Liverpool 2 – Skrtel (34), Suarez (66)
Man City 2 – Yaya Toure (63), Carlos Tevez (80)
City scraped a point after drawing 2-2 with Liverpool at Anfield. Roberto Mancini opted to revert to the 3-5-2 system that was successfully used against Chelsea in the Community Shield, and for much of pre-season. However, City’s performance was well below par and the City collective will be relieved to have escaped with an underserved point.
City were dominant in possession for the early exchanges but did little to threaten the Liverpool defence. City’s first real chance of the game fell to Carlos Tevez who chased a lost cause and forced Liverpool ‘keeper Pepe Reina to palm the ball onto the post after bobbling along the face of the goal.
From then on Liverpool were more astute in possession and began to apply more concerted pressure on City. Liverpool earned a corner after Vincent Kompany very nearly scored a spectacular own goal after a defensive clearance. With City static in defence Martin Skrtel ghosted into the six yard box from deep and emphatically headed in Steven Gerrard’s corner kick to give Liverpool the lead after 34 minutes.
Up to half time City provided little in the way of a response and Liverpool looked good value for their lead. The second half picked up where the first half ended with Liverpool in control but it was City who managed to level the score as Yaya Toure pounced from point blank range after Martin Kelly fumbled a Tevez cross.
In spite of this, Liverpool were still in control and quickly restored the lead after a fine Luis Suarez free kick curled into the bottom corner of Joe Hart’s goal. City may feel slightly aggrieved that the free kick was awarded in the first place given that Jack Rodwell accidentally handled the ball whilst sliding to make a defensive block. Nevertheless, it still takes a vast amount of skill to score from such a great free kick from thirty-odd yards.
With Liverpool looking more threatening than City for the majority of the game it was hugely surprising when the Blues scored. Skrtel played a back pass in the vague direction of his goalkeeper but there was nobody there, apart from Tevez. The rejuvenated Argentine intercepted the woeful back pass and cleverly rounded the ‘keeper to level the score. The remainder of the game was frenetic with both teams trying to snatch a winner. Liverpool came the closest with an Andy Carroll header whereas City were unable to fashion a clear cut chance.
All in all, Roberto Mancini will be relieved to have earned a point but will be equally frustrated by a lethargic and complacent performance. In truth, City did not deserve anything from the game and were fortunate to be gifted two goals. I suspect that against better opposition City would have been comfortably beaten.
Reina, Johnson, Coates, Kelly (Jose Enrique), Skrtel, Gerrard, Lucas (Shelvey), Allen, Sterling, Suarez, Borini (Carroll)
Subs: Jones, Jose Enrique, Carragher, Henderson, Downing, Shelvey, Carroll
Man City Team:
Hart, Kompany, Zabaleta, Kolarov, Kolo Toure, Milner (Silva), Nasri (Rodwell), De Jong, Yaya Toure, Tevez, Balotelli (Dzeko)
Subs: Pantilimon, Lescott, Savic, Rodwell, Silva, Razak, Dzeko