Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Reds in control against poor City

Steven Gerrard’s first half penalty gives Liverpool a vital lead, against a lacklustre and toothless Manchester City.

A distinct lack of atmosphere at the Etihad was apparent as everyone involved with City looked as if they were still smarting from their FA Cup exit at the hands of their neighbours. This was typified by Mario Balotelli who once again didn’t seem to ‘fancy it’ against Liverpool, and City’s lack of invention was alarming.

Before Gerrard’s excellent spot kick, Joe Hart had already denied Andy Carroll and the returning captain's effort, after a smart layoff from Stuart Downing.

Steven Gerrard
Much of the talk pre match was on how City would miss Vincent Kompany and that proved to be the case, when Stefan Savic recklessly fouled Daniel Agger in the area to round off a woeful opening for the young Serbian.

In terms of goalmouth action that was it really from Liverpool, Kenny Dalglish’s gameplan had worked a treat and crucially unlike last week they had managed to take advantage of their early dominance.

Balotelli was poor and his petulance following a foul by Charlie Adam summed his nights’ work up. His replacement Samir Nasri was placid and did little to show why he would be worthy of a regular starting spot a shadow of his Arsenal form.

Pepe Reina was solid all game and saved Martin Kelly’s blushes when he blocked off Sergio Aguero’s route to goal after the Argentine had been set free, he was also on hand to deny Micah Richards’ goal bound header.

It was a case of backs to the wall for Liverpool as they soaked up the City pressure, it was reminiscent of the Benitez era in Europe and just as his sides did got what they wanted.

The lack of David Silva’s invention and creativity was apparent as Nasri and co continually came up against a sea of red, which was solidified by Jamie Carragher who ensured that the backline held firm.

The Carling Cup
Tonight Liverpool have taken a huge step towards their first visit to Wembley since 1996, but they know that Manchester City will not be that poor again. It will be like a European night at Anfield to kick off a week that will see both Manchester sides visit in cup games. The League Cup it is a trophy Liverpool ever since their second round tie at Exeter have set out to win.

The Carling Cup might not be at the forefront of Mancini’s thoughts right now but he will want to add to his growing legacy at City and knows his side has it all to do in two weeks time in what is sure to be a ferocious atmosphere. 

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