MAN CITY 3 – 1 LIVERPOOL

Liverpool had been given a challenge for one of their earliest games of the new Premier League season… Manchester City away.

The defending Premier League Champions were never going to give up three points easily… anyone predicting a 5-0 win or other high-scoring results for Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium was deluding themselves, Man city know how to score and do it regularly against all teams. Even them being at their own ground was an advantage for them.

We certainly did not play for a draw, but I have to say… the way Man City played reminded me of Chelsea’s “parked bus” defensive tactics, they had at least 8 men at pretty much all times defending any incoming attacks from Liverpool… we didn’t just have to get past a “back four” – their midfield acted like defenders for most of the game, giving them ANOTHER back four.

We found it very difficult to find open spaces and were tightly marked at all times. Unless one of our attackers ran at “super-speed” to lose a player, City’s players were stuck to us like glue and we couldn’t get a shot off before they came in to block it. Their goalkeeper (Joe Hart) had very few saves to make and it was not until the second half when we were able to put the ball behind him, into his net.

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The first half actually went quite well. It was even and both sides had their chances to score although only Man City would end up scoring in the first half… A defensive error from new left back Alberto Moreno as Stevan Jovetic got off a powerful shot which Mignolet could not save led to the first goal of the game around 40 minutes. I have to say, I still felt at half time that Liverpool could respond in the second half with an equalizer and then even perhaps go on to win.

The second half did not go as well as we had hoped. There was only around ten minutes of play before Man City managed to increase their lead, as Nasri assisted Jovetic to get his second goal of the game when he struck a shot that found its way into the bottom left corner of our net. Liverpool looked defeated from around 55 minutes. By about 70 minutes, Manchester City brought on a substitute – Sergio Aguero. The first thing Aguero did was to instantly come on and put the ball past Simon Mignolet as Man City got their third goal of the game. I was asking myself out loud… WHY CAN’T WE SCORE SO EASILY?

Sergio Aguero scored 17 goals in the Premier League last season

Sergio Aguero scored 17 goals in the Premier League last season

We needed to change players not just because of the frustratingly bad performances being given but also because Man City had been kicking us and shoving us and playing quite a physical game. We picked up injuries and by about 85 minutes in to the game, Glen Johnson limped off the pitch and we were forced to continue for ten more minutes (including injury time) as we played with ten men because we had already brought on Emre Can, Lazar Markovic and Rickie Lambert.

Of the three substitutes, Markovic and Lambert made the most difference. Can was barely noticeable, just being closed down and tightly marked as most of the other Liverpool players had been, and also getting himself a yellow card. I’ve been excited about what Can may be able to do for Liverpool ever since he transferred in to the club, but he has yet to display anything particularly spectacular in a competitive game… I’ll give him more time to do that for us, though. I don’t want to criticize him too much just yet after only two Premier League games played. I believe he may be very useful for us in the Champions League, especially if we play against any German teams- he knows them from playing in the Bundesliga. I have the patience to wait for him to give his best performances still.

Lazar Markovic looked DANGEROUS, despite only playing for a half hour when Coutinho came off after a poor performance.

Markovic got into open spaces and started taking shots of his own and also providing his team mates with important balls… crosses that had not been able to get into Man City’s penalty area before were now finding a man in a red shirt. Rickie Lambert was the man who had managed to receive one of those balls and eventually force the ball into their net, giving Liverpool their first goal. Lambert was unfortunately not credited with the goal – the referee claimed it was an own goal by Zabaleta but without Lambert being in front of the goalkeeper and the defender and smashing the ball towards the net, the goal would never have happened.

Lambert makes sure the ball finds its way into the net, even if it had to hit Zabaleta first.

Lambert makes sure the ball finds its way into the net, even if it had to hit Zabaleta first.

Despite the loss, there was positives to take from the game. We should seriously consider replacing Coutinho with Markovic maybe even from the very first minute. He could fit right into the starting eleven line up and show us what he can do for a full 90 minutes. I’d like to see that change made by Brendan Rodgers.  We will soon have Mario Balotelli to help assist with the goalscoring but Lambert is also an option that we could consider using after showing that he can make a difference to the game.

I was very heartbroken last season on the final day when Man City won against West Ham who we needed to win as we beat Newcastle to get our hands on the Premier League title. However, this defeat so early in the new season is not as heartbreaking – we have 36 league games left in the Premier League season and I’m full of confidence, faith and belief that Liverpool can go on to be title contenders near the end of the season.

NEXT UP… TOTTENHAM at White Hart Lane on Sunday 31st August.

YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE, REDS!

[written by] Stuart Drewery.

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I’m an Englishman (born and raised in Liverpool in the 80s). My whole family including my parents and grandparents were Liverpool fans so i was born into being a red.

I’ve seen Liverpool win the league (about 25 years ago) and I’ve been 100% loyal and committed while supporting the Reds through all the good times AND the bad times since the 80s.

I’m a die hard Liverpool fan (only supported ONE club in my whole life, Liverpool) and one of the most dedicated fans you’ll ever meet.

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