Man City 2-2 Liverpool – Dominant Reds Undone by Reina Walkabout

Photo courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

By Jonathan Carroll

In the space of five days, Brendan Rodgers saw his side go to two top four sides and come away with two points. On the face of it the net take home is not that impressive but the point tally does not take into account the performances. At the Emirates on Wednesday and the Etihad on Sunday, Steven Gerrard and co showed a confidence and an ability to go away from home and compete with the best teams in the league, making a mockery of the fact they havent beaten a top ten team all season. 

This Liverpool performance was undone by a lapse in concentration that lead to Edin Dzeko’s tap in following a good exchange of passes that lead to James Milner pulling the ball back for Dzeko. Dzeko’s movement was fantastic as he got on Daniel Agger’s blindside and the ball was measured to perfection. Soon after City and their supporters were up in arms after the referee failed to award a free kick to Dzeko after a tackle by Agger. Liverpool, as they should have played on. City failed to clear the ball and when Gerrard found Daniel Sturridge twenty yards out, the former city man found the net with a low drive. There was no head injury and the referee deemed it not to be a foul so the argument for Liverpool putting the ball out of play so a player can stand up is ridiculous.

Photo courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

With Jose Enrique restored to the back four, Liverpool looked more composed with Glen Johnson in his preferred right back position. A midfield of Gerrard and Jordan Henderson worked tirelessly all evening as they closed down City’s midfield. Lucas Leiva looks a step slower than those around him, hopefully the Brazilian is slowly building back to one hundred per cent fitness. The defensive midfielder is first rate when top of his game.

Photo courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

If there was one criticism of Liverpool in this game it would be that they didn’t create too many clear-cut chances. The two goals were long range efforts and runs from midfield beyond the striker were few and far between with only Henderson and occasionally Gerrard looking to do so. Even so, this was a masterful performance away from home, almost tactically perfect except for the individual mistake by Reina.

Photo courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

On seventy-three minutes Steven Gerrard picked up a wayward clearance twenty-five yards out, chested the ball down and drove a spectacular dipping volley into the left hand bottom corner that lit the fuse to hysterical celebrations in the away end. It was the skipper rolling back the years to when these long range efforts were commonplace and almost expected week in and week out. A goal worthy of winning any match.

Photo courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

City looked devoid of any creativity following David Silva being replaced by Maicon. Sergio  Aguero chased down a through ball that lead him to the edge of the eighteen yard box close to the end line. To Liverpool’s supporters surprise Jose Reina raced out of his goal, shepherding his fellow Spaniard wide, amazingly enough Aguero curled home an effort from an impossible angle. Reina was indeed at fault but nine times out of ten Aguero misses that chance. It was indeed a wonder goal by anyones standards and shouldnt be classified as anything less that a stroke of genius.

Photo courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

Liverpool’s progress under Rodgers has indeed been highlighted this week as Liverpool went to and took the game to Arsenal and Manchester City. The critics who say there is little difference between Roy Hodgson and Brendan Rodgers clearly didn’t have to suffer through Hodgson’s short reign in which Liverpool played their worst football ever. Compare Hodgson’s Liverpool when they traveled to City in 2010 against Rodgers Liverpool on Sunday and there is a vast gap between the two. Neither is close to Liverpools height of success but many forget where Liverpool have come from in such a short space of time. Ran into the ground by two cowboys, literally, then football operations were taken over by the vile Christian Purslow who deemed Hodgson a better manager than Benitez. That was ony the beginning of the overhaul at the club who were in the wrong hands. Rodgers Liverpool is not the finished article but there have been positive signs that progress is indeed taking place. Rodgers was interviewed following the game and insisted that the individual mistakes will be eliminated, “I can’t fault the players. They were absolutely brilliant and showed real character. Once we cut out mistakes, draws will be wins.”

Match Statistics

Man City                                      Liverpool

Possession                       44%                                               56%

Shots                                 9                                                    21

Shots on Target                 5                                                   12

Corners                             9                                                   10

Manchester City

  • 01 Hart – 6
  • 05 Zabaleta – 8
  • 06 Lescott – 5
  • 22 Clichy – 5
  • 33 Nastasic – 5 (Kolarov – 56′ ) – 6
  • 07 Milner – 8
  • 14 Garcia – 5 (Booked)
  • 18 Barry – 6 (Nasri – 88′ )
  • 21 Silva – 7 (Maicon – 74′ )
  • 10 Dzeko  – 4 (Booked)
  • 16 Aguero – 7

Substitutes

  • 30 Pantilimon
  • 03 Maicon
  • 13 Kolarov
  • 08 Nasri
  • 11 Sinclair
  • 17 Rodwell
  • 32 Tevez

Liverpool

  • 25 Reina – 7
  • 02 Johnson – 7
  • 03 Jose Enrique – 6 (Skrtel – 75′ )
  • 05 Agger – 6
  • 23 Carragher – 6 (Booked)
  • 08 Gerrard – 8 (Booked)
  • 14 Henderson – 8 (Booked)
  • 19 Downing – 6
  • 21 Lucas – 6
  • 07 Suarez – 7
  • 15 Sturridge – 8 (Booked) (Allen – 90′ )

Substitutes

  • 01 Jones
  • 37 Skrtel
  • 47 Wisdom
  • 24 Allen
  • 31 Sterling
  • 33 Shelvey
  • 29 Borini
Referee: Taylor
Attendance: 47,301
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