorry Anon, the backlash to your 2124 text has been severe and swift... this is my favourite...
JBrownThanet on Twitter: "You should have given Anon a handbags graphic of his own!"

2133: Couple more debutants coming on on a night of, erm, debutants - Jamie O'Hara on for Wolves and Gael Kakuta on for Fulham.

Football League Danny: "Jeff Hughes gives Brittle Rovers hope against MK Dons. His 83rd-minute penalty halves the deficit and it's Pirates 1-2 Dons. Seven to go, but the Dons are down to 10 men, remember..."

2131: Blackburn just turning the screw a touch on Tottenham and visiting keeper Heurelho Gomes is called into action again to parry away Mame Biram Diouf's shot from 12 yards. Signs of life in Steve Kean's side yet.

Fulham goal: Deadlock broken, and the hosts just about deserve it. Danny Murphy's ball over the top finds Damien Duff rushing forward, the Irishman holding Jose Enrique off and pinging home the opener.

2129: GOALFLASH Fulham 1-0 Newcastle (Duff)

2128: David Hoilett has been Blackburn's most dangerous performer tonight (which isn't saying much) and he has just had a fine 20-yard drive tipped away by Heurelho Gomes.

Someone has struck the woodwork
2128: Could Blackpool come any closer without scoring? Charlie Adam steps up and thunders a free-kick against the crossbar with West Ham goalkeeper Robert Green rooted to his line. Surely there must be more goals in this game?

Birmingham goal: What impact that on Man City's title charge? Patrick Vieira clumsily wipes Kevin Phillips out inside the Man City box, referee Kevin Friend points straight to the spot, and Craig Gardner slams in the penalty.

2127: GOALFLASH Birmingham 2-2 Man City (Gardner pen)


2126: Brilliant shot, brilliant save, Clint Dempsey's effort tipped over at his near post by Steve Harper to keep Newcastle on level terms at Fulham.

2125: Daniel Sturridge is moments away from coming on for his Bolton debut.

2124: Great chance for Man City to double their lead as Carlos Tevez breaks through one-on-one on the right, but Birmingham keeper Ben Foster stands tall and blocks the Argentine's shot from the angle with his chest. Around 10 minutes left at St Andrew's.

Anon via text: "RE: 2115 - No-one cares about the handbags graphic, get over it!!"

2121: Here's the moment Anfield has been waiting for - Luis Suarez coming on for his Liverpool debut in place of Fabio Aurelio.

2120: Bolton's Chung-Yong Lee sends through a telling cross from the right and Wolves defender Christophe Berra almost volleys home an own-goal, but Wayne Hennessey makes his third excellent save of the night. Still goalless at the Reebok.

Football League Danny: "Mixed night for Sean O'Hanlon of MK Dons - goal on 45 seconds, sent off on 67 minutes. His side still lead 2-0 at Brittle Rovers though."

2119: Brilliant effort from Aaron Lennon, who is having a fine game on the left for Tottenham, but his rising shot from 20 yards is tipped over by Rovers keeper Paul Robinson.

2118: John Carew, on his full debut for Stoke, stings a shot across the Liverpool goal and only inches wide.

2116: Terrific run from the edge of his own box to the edge of the Blackburn box by Aaron Lennon before he lays in Jermain Defoe, whose left-foot effort is kept out by Rovers keeper Paul Robinson. Good chance.

2115: It's your favourite graphic and mine - handbags! Richard Stearman and Paul Robinson collide in a challenge and it sparks an almighty melee. The Bolton man, for me, is a touch lucky to stay on the field for his reaction - grabbing Wolves' Stearman round the throat - but it's a yellow card apiece.

2114: By the way, the word from Newcastle is that Shola Ameobi broke his cheekbone in that first half.

2113: Best chance of the game at the Cottage, Fulham's Clint Dempsey forcing a save from Steve Harper at his near post, the ball then falling to Damien Duff on the follow-up but his effort flies wide.

Football League Danny: "My fellow Football League Danny - Danny Powell - has made it 2-0 to MK Dons at Brittle Rovers. Rovers are in oodles of relegation trouble. The Dons play-off push is re-invigorated. Meanwhile, Notts County are ahead, Lee Hughes has put them 1-0 up on Walsall"

2110: A couple of minutes into the second half at Craven Cottage - but it's a case of as you were there. In other words, not much happening.

