Editorials — November 29, 2011 19:22

Liverpool V Man City (Match Report)

Posted by

This season’s runaway leaders Manchester City have been steam rolling teams on a regular basis. With 950 million pounds worth of investment, Man City have been rampant, scoring goals and thrashing teams for fun. Both Manchester United and Tottenham have been on the receiving end of humiliating score lines, 6-1 and 5-1 respectively. Having dropped only two points all season, Man City have become a real threat this season,

But for all the fanfare Man City’s record at Anfield was not anything to ride home about – only  one win in almost 10 years. If Man City had a point to prove about their title credentials, this would be the game to show it. But King Kenny’s men know how to upset the odds and were on a decent run themselves with a fantastic win over Chelsea last weekend. This was also an opportunity for the Reds to show how far they had come.

The Match

The King made two changes from the game against Chelsea. In came Henderson and Downing for Maxi and Bellamy. Bellamy had been given special dispensation by the club following the tragic news of Gary Speed’s death. Both teams wore black armbands and a minute’s silence was impeccably observed showing.

Man City started the game stronger, moving the ball slickly and trying to find a way past Liverpool’s rearguard. The Reds held firm but a sloppy pass back from Jose Enrique let Aguero through. But Liverpool captain Reina rushed out in his best Brucie impression to smother the ball and whack it out for a throw in. Liverpool could not afford to give silly goals away to such a clinical side. Man City looked increasingly comfortable on the ball and Aguero skipped past two players inside the box, reaching the byline but not having enough space to turn it into the danger area. Meanwhile, Liverpool were using the ball well in midfield but their momentum was breaking down when getting to the final third.

Liverpool eventually did settle following the Man City’s strong start, and began to win corners through pressing Man City’s midfield and defence. As the half wore on, getting the first goal became even more crucial, it was end to end stuff but Man City struck first. Silva swung in a corner to the near post and Vincent Kompany was on hand to put the ball into the far corner of the net off his shoulder. The goal wasn’t the greatest to concede on Liverpool’s part with Dirk Kuyt losing Kompany and taking down Johnson, who may have got his head to the ball. With Man City in front, Liverpool would need to find something and they did, immediately!

Gareth Barry slid in dangerously on Kuyt and deservedly got booked. After Barry gave the ball away again, a cross went into the box and was cleared by Kompany only as far as Charlie Adam. Adam, perhaps remembering Andy Carroll’s strike from last year in exactly the same position, tried a low shot from 25 yards. It was going wide, but hit Julian Lescott on his heel and dribbled into the opposite corner from the stranded Joe Hart. 1-1. The famous Kop roared and for the first time this season Man City looked shell shocked and Liverpool were in the ascendency.

Within a few minutes of scoring Luis Suarez threaded a beautiful ball through for Kuyt who took it wide but dragged it back for Adam who struck the ball low, only for Hart to stick his leg and force a save.. With Man City holding on Liverpool launched into wave after wave of attack. Glen Johnson came close next with a wonderful effort. Brimming with confidence from last weekend, Johnson went on one of his foraging runs and cut inside on his left. A curling effort that looked in went inches round the post. Half time came with Liverpool on top.

Liverpool were cautious in the first 10 minutes but then took the game by the scruff of the neck and created some fantastic chances. Stewart Downing had a chance from a short corner, his volley took a bounce off the turf and forcing Hart into another save. The Liverpool onslaught had Man City camped in their own half for extended parts of the game. Man City were looking more and more ragged and fatigued. The Liverpool pressure got to substitute Mario Ballotelli who found himself picking up two needless bookings, one for tugging back Glen Johnson the other for an arm across Skrtel’s face. Roberto Mancini’s reaction pointing to the dugout and the disbelief on Balotelli’s face made for the Man City’s manager’s claims that Liverpool players got him sent off laughable.

Two good chances came in the last 10 minutes with Suarez nutmegging Lescott and firing a shot that Hart did well to save. On came Carroll with a pretty impressive record against City. In the dying moments a cross from Johnson found the Number 9’s head and with net about bulge, Hart managed to get his arm across and palm it away. The ball fell to Suarez who shot from a tight angle, but once again Hart had the final say, a remarkable double save from England’s number one keeper.

The final whistle blew and Man City’s players were congratulating each other as if they had won. It wasn’t victory but a hard fought draw. A team that had been steam rolling teams around the Premier League finally met their match at Anfield.

Goalkeepers having their best games at Anfield

It seems to be flavour of the season at Anfield, opposition goalkeepers seem to be on top form against us. Hart’s double save was just one of the long list of outstanding saves made at Anfield in this season. Add Hart to the list of De Gea, Vorm (Swansea City), Ruddy (Norwich) and Mignolet (Sunderland), they have all had their best games against us at Anfield.

Final Thoughts

 

Taking 4 points out of 6 is not bad going, especially when you’ve played Chelsea and Man City back to back. However, considering how many chances we created during the game, there still remained a sense of frustration in not claiming all three points. It was a good game and Man City were a real test, but once Liverpool came into the game they bossed it. Man City were a shadow of themselves, and faded away as the game went on, Man City were there for the taking. Clinical is a word that has been mooted many times in describing Liverpool’s fortunes in front of goal. Securing the services of an experienced striker during the January transfer window should be our number one priority. Chances are being created but not being converted, and this needs addressing.

Although Lucas put in a Man of the Match performance, Daniel Agger, Martin Skrtel, Charlie Adam and Suarez all could have claimed the award. Liverpool are playing like a unit now, pieces of the jigsaw are slowing coming together. Understanding and confidence between the players is growing enormously and is being reflected on the pitch.

Confidence is growing – Liverpool are making the right noises again – In Kenny we trust.

Tags:

Leave a Reply

— required *

— required *