Sun 30th December @ 4pm
City of Manchester Stadium
Liverpool huffed and puffed and huffed some more but failed to break through a dogged Manchester City defence who keep their unbeaten home record intact.
Liverpool registered a total of 17 shots at the Man City goal, with the second half especially dominated by wave, after wave, of Liverpool attacks.
Benitez had changed the Liverpool team to the tune of 5 players from the poor Derby performance, which ironically had resulted in a win. Today’s performance was far better, but the end result was one which left both Chelsea and Arsenal two points further ahead in the chase for the title.
The reds now drift 10 points behind the Gunners (albeit with that long-standing ‘game in hand’) but the big worry for the reds will be the number of draws – 7 in 19 games. The two points against Chelsea, the three against United and now another two against City – all lost because of the reds inability to show enough aggressive impetus in the attacking third.
Fabio Aurelio provided a strong attacking impetus down the left side – arguably greater than the man playing in front of him – Harry Kewell. Fabio was a worry for the game after suffering with the flu – on this display an ill Fabio looks a far better prospect for the reds than a fit Riise.
Kuyt, as usual, worked his socks off up front – but when the best chance of the game fell to him – his header was too weak and Dunne was able to clear away from the line.
All credit to Man City for maintaining their excellent home record. Liverpool have been a misfiring side all season – one weak scoring goals with ease the next week found guilty of profligacy. The sign of a great title winning side is consistency. Benitez will be hard pushed to buy that in the January transfer window.
Post Match Reaction
“We’re a bit frustrated. We had a lot of chances, played well and had lots of possession. I’m pleased with the team but disappointed with the result.
“We had enough chances to win against a good team who are difficult to beat at home, and the commitment of all the players was fantastic.
“A clean sheet when you are playing away from home is a good thing but after 17 attempts on goal, you think you must win.”
Manchester City manager Sven-Goran Eriksson:
“I think we defended very well. It was a good game but there were not a lot of chances.
“I am happy with one point and happy with a clean sheet, which is good against Liverpool.
“We’re not disappointed. When you play like we did against a team like Liverpool, you can’t be disappointed. But I’m not 100% happy, because we wanted to win the game.”
Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Carragher, Arbeloa, Aurelio, Benayoun, Gerrard, Mascherano, Kewell (Babel 74), Torres, Kuyt.
Subs Not Used: Itandje, Riise, Voronin, Alonso.
Man City: Hart, Onuoha, Richards, Dunne, Ball, Ireland (Gelson 61), Hamann, Corluka, Petrov, Elano (Bianchi 70), Vassell (Geovanni 74).
Subs Not Used: Isaksson, Garrido.
Ref: Uriah Rennie (S Yorkshire).