2108: How decisive might that turn out to be? West Ham striker Frederic Piquionne skips his way through the entire Blackpool defence and into a very threatening position in the box, but just as he gets ready to shoot, David Vaughan dispossesses him with a perfectly-timed challenge.

2107: Birmingham have started this half at a right ol' pace and Roger Johnson should draw them level, instead directing his free header from David Bentley's pin-point cross wide from six yards.

2106: Blackburn's best moment of the game against Tottenham comes seconds after the restart, Mame Biram Diouf beating the offside trap and forcing a good stop out of Heurelho Gomes.

Liverpool goal: No Luis Suarez yet, but Liverpool lead. Steven Gerrard's shot pin-balls its way around the Stoke box before Raul Meireles steps up and crashes into the net left-footed from 12 yards.

2104: GOALFLASH Liverpool 1-0 Stoke (Meireles)

2103: And the matches at Ewood Park, Bloomfield Road and Reebok Stadium back under way, too.

2102: Back up and running at Anfield, no sign of Luis Suarez for Liverpool just yet.

2059: He's been fantastic since arriving at Birmingham City, David Bentley, and he goes close to another leveller against Man City with a dipping 20-yard shot that just evades Joe Hart's upright.

Bobsyeruncle on 606: "Suarez will come on, score, and the rest will be history."

2056: We're a couple of minutes into the second half at St Andrew's, where Patrick Vieira is on for Nigel de Jong for Man City. It remains Birmingham 1-2 Man City.

Half time
2056: HALF-TIME Fulham 0-0 Newcastle
Saj Chowdhury's HT snap-shot:
"Are there Golden Raspberries awarded to football matches? OK, that's a tad unfair, but this really hasn't been pretty to watch. I'm looking forward to the Oscar-winning editing from the Match of the Day team."

Half time
2055: HALF-TIME Blackburn 0-1 Tottenham
Kevin Darling's HT snap-shot:
"This isn't vintage Spurs by any stretch but Peter Crouch's early header is enough for enough for Harry's "bare bones" line-up so far… scrappy game."

Half time
2054: HALF-TIME Blackpool 1-3 West Ham
Julian Shea's HT snap-shot:
"Absolutely breathless stuff at Bloomfield Road. I give it a sure-fire 10/10 for entertainment, more of the same after the break please."

Half time
2053: HALF-TIME Bolton 0-0 Wolves
Oliver Brett's HT snap-shot:
"A smorgasbord of poor defending and poor finishing from both sides, no wonder these teams are struggling for points at present."

Half time
2052: HALF-TIME Liverpool 0-0 Stoke
Mandeep Sanghera's HT snap-shot:
"Liverpool are the one applying the pressure but a combination of Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic and poor finishing keeps the game on level terms."

2051: And now it's the break at Craven Cottage.

2049: Can I apologise again, by the way, even though I clearly have no effect on it, for our 'As It Stands' table tonight - it's playing up like a six-year-old after too much fizzy pop, so it is. Our techies are all over it.

2048: The first half is brought to an end at Ewood Park, the Reebok and Bloomfield Road now.

2047: Blackburn should be level in my book - Ryan Nelsen stooping to meet David Dunn's free-kick eight yards out but contriving to deflect it wide.

2046: The half-time whistle blows at Anfield.

2045: Almost the first piece of real quality at the Reebok Stadium tonight as Bolton's Sam Ricketts lets fly with a sweetly-hit shot from well outside the area, and a stranded Wayne Hennessey watches it miss his left-hand upright by an inch or two.

West Ham goal: Blackpool's - and Charlie Adam's - joy is short-lived as Victor Obinna pummels an unstoppable shot into the top corner from 30 yards to restore West Ham's two-goal lead. Unbelievable.

2044: GOALFLASH Blackpool 1-3 West Ham (Obinna)

Blackpool goal: Game back on at Bloomfield Road - and no-one can be in any doubt as to how much that means to Charlie Adam, who celebrates like a wildman. He came so close to leaving the club but, now, he's crucially got them back in this game as his corner creeps straight in, past Rob Green's woeful attempt at a save.

