In what felt like a must win game against Liverpool yesterday, City came up short and only managed a 2-2 draw, meaning that United have a 9 point lead at the top of the table with 13 games of the season remaining. Despite only picking up 2 points from the last 6 available, a comeback in the title race is still feasible. That said, even the most optimistic person must have their doubts. City will need a major slip up from United if they are to retain the title in May. Here we take a look at the key talking points of the game.
City were outplayed
City performed well below par and were outplayed in almost all areas of the pitch. Liverpool enjoyed 56% of possession and had 21 shots to City’s 9 with 12 on target compared to City’s 5. Daniel Sturridge had a particularly good game and his pace and positioning frequently drew Matija Nastasic out of position and left Javi Garcia wanting in the midfield. Liverpool were particularly effective on the counter attack and City never quite got to grips with it.
City had the odd spell of domination, but on the whole Liverpool were the better side. Their high-tempo pressing game worked a treat and unsettled City. It’s disappointing to be outplayed by a side clearly so inferior to us in terms of personnel and an inquest will have begun at Carrington.
Early in the second half Mancini switched to a 3-5-2 with Milner and Kolarov playing as wing backs. The change was immediately effective as City were able to retain possession and pose an attacking threat to Liverpool.
Substitutions, however, were a different thing. Mancini is renowned for bizarre subs that at first leave you scratching your head but they then turn out to work wonderfully. Unfortunately that was not the case yesterday. After just going behind and chasing the game, Macion – who has been injured for most of the season – replaced the most creative and dangerous attacking threat in David Silva. Unless there was some kind of injury scare that I’m not aware of, it was the strangest change Mancini has made as City boss. And that is saying something.
Milner and Aguero were excellent
Our two standout players yesterday we James Milner and Sergio Aguero, the latter scoring a wonderful equaliser that will live long in the memory.
Milner’s attacking threat down both sides of the pitch was excellent and his tireless work ethic provided an attacking outlet in game where chances were at a premium. His pin point cross for Dzeko to open the scoring capped a fine performance.This came on the back of two less-than-impressive performances, so it was great to see him back in form.
Aguero was also outstanding, his pace and dribbling constantly put Liverpool on the back foot. His goal was simply extraordinary: to score from such an acute angle is nigh on impossible but his strike rescued a point. What a brilliant signing he has been.
Mancini lamented the fact that the referee did not stop the play after Daniel Agger fouled Edin Dzeko deep inside the Liverpool half that eventually lead to Liverpool’s first goal. The City players expected either Liverpool to kick the ball out of play or the referee to blow the whistle when Dzeko stayed down but that never happened. The challenge on Dzeko was without doubt a foul and It should have been a freekick to City, but from the moment the decision wasn’t given, City only have themselves to blame. Javi Garcia’s attempt at a clearance was embarrassing and Sturridge was given too much room and punished us with a great strike.