Liverpool beat the League leaders on their own patch, and take revenge for last week’s defeat, with a 1-0 lead after the first leg of the League Cup Semi Final.
A Steven Gerrard penalty in the first half separates the teams, in what was a game of two halves. All the action was in front of Joe Hart in the first as Liverpool dominated, before the second half saw the reds defend their lead – with Man City being restricted to only a couple of decent chances.
Liverpool, in essence, took a leaf out of Man City’s book from last week, and applied the same tactics against them.
The reds will be disappointed that Jay Spearing limped off with what is believed to have been a hamstring injury. With Lucas and Suarez currently out of the team, the reds will need the battling midfielder for many tough games ahead.
For all their attacking capabilities, it was Vincent Kompany and Yaya Toure who were the big losses for Man City. One through suspension and one at the African Nations Cup.
Liverpool should have gone in to an early lead but Joe Hart was on hand twice to stop the reds – first with a dive to deny Andy Carroll before he a diving save from a Gerrard 25 yarder.
A Stewart Downing deflected shot also called Hart in to action.
Liverpool finally got the breakthrough when the clumsy Savic hacked at Agger in the penalty box. Gerrard despatched the ball in to the corner, although Hart guessed the right way and was fingertips close.
Adam came on to replace the injured Spearing.
City had a couple of half chances to the end of the first half but their shooting was wayward and didn’t cause Reina much trouble.
The second half saw City see a lot more of the ball although the reds kept them playing football at least 25 yards out. City’s best chance of the game came from a Martin Kelly backpass that Aguero pounced on – but good goalkeeping from Reina saw the threat nullified.
Reina did produce a good reaction stop to Richards header in another decent City chance.
Liverpool brought on Enrique for the ineffective Downing and as Bellamy faded in the second half, Carragher once again came on to his original playing position of central midfield.
Glen Johnson made a two footed tackle late on, cleanly winning the ball which generated some hypocrisy from Mancini afterwards. Kompany was sent off for a similar tackle at the weekend – a decision which left rightly left Mancini furious. But – following last weeks unpleasant card-waving from the Italian – in his post match interview he then suggested that Johnson should have seen red. Either you think they were both sending offs, or they both weren’t Roberto – you can’t have it both ways.
The reds saw the game out in some comfort. Liverpool could, and probably should, have had a bigger half time lead, but at the end of the 1st leg they will be relatively pleased with 1-0 first leg lead.
Man City head to Anfield in a fortnight’s time for the second leg.
Team: Reina, Kelly, Agger, Skrtel, Johnson, Downing (Enrique 59), Spearing (Adam 23), Gerrard, Henderson, Bellamy (Carragher 79), Carroll
Unusued subs: Doni, Coates, Shelvey, Kuyt
Goals: Gerrard pen 13