2042: GOALFLASH Blackpool 1-2 West Ham (Adam)

Football League Danny: "Not necessarily a League One half that you'll be wanting on DVD. A first-minute goal for Sean O'Hanlon of MK Dons and, er, that's yer lot. So, for the record - Brittle Rovers 0-1 MK Dons and Notts County 0-0 Walsall."

Half time
2039: HALF-TIME Birmingham 1-2 Man City
Mark Ashenden reports:
"Three goals, plenty of snoods and City have their noses in front. Aleksandr Kolarov's free-kick the difference. One more goal and you can call me the new Paul the Octopus. Although I may have to work on my tentacles."

2039: The half-time whistle blows at St Andrew's.

2038: Danny Murphy 40-yard free-kick lands at the feet of Clint Dempsey on the edge of the six-yard area, but the United States player plants his shot wide of Steve Harper's goal.

West Ham goal: Debut goal for Robbie Keane, and it's first strike in the league since November 2009. The Irishman is on his toes to react well from a double block from Victor Obinna efforts, slicing into the corner right-footed from eight yards out.

2037: GOALFLASH Blackpool 0-2 West Ham (Keane)

2035: Great save. Asmir Begovic somehow keeps Stoke on level terms with a fine save to keep out Glen Johnson's header from Martin Kelly's cross. Watch it on Match of the Day tonight, if you like.

2032: We'll have seven minutes of first-half injury time at St Andrew's following that injury to Micah Richards.

2031: More of the same from West Ham at Bloomfield Road - Victor Obinna sends panic through the Blackpool defence as he runs on to Wayne Bridge's pass, but there are sighs of relief all round the ground this time as keeper Richard Kingson keeps hold of the ball.

2029: Rafael van der Vaart tries to 'do a Kolarov' for Tottenham, but his left-foot free-kick dips over the Blackburn bar at Ewood Park.

Man City goal: My match reporter called this as soon as he was stood over it - Aleksandar Kolarov lining up a free-kick 25 yards out and curling it brilliantly around the wall and into the far corner. City noses in front again.

2026: GOALFLASH Birmingham 1-2 Man City (Kolarov)

2025: In-swinging free-kick from Newcastle's Joey Barton headed behind by Fulham's Steve Sidwell who was fortunate to see the ball miss the left-hand upright by a foot.

West Ham goal: The Hammers have been in the ascendency in the last five minutes, but Richard Kingson really should keep this out - Victor Obinna dancing around Craig Cathcart on the left and then firing at the near post, the Blackpool keeper allowing the effort to creep through his hands. Massive goal.

2023: GOALFLASH Blackpool 0-1 West Ham (Obinna)

2022: This doesn't look pretty for Man City defender Micah Richards, who is stretchered off with a head injury after receiving treatment for a good few minutes on the St Andrew's turf.

2021: Chung-Yong Lee sets Matt Taylor through on goal with a delicious pass, but the Bolton midfielder's right-foot finish is a touch tame and Wolves keeper Wayne Hennesey is able to save.

2020: Liverpool's new 3-5-2 formation looks to be working reasonably well at Anfield - Stoke, certainly, have been restricted to nothing more than half chances. In attack, though, it's all bluster so far.

2018: And now David Hoillett forces a save on the stretch from Tottenham keeper Heurelho Gomes as his bounce-effort threatens to creep in the top corner.

2017: On all of the nine previous occasions Blackburn have conceded the opening goal this season, they have lost. They have responded well to falling behind here, though, with David Hoilett having a goalbound shot blocked six yards out by Verdan Corluka.

2015: What you don't want having sold your leading frontman for £35m is an injury to what might be his replacement, but that's what's happened to Newcastle - Shola Ameobi leaving the field with a head injury, Nile Ranger coming on.

2013: Wolves have goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey to thank for keeping it goalless at the Reebok as he dives full-length to turn away Johan Elmander's first-time strike from the edge of the area following a good lay-off from Bolton striking partner Kevin Davies.

Birmingham goal: Nikola Zigic is claiming it, but I wonder if David Bentley's whipped low free-kick from the left didn't go in on it's own you know. Either way, the Serbian striker claims the faintest of touches six yards out and Man City's early sauntering is all of a sudden rendered redundant.

2009: GOALFLASH Birmingham 1-1 Man City (Zigic)

2008: Fulham dictating the early chances against Newcastle and Steve Harper has had to be alert on a couple of occasions, but otherwise not a great deal happening at Craven Cottage.

