Two defensive errors in the first half were compounded by a second half penalty as Liverpool went down 3-0 away at the Premier League leaders.
Shortly before kick off Liverpool announced their decision not to appeal against Luis Suarez ban, meaning the Uruguayan playmaker would miss the fixture and the 7 following fixtures.
The reds started with Stewart Downing and Dirk Kuyt as the wide men with Andy Carroll up front.
Liverpool had the early chance. Jordan Henderson fired in a defence splitting pass, but Stewart Downing’s tame shot was easily smothered by Joe Hart. The reds winger should have done better and the reds were made to pay shortly after.
In the 10th minute, from a Liverpool ball, Kuyt dwelled too long on the ball and it landed at the feet of Sergio Aguero. The Man City man smashed a long range shot, which Pepe Reina allowed under his body giving Man City a surprising lead.
As Liverpool continued to dominate in central areas, looking for ways through City’s resolute defence, City added to their lead.
City whipped in a corner, and Johnson lost YaYa Toure who headed above Reina in to the net.
With the rain piling down in Manchester the reds now faced the top of the table team, with all men behind the ball.
The reds dominated for most of the rest of the game, but were unable to get the ball through City in the important final third. Steven Gerrard and Craig Bellamy came on for the poor Dirk Kuyt and Charlie Adam, and looked more likely to grab the reds a goal back. Gareth Barry saw red for a second bookable offence, after a number of fouls throughout the game.
But the reds gave the ball away in Man City’s half and Yaya Toure powered through the reds defence – Martin Skrtel being adjudged to have taken the slightest knock and City were awarded the penalty. Roberto Mancini waved the imaginary card on the touchline in an attempt to get Skrtel sent off – an unpleasant site for a manager who has gained a lot of respect in English football.
James Milner smashed home the penalty to leave Liverpool with the same scoreline deficit as last season.
The scoreline flattered Man City but Liverpool’s problems returned. Liverpool’s wide men failed to create enough chances leaving Andy Carroll isolated and frustrated up front.
Suarez creativity will be missed. The likes of Downing, Adam and Kuyt are not providing enough creativity and Liverpool fans will be hoping that Steven Gerrard soon gains enough fitness to be back to starting games for the reds.
Man of the Match
Apart from his error at the corner Glen Johnson tried to make up for the lack of ability in the winger in front of him. Spearing also did a good job in ensuring the reds dominated the centre of the park, despite Adam’s lacklustre performance. Henderson also continues his improvement, but we elected to give our man of the match to the ever dependable Jose Enrique who appeared to be operating down the wing on his own.