By Clay Cairns
On Tuesday I attended my first Liverpool game for over a year, fresh with optimism after a confident performance friday evening against Newcastle. Only minutes into the game and Stewart Downing could of put Liverpool in-front and I cant help but think how different the game may have ended if that chance would of been converted. Pepe Reina was to fault for the opening goal and his rare mistakes seem to be becoming more apparent. What seemed like minutes after Liverpool were two nil down and the game was just about over, considering they were facing high flying Manchester City. The optimism before the game ran throughout all Liverpool fans because of City’s recent upset away at the Stadium of Light. City must have been rubbing their hands in anticipation once the Liverpool starting line-up once announced that evening. Craig Bellamy and Steven Gerrard, Liverpool’s most productive players by a milestone on Friday night against Newcastle were both forced to take their places on the bench.
The downfall of Liverpool’s performance last night was not the overall performance but the lack of attacking quality. Andy Carroll seemed lost amidst a strong Manchester defense with poor or little service throughout the match. Carroll showed glimpses of nice footwork when he received the ball to feet but never really got a great chance at doing what he does best. Jordan Henderson had a decent performance and shined over a lackluster Liverpool. Once again it was the same story as the rest of the season, Liverpool possessed the ball for long periods of time and rarely tested Joe Hart in the City goal. Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger looked strong providing a steady ship to Liverpool’s guard. City created little chances to threaten Liverpool but set pieces and Reina’s sloppy mistake were their downfall. Craig Bellamy and Steven Gerrard created spark after coming off the bench but the game was already in the balance with City sat deep in their own half and playing counter-attacking football. Yaya Toure on two or more occasions broke freely and carried the ball at least 50 yards eventually leading to a penalty late on.
Liverpool must look to strengthen a average looking squad with Dirk Kuyt not looking the same player he once was and Charlie Adam struggling without the influence of Lucas. Another attacking creative player would bring life to Liverpool alongside the recovering Steven Gerrard. One or two lucrative signings and this Liverpool side could soon see themselves back where they belong alongside europe’s greats in the Champions League.