Nick, Manchester via text: "If Andy Carroll is worth £35 million and Torres is worth £50 million just how much would it take to buy Carlos Tevez?"

2006: Off the line at Anfield. Sotirios Kyrgiakos's glancing header from a corner looks a goal all ends up until Salif Diao sticks out a boot to clear from under the Stoke crossbar.

Tottenham goal: They've combined for goals so often this season... only this time it's the other way around. Rafael van der Vaart picks out Peter Crouch's run at the back post, and the Tottenham frontman rises above Chris Samba to plant a fine header inside the far post.

2004: GOALFLASH Blackburn 0-1 Tottenham (Crouch)

2003: Early chance for West Ham, Victor Obinna's slapped shot kept out by Richard Kingson low to his right.

2002: Liverpool, by the way, have started with a 3-5-2 formation, with Glen Johnson and Martin Kelly acting as wing-backs. Adventurous.

2001: And now Bolton-Wolves and Fulham-Newcastle are up and running.

2000: We are up and running in three of our 2000 kick-offs now, with the matches at Craven Cottage and the Reebok Stadium proving a touch sluggish.

1959: By the way, as a few of you will have noticed, the 'As It Stands' Premier League table has gone a little bit postal. Our techies are working on getting the gremlins out of the system. Apologies.

1957: Birmingham, on a run of just one win in eight league matches, are all over the place at St Andrew's at the moment and Man City have been allowed to build a right royal head of steam early on. There are more goals in that one, you would think.

Neveronfrontpage on 606: "As much as people praise Tevez and talk about how well Nasri has played this year (and he has) or the initial impact of Van der Vaart... I think by this time next year it will be Silva who is considered the best player in the Premier League."

Football League Danny: "Tevez might be off the mark quickly for Manchester City, but he can't match MK Dons' Sean O'Hanlon who needed just 47 second to notch against a leaky Bristol Rovers defence. Bristol Rovers 0-1 MK Dons. I might suggest Brittle Rovers as a new name for the club - might not, I'll get back to you."

1954: Yuk. Coding error at 1949 people. Refresh please.

1953: After the name of Luis Suarez, on the bench tonight, is greeted by raucous applause from the Liverpool faithful, Andy Carroll is brought on to the Anfield turf to meet the fans. The reception is excitable, to say the least.

Man City goal: Less than five minutes on the clock and Man City stamp their mark back on the title race. David Silva cuts in from the right and feeds Carlos Tevez in the box, the Argentine turning his defender and clipping into the far corner.

1951: GOALFLASH Birmingham 0-1 Man City (Tevez)

Julian Shea reports:
"Blackpool's Elliot Grandin drops to the bench and Alex Baptiste misses out altogether, with their places taken by Andy Reid and David Carney. Scott Parker makes his 100th Premier League appearance for West Ham, who bring in Robbie Keane for Freddie Sears. Gary O'Neil replaces Luis Boa Morte, and Lars Jacobsen replaces Julien Faubert, who is not even on the bench."

Oliver Brett reports:
"For Bolton, the new loan signing from Chelsea, Daniel Sturridge, is named among Owen Coyle's substitutes. Gary Cahill and Stuart Holden come back into the side after being rested at the weekend, and Chung-Yong Lee also starts after his spell away at the Asia Cup. Jamie O'Hara only makes the bench for Wolves, while Robbie Blake misses out on a place in the matchday 18 for the first time this season."

Saj Chowdhury reports:
"Fulham keeper Mark Schwarzer makes a surprise return just four days after the end of Australia's Asian Cup campaign. Chris Baird is also recalled, while new loan signing Gael Kakuta is on the bench. Newcastle boss Alan Pardew names the same starting line-up that drew against Tottenham, while teenage midfielder Michael Richardson could make his first-team debut having been named among the substitutes."

1946: We are up and running in the night's only 1945 Premier League kick-off at St Andrew's between Birmingham City and Manchester City.

Kevin Darling reports:
"There are four changes for Blackburn with Jason Roberts filling in for the injured Roque Santa Cruz up front. Ryan Nelsen returns to the defence, while Mame Biram Diouf starts. Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp makes five changes to the team thumped by Fulham on Sunday, not all of them tactical. Luka Modric's injury means Wilson Palacios partners Jermaine Jenas in central midfield. There's also some reshuffling in defence with Verdan Corluka replacing Alan Hutton at right-back and William Gallas covering for the banned Michael Dawson. Jonathan Woodgate, missing with injury since November 2009, is on the bench, along with two goalkeepers."

