Liverpool 2-2 Man City (Agg 3-2) Bellamy Fires Reds to Wembley

By Jonathan Carroll

Arguably the best piece of business done at Anfield last summer was be the signing of Craig Bellamy from Manchester City on a free transfer. To compare Bellamy to the other summer recruits is an article for another time. Wednesday night at Anfield, Bellamy gave a vintage performance, harassing defenders, make smart runs off the ball and showing up when Liverpool needed someone to grasp a hold of the game to score the all important goal that ensured Kenny Dalglish’s men returned to Anfield South to take on Cardiff in the Carling Cup Final, the only trophy Dalglish has never won as manager.

Entering into Wednesday nights semi-final second leg, Liverpool’s team sheet was notably void of a defensive midfielder. Given that David Silva had torn many Premier League teams to shreds already this season it was a huge worry. Steven Gerrard gave one of his best defensive midfield performances to neutralize Silva and orchestrate a very efficient midfield showing, even if Charlie Adam was largely absent in the second half. Dalglish’s team lined up in a 4-5-1. Gerrard anchored the midfield in a more defensive role with Jordan Henderson allowed a more advanced position and Charlie Adam slotting back in beside Gerrard to help out defensively at times. Indeed it was Adams lack of positional sense that allowed Nigel De Jong to put the visitors one nil up with a curling twenty-five yard effort.

Liverpool responded well and were awarded a penalty ten minutes later for a Micah Richards handball after Daniel Agger’s shot struck Richard’s arm as he flung himself to stop the oncoming shot. Gerrard once again faced off with Joe Hart and again scored by placing the ball in the same corner as he did at the Etihad Stadium two weeks prior.

The second half saw a determined Liverpool launch wave after wave of attacks, quite the opposite from Saturdays loss at Bolton. Joe Hart was in sensational form stopping efforts from Martin Skrtel, Stewart Downing and Dirk Kuyt. Craig Bellamy was at the heart of everything positive and gave City a headache throughout the evening, something Roberto Mancini will cringe over given his dislike for the Welshman. It was to get better for Mancini before it got worse, Edin Dzeko slotting home Kolarov’s inch perfect cross after sixty-seven minutes to put City ahead on aggregate.

Seven minutes later Dirk Kuyt cut in from the right, Bellamy exchanged passes with Glen Johnson in the eighteen yard box before curling home an equalizer on front of a delirious Kop. It was just rewards for the Welshman and Dalglish’s hard-working team. Quite the response after last Saturdays letdown at the Reebok. Dalglish will feel his public criticism of some of his players will have been justified given the response, something every good manager has done throughout time. Its a thin line, public criticism must be timed correctly and should never become a regular occurrence.

The other half of Manchester awaits on Saturday morning, this time in the FA Cup, Dalglish’s troops will need to show the same grit and determination if they want to advance. I’m sure the Patrice Evra/Luis Suarez case wont be mentioned too much between now and kick off in the English press.

Liverpool

2-2

Man City

FT

(HT 1-1)(agg 3-2)

  • Gerrard (pen) 41

  • Bellamy 74

  • De Jong 31

  • Dzeko 67

Liverpool

  • 25 Reina – 7
  • 02 Johnson – 6
  • 03 Jose Enrique (yellow card) – 7
  • 05 Agger – 8
  • 37 Skrtel – 7
  • 08 Gerrard (yellow card) – 8
  • 14 Henderson – 6
  • 19 Downing – 7
  • 26 Adam – 5
  • 18 Kuyt – 6 (Carroll 90+1)*
  • 39 Bellamy – 9 (Kelly 88)*

Substitutes

  • 32 Doni,
  • 16 Coates,
  • 23 Carragher,
  • 34 Kelly,
  • 11 Maxi,
  • 33 Shelvey,
  • 09 Carroll

Man City

  • 25 Hart – 10
  • 02 Richards – 6
  • 05 Zabaleta – 6
  • 06 Lescott – 5
  • 13 Kolarov (yellow card) -7
  • 15 Savic – 4 (Aguero 46) – 6
  • 18 Barry – 7
  • 19 Nasri – 6
  • 21 Silva – 6
  • 34 De Jong – 7 (Johnson 78)*
  • 10 Dzeko – 7

Substitutes

  • 30 Pantilimon,
  • 22 Clichy,
  • 44 Rekik,
  • 07 Milner,
  • 11 Johnson,
  • 20 Hargreaves,
  • 16 Aguero
*30 minutes of playing time required to gain player rating

Referee:Phil Dowd

Attendance: 44,590

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This entry was posted in Match Review and tagged , , , , , , by Jonathan Carroll. Bookmark the permalink.

About Jonathan Carroll

I’m a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Born and bred in Ireland I played Gaelic football and soccer while growing up and attended the prestigious Colaiste Ide in Dublin to prepare for a soccer scholarship to the USA. I played soccer at Thomas University in Georgia and was made team captain in my junior and senior years. I was honored to become an All-American in those same years. I graduated in 2007 and coached high school and collegiate level soccer programs incorporating year round strength and conditioning techniques with great success. I moved to Boston in 2011 and went on to work at Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning. I am currently the head strength and conditioning coach for the Boston Wolfe Tones Gaelic football team. Qualifications: Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA) USA Weightlifting Sports Performance Coach FMS Certified United States Soccer Federation “D” License Football Association of Ireland Certified

2 thoughts on “Liverpool 2-2 Man City (Agg 3-2) Bellamy Fires Reds to Wembley

  1. Pingback: The Manchester Double: Liverpool v Man United | The Red Letter

  2. Pingback: Reds head to Molineux for fourth match in 10 days | The Red Letter

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