With Liverpool’s dreams of a title challenge this season crushed due to a disappointing start to the season focus has been placed on securing the hotly contested fourth place in the Barclay’s Premier League. Another team in contention for the final Champions League spot is Manchester City, coming to Anfield for the first time since their Arab takeover.
A host of players who have been sidelined in recent weeks returned for the Liverpool, including influential captain Steven Gerrard, midfielder Yossi Benayoun and centre-back Daniel Agger. Alberto Aquilani started the game on the bench despite many believing the Italian would make his first full debut in front of a sold-out Anfield.
The first-half saw more injury worries for under-pressure manager Rafael Benitez to deal with. Daniel Agger, who had just returned from a back injury took a knock to the head in the opening minutes, forcing him off the pitch with fears he may be concussed. Minutes later Nigel De Jong’s reckless yet unpunished challenge on Dutch winger Ryan Babel forced the youngster off with an ankle problem.
Chances were few and far between in the first 45 minutes, Martin Skrtel saw a well-placed header stopped brilliantly by City keeper Shay Given whilst City themselves created a host of chances in and around the Liverpool box but failed to find the back of the net.
The second half started brightly, Martin Skrtel again got a chance on goal from a Steven Gerrard cross, this time the Slovakian found the back of the net from six-yards out to give Liverpool a deserved lead.
Poor defending off a set-piece by Liverpool allowed Emmanuel Adebayor to get free header on goal, allowing to Togo born striker to get his first goal since his controversial celebration against former club Arsenal.
After continuing to pressure Liverpool’s weakened back four Stephen Ireland managed to convert a chance from close range. Although the Irishman looked to be in an offiside position referee Phil Dowd allowed the goal to stand, giving Manchester City the lead.
Liverpool were quick to bounce back however, with Yossi Benayoun tapping in the ball into an open net to bring Liverpool level with around twenty minutes left for one side to try and take home the three points and move up into fourth position.
Neither side broke the deadlock, although Liverpool midfield Lucas Lieva didn’t take advantage when he got a close range header during stoppage time, undoubtedly a mistake many of his critics will use to blast him.
Another poor result for an injury-struck Liverpool side. One positive to take from the game is the Reds’ looked much better going forward than in recent weeks, at least hitting the target with most of their chances. Defensively Liverpool fans will be worrying, a host of mistakes by usually reliable defenders cost Liverpool today, it’s something that must be put right if we want to stay in contention for a European Cup spot.