Mandeep Sanghera reports:
"Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish leaves new forward signing Luis Suarez on the bench with Dirk Kuyt set to play up front. Sotirios Kyrgiakos, Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger each start which either means a three-man central defence or Agger at left-back and Glen Johnson on the right of midfield. Jamie Carragher is on the bench. Stoke make five changes to the side which beat Wolves in the FA Cup as Asmir Begovic, Danny Higginbotham, Marc Wilson, Jermaine Pennant and Dean Whitehead return to the starting line-up. Pennant and Salif Diao line up against their former club."

Saj Chowdhury reports:
"How will Newcastle cope without star striker Andy Carroll? Well, before his £35m transfer he hadn't played for the Magpies since the start of the year and in that time the club picked up eight points from 12. Deal of the millennium so far? Fulham fans, perhaps expectedly, saw their club make just a few minor moves in the market, but will the loan signings be enough to help the club pull clear of the dreaded fringes of the drop-zone?"

fatshow on Twitter: "The return of Chung Yong Lee should give us a boost tonight. Heaven knows we need it!"

McBoroEddie on 606: "Fresh from scoring a hat-trick at the weekend, Victor Obinna is moved from up front to midfield for West Ham. Just wow."

Julian Shea reports:
"Blackpool will be looking to end a run of just one win in their last six league games when they entertain bottom of the table West Ham tonight. Ian Holloway will be thrilled to still have captain Charlie Adam at his disposal after they managed to hold on to him in the transfer window. West Ham, who have conceded 10 goals in their last three League games, will be hoping the goals of new loan signings Robbie Keane and Demba Ba could lead them out of the relegation mire, where they have been stuck all season so far."

Oliver Brett reports:
"Expect confidence to be in short supply as Bolton, winless in five Premier League encounters, take on Wolves, who have lost three of their last four. The three points are more important for the visitors, who can pull three points clear of bottom club West Ham with a win tonight."

Kevin Darling reports:
"A few weeks ago, Tottenham were being talked about as genuine title contenders and Blackburn were hovering just above the relegation zone. Only three league places separate them now, with Rovers boss Steve Kean quietly shepherding his side up the table and Spurs winless in four, culminating in their FA Cup humiliation at Fulham three days ago. Harry Redknapp's side are also skating perilously close to "bare bones" territory, particularly in defence where forgotten man Jonathan Woodgate reappears on the bench after more than a year out."

Kingson, Eardley, Baptiste, Cathcart, Carney, Reid, Vaughan, Adam, Taylor-Fletcher, Campbell, Varney. Subs: Rachubka, Southern, Evatt, Harewood, Grandin, Puncheon, Beattie.
West Ham: Green, Jacobsen, Gabbidon, Tomkins, Bridge, O'Neil, Noble, Parker, Obinna, Piquionne, Keane. Subs: Boffin, Reid, Cole, Boa Morte, Kovac, Sears, Ba.
Referee: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire)

Mandeep Sanghera reports:
"Liverpool fans have been put through an emotional ringer in the past week. Their former hero Fernando Torres left them feeling betrayed by leaving for Chelsea, while the hurt of his exit has been softened by the signings of forwards Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll. The former is on the bench against Stoke but the latter is injured. If he does come on, Suarez can expect a physical Stoke-style welcome but, despite bullying the Reds into defeat in the reverse fixture in November, the Potters have not won at Anfield since a match in the old Division Two in March 1959."

1934: Midweek Final Score is now available for your viewing pleasure at the top of this screen. If you can't see it, you will need to refresh this page if you will. Ey fank yaow.

