written by Jamie McLaughlin website at www.anfieldnews.com
MANCHESTER CITY 3-0 LIVERPOOL MATCH REPORT
Liverpool went into the New Year with as tough a fixture as possible in facing Manchester City away from home. This would be the first of three times the teams would face each other this month in a hectic but important month for both clubs. Going into the match Manchester City were leading the League table but on the back of a defeat away to Sunderland less than 48 hours ago, whereas Liverpool had not played since Friday night when they beat Newcastle 3-1 without their star striker Luis Suarez who was serving a one match ban for his gesture to fans at Fulham, and now Liverpool would be without Suarez for a further 8 matches as the club broke the news that they would not be appealing against the ban set against him by the FA only hours prior to the game.
Dalglish made one change for the visit to Manchester with two goal hero from the Newcastle match, Craig Bellamy being left out for Dirk Kuyt. With Liverpool announcing that they would not be appealing against Suarez’s ban prior to the match meant that Andy Carroll would be the lone striker with Downing on the left and Kuyt on the right with the partnership of Spearing and Adam in the middle. Kenny kept faith with his miserly defence meaning that Carragher would once again be on the bench alongside the returning Steven Gerrard who would be a certainty to feature later on as works towards full fitness.
Liverpool sported black armbands for the match in respect for former player Gary Ablett who sadly passed away on Sunday night after a long illness. The travelling Kop chanted his name in respect.
Liverpool started the match with good possession and had a great chance to take the lead when Downing was sent clear by a great pass from Henderson but City goalkeeper Joe Hart was out very quickly to block the winger’s shot.
It proved to be a big moment in the match as two minutes later Liverpool fell behind when Kuyt was caught in possession before Aguero fired in a 25 yard shot which dipped below Reina. Moments later Reina had to save from Aguero as City looked for a second goal but Liverpool responded with Carroll heading an effort wide.
City almost doubled their lead when Dzeko’s deflected shot had Reina scrambling across his goal as the ball missed by inches. Liverpool came back into the match but were dealt a blow when Yaya Toure headed a Silva corner past Reina.
Liverpool went in at the half with a mountain to climb but came out for the second half full of purpose as the bossed possession. Kuyt almost pulled a goal back but for a brilliant block from Kompany after Carroll had set him up with the chance.
With Liverpool chasing the match Dalglish brought on Gerrard and Bellamy for Kuyt and Adam for the last half hour. Bellamy had a good effort just off target after cutting in from the left and Liverpool were given a lifeline when Barry was red carded after being shown a second yellow with 17 minutes to play, but their hopes were dashed within 2 minutes when City broke up the park resulting in Skrtel upending Yaya Toure in the penalty box. Milner made no mistake from the spot as Liverpool’s misery was compound.
I was glad to see Kuyt starting but disappointed Bellamy wasn’t starting with his pace. For me Carroll playing as a lone striker is a waste of time and for all the decent play we had we never got enough players in the box. There was never 3 goals in this match but we gave City the goals very easily. A big mistake from Reina with the first goal and poor defending from Johnson at the second with Skrtel making a needless challenge to give away a penalty at the third. I thought Jay Spearing played well but Charlie Adam is struggling just now and I think he should be dropped. We won’t lose as soft a goals again this season, but without Suarez goals coring is looking a problem.
Man Of The Match – Enrique – I thought he defended very well and tried to attack as often as he could. Good performance.