Manchester City’s record at Anfield is, quite simply, abysmal. The last times the Blues tasted the sweet scent of victory in the red half of Merseyside was in May 2003 when Nicolas Anelka bagged a brace. Since then City have lost eight and drawn four times at Anfield in the league. Four points out of a possible 36 over a 13 year period is pretty shambolic, in all honesty. When you consider that since the 2008 takeover City have won away at some of the toughest grounds in the country, such as Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge and White Hart Lane, it is startling that a victory at Anfield remains elusive. Wednesday evening’s tie gives City a great opportunity to make amends to that record after the League Cup Final triumph of Sunday over the very same opponents. In preparation for the game, this edition of Halcyon Digest looks back to August 2012 when Roberto Mancini’s team of Champions travelled to Anfield.
In truth, it was a pretty shambolic performance from City and, in retrospect, set the tone for the season ahead. It was the second game of the 2012/13 season and City’s first away tie of the campaign. As defending Champions, Mancini’s team just about claimed the three points against Southampton on the opening day of the season with an unconvincing performance. Mancini would have been looking for his team to deliver a performance of conviction to show they were serious about defending their crown at Anfield. What followed was quite the reverse.
In the opposite dugout to Mancini was newly appointed Brendan Rodgers. The Northern Irishman’s nauseating charm offensive in the summer seemed to have galvanised his Liverpool team and they soon set about imposing their game onto a lacklustre City. The pace of a then 17 year old Raheem Sterling, making his league debut, coupled with the tenacity of Luis Suarez in attack caused City all manner of problems in the first half. It was hardly a surprise when Liverpool took the lead in the 34th minute when Martin Skrtel powerfully headed in Steven Gerrard’s corner.
Liverpool were good value for their lead at half time and it was in rather fortuitous circumstances that City managed to find a way back into the match. Carlos Tevez’s cross from the right seemed to have little threat initially, but a failed Liverpool clearance fell kindly to Yaya Toure who twisted and shot to put City back on level terms. Parity didn’t last for long, though. Just three minutes later Suarez put the hosts ahead with a sublime free-kick which he curled around the wall into the bottom corner of Joe Hart’s goal.
A Liverpool win would have been a fair result but City could thank another defensive mistake which allowed them to grab a point. Tevez made the most of a woeful back pass from Skrtel to round the ‘keeper and pass the ball into an empty net. Justifiably, Rodgers was unhappy with just a point after the match. On the contrary, Mancini seemed somewhat relieved and grateful after what was a terrible outing at Anfield.
City XI: Hart, Kompany, Zabaleta, Kolarov, K Toure, Milner (Silva – 76′), Nasri (Rodwell – 59′), De Jong, Y Toure, Tevez, Balotelli (Dzeko – 62′)
Subs not used: Pantilimon, Lescott, Savic, Razak
On this day, the fantastically named Devlin featuring Ed Sheeran was sitting at number 7 in UK Singles Chart with All Along The Watchtower.
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Written by Rob Toole