Robinson, Salgado, Samba, Nelsen, Olsson, Andrews, Dunn, Jermaine Jones, Hoilett, Roberts, Diouf. Subs: Bunn, Kalinic, Grella, Pedersen, Nzonzi, Mwaruwari, Hanley.
Tottenham: Gomes, Corluka, Gallas, Bassong, Assou-Ekotto, Van der Vaart, Jenas, Palacios, Lennon, Crouch, Defoe. Subs: Cudicini, Pavlyuchenko, Kranjcar, Sandro, Khumalo, Woodgate, Pletikosa.
Referee: Andre Marriner (W Midlands)

1932: BIRMINGHAM v MAN CITY (1945)
Mark Ashenden reports:
"A tale of two ends of the table. Birmingham, magic in the cups but a little stinky in the league, are scrapping for their Premier League survival and have won only once in eight league games. Man City are third and still pushing for the title and desperate to bounce back from a defeat at Aston Villa. Pundits are saying goals are guaranteed. I reckon four. Don't ask me which team will get them. I'm no octopus."

1930: BOLTON v WOLVES (2000)
Jaaskelainen, Ricketts, Cahill, Knight, Robinson, Lee, Holden, Mark Davies, Taylor, Elmander, Kevin Davies. Subs: Bogdan, Muamba, Petrov, Sturridge, Klasnic, Moreno, Wheater.
Wolverhampton: Hennessey, Zubar, Berra, Stearman, Elokobi, Hammill, David Jones, Henry, Edwards, Jarvis, Doyle. Subs: Hahnemann, Craddock, Ebanks-Blake, Fletcher, Ward, Milijas, O'Hara.
Referee: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire)

Clamour_Kid on Twitter: "I'm glad Spurs strengthened in January. It shows on the bench. Two goalkeepers?!"

1928: BIRMINGHAM v MAN CITY (1945)
Mark Ashenden reports:
"Changes all round. Seven for the hosts Birmingham City with David Bentley continuing but what about their debutants? Curtis Davies is on the bench and Obafemi Martins is not even in the UK. Visa problems apparently. Man City make five changes with Carlos Tevez overcoming a dodgy back and will partner new boy Edin Dzeko up front. Remember - four goals OK?"

1926: Now obviously we want to you chat your mouths off about all things footy over on our thread on 606. But for those of you wanting to talk all things Gary Neville, you can do so on our special Neville thread. Aren't we nice? Happy days.

1925: FULHAM v NEWCASTLE (2000)
Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Baird, Dempsey, Sidwell, Murphy, Duff, Andrew Johnson, Dembele. Subs: Stockdale, Salcido, Gera, Kamara, Kakuta, Greening, Davies.
Newcastle: Harper, Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini, Jose Enrique, Barton, Nolan, Guthrie, Gutierrez, Best, Ameobi. Subs: Krul, Campbell, Lovenkrands, Perch, Ranger, Ferguson, Richardson.
Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire)

Josh, Bristol via text: "Re: 1913 Completely agree - quite a few matches where both sides might settle for a point. A good night for Football Pools players!"

LFC fans Unite on 606: "Looking at the Liverpool starting line-up, is Johnson finally going to play at right wing?!"

Football League Danny: "If last night was a three-hour Hollywood blockbuster, tonight is more of a homegrown animated short. But there is still intrigue, particularly for those partial to a League One relegation mix-up. Notts County (19th) host a Walsall side which might be rock-bottom but is also rocking from a 6-1 battering of relegation rivals Bristol Rovers on Saturday. Speaking of The Gas, they want to bounce back from the weekend woe by hosting an MK Dons side which is eyeing the play-offs - but is notoriously poor on the road..."

1921: LIVERPOOL v STOKE (2000)
Reina, Kelly, Kyrgiakos, Skrtel, Agger, Johnson, Lucas, Gerrard, Aurelio, Meireles, Kuyt. Subs: Gulacsi, Suarez, Maxi, Carragher, Ngog, Poulsen, Shelvey.
Stoke: Begovic, Wilkinson, Faye, Huth, Higginbotham, Pennant, Wilson, Diao, Whitehead, Carew, Walters. Subs: Sorensen, Collins, Whelan, Jones, Fuller, Delap, Etherington.
Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire)

1920: BIRMINGHAM v MAN CITY (2000)
Foster, Carr, Johnson, Jiranek, Ridgewell, Bentley, Ferguson, Bowyer, Gardner, Jerome, Zigic. Subs: Doyle, Larsson, Phillips, Fahey, Hleb, Beausejour, Davies.
Man City: Hart, Boateng, Richards, Kompany, Kolarov, Milner, De Jong, Barry, Silva, Tevez, Dzeko. Subs: Given, Zabaleta, Lescott, Vieira, Jo, Toure, Guidetti.
Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire)

rob_gb on Twitter: "Blackpool are five points clear of relegation and with two games in hand. Villa and Everton are in more trouble than Blackpool!"

