Man City and Liverpool played out an insipid draw at Eastlands today in a game which failed to ignite.
With both clubs harbouring Champions League potentials we expected a classic encounter, one maybe to match last season’s pulsating Liverpool victory – but the game never really got going and both clubs left with a meagre point.
Liverpool received a pre match boost as two of the reds most attacking players returned to the squad after lengthy lay-off’s – Torres and Benayoun starting on the bench. The reds have performed reasonably well in the Premier League since the turn of the year without these key figures – so it can only be promising that we may have them at our disposal for the final 11 games.
In hindsight, it’s a shame this game came just a little too early for them to have fully recovered.
After a briefly impressive midweek cameo, Ryan Babel was given an(other) opportunity to shine with a starting place – Kuyt occupied the centre-forward role with Rodriguez returning to the right wing.
Aquilani, who was disappointing mid-week, made way for the return of Lucas Leiva. Aurelio also missed out as Insua was recalled to the left back role.
The reds, actually, started brightly. A number of corners saw some decent deliveries from Gerrard but nobody was available to make the most of the advantage.
It was probably at the end of the half when Liverpool’s best chance arrived – Martin Skrtel’s head meeting Gerrard’s cross – but the ball went well wide from 8 yards.
In the second half it was Skrtel who almost let Adebayor in for goal before the Slovakian put in a brilliant tackle to prevent what would have been a great goalscoring chance.
Adebayor had City’s best chance, a powerful shot from outside the box which Reina pushed past the post.
The introductions of Bellamy and later Torres failed to turn this game in to anything more exciting and the only area of interest was how the reds managed to rack up 6 yellow cards. It was a surprising performance from the referee who seemed to have a very two-sided nature to his interpretation of fouls. Torres even managed to get a yellow for what was your bog-standard, and legal, shoulder charge.
The only winners from today’s game were Spurs and Aston Villa – who have now been handed a lifeline and the chase for fourth really is now a four-horse race.
Post Match Comments
“It was difficult. We were working very hard, we had control. I thought we could win, we could lose. Very close. At the end maybe a draw is fair.
As a manager you have to see your team as strong in defence, in attack we have to be a little bit better. Both teams were working hard trying to stop the other.”