Robbie Keane makes West Ham debut at Blackpool, who hand a debut to Andy Reid, with James Beattie and Jason Puncheon on the bench.

New boys Daniel Sturridge and Jamie O'Hara start on the bench for Bolton and Wolves, respectively.

Roque Sants Cruz misses out for Blackburn v Tottenham, who makes five changes from the side beaten 4-0 at Fulham on Sunday, Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch up front in a 4-4-2 with Rafael van der Vaart on the right and Aaron Lennon on the left. Jonathan Woodgate starts on the bench.

Man Utd defender Rio Ferdinand on Twitter: "Gary Neville has retired from football...the best right back in Premier League history - FACT. Gonna be a loss to our dressing room. Nev is loyal, funny, dedicated and talented....a true Man Utd legend. Gave his all for the club he supported and won a load of medals."

1913: Mark Lawrenson on BBC Five Live on Gary Neville: "Has there been a better right-back in the Premier League? I can't think of anybody. He has been an absolutely outstanding player and especially in a team where new right backs come along every week. Did he maximise his career? Yes. Once your legs go, they go - they never come back!"

UzzY_K on Twitter: "Gary Neville - Man Utd and England's greatest right-back... Will be missed!"

lmrda on 606: "All six matches are too close to call, especially in this wacky season we're having. Let's just hope for lots of goals like yesterday."

1911: Plenty of reason for you to dive head first into this here commentary, then, no? You can Tweet the commentary via the hashtag #BBCFootball or ask me a question direct @sampatricklyon, chat over on 606 or text me via 81111 (UK).

1909: In short, whether you consider your team's ambitions to be survival, security, a European place or the title, there is something for everybody. On the back of a night when we averaged 4.25 goals a game, and on a day when a box of cup-cakes were delivered to my desk as a rather delightful surprise, I'm feeling optimistic.

Obafemi Martins isn't involved for Birmingham, though Curtis Davies starts on the bench, while Edin Dzeko starts up front for Man City.

Luis Suarez starts on the bench for Liverpool against Stoke.

1906: ...And then there are you what you might call your current 'inbetweeners'. One eye on the drop zone, the other on the upper echelons of the league, it's getting to that stage in the season where you want to be heading in the right direction...

1905: ...At the other end of the table, things get even juicier. The draw between West Brom and Wigan last night ensures the door to safety has been left ever so temptingly ajar... something the likes of West Ham, Wolves, Birmingham, Fulham and, arguably, Blackpool will be ever so keen to take advantage of you would've thought...

1903: But, as we all know, things can change oh so quickly in football. Last night, Arsenal, Chelsea and Man Utd all stuck their flags in the sand. With 14 matches left in the season, 10 points separating the trio, and the Blue half of London having signalled their intent with the purchases of Fernando Torres and David Luiz on Monday, all three consider themselves bang in the title race. Gauntlet thrown down... all eyes now turn to how their rivals respond this evening...

1902: I guess fittingly, given his CV, Gary Neville quits the game with his side top of the table and still in the mix for Champions League and FA Cup glory. Not a bad time for any player to bow out, I suppose.

1900: After 602 domestic games, seven goals, 85 international caps, three European trophies including the Champions League and 13 domestic cups including eight Premier League titles, Man Utd and England right-back Gary Neville, 35, has retired with immediate effect. Like him or loathe him, that's big news in anyone's book.

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Barclays Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 2 Feb 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Man Utd 24 32 54
2 Arsenal 24 27 49
3 Man City 25 17 46
4 Chelsea 24 25 44
5 Tottenham 24 7 41
6 Sunderland 25 2 37
7 Liverpool 25 2 35
8 Bolton 25 0 33
9 Blackburn 25 -7 31
10 Newcastle 24 2 30
11 Stoke 24 -2 30
12 Fulham 25 0 29
13 Blackpool 24 -9 28
14 Aston Villa 25 -15 28
15 Everton 24 -3 27
16 West Brom 24 -14 26
17 Birmingham 23 -10 24
18 West Ham 25 -17 24
19 Wigan 25 -19 23
20 Wolves 24 -18 21

see also
Wednesday's football photos
02 Feb 11 |  Football

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