Liverpool 1 Man City 1: Lessons learned from a cagey encounter
What did we learn from Liverpool's 1-1 draw with Premier League leaders Manchester City at Anfield on Sunday?
Luis SuÃ¡rez wins the battle of the South Americans
Two of South America’s most exciting talents were on show at Anfield, and while Sergio AgÃ¼ero has made a bright start to life in the Premier League, he was outshone by Liverpool’s tenacious SuÃ¡rez in an eventful 90 minutes. The Uruguayan kept City’s centre-half pairing of Joleon Lescott and Vincent Kompany preoccupied with his constant movement across the defensive line and his ability to produce an imaginative turn or nutmeg to create a yard of space. SuÃ¡rez has excelled in the lone striker role since his move from Ajax in January, providing a crucial outlet for the Reds when Kenny Dalglish adopts a more conservative approach.
David Silva silenced
Manchester City’s Spanish wizard David Silva was kept quiet by Liverpool’s packed midfield and it had an effect on the visitors’ second-half performance as they struggled to create any chances. Man-of-the-match Lucas Leiva ensured Silva was starved of time to carefully select his probing passes, leaving the attacking midfielder unable to unlock Liverpool’s primed defence. It is a testament to Silva’s hefty influence on the City side that they struggled to hit their normal rhythm with the Spain international kept at bay.
Of course, there are other candidates to challenge Silva for the accolade of City’s most important player. And one is Joe Hart, who performed superbly once again, particularly in the second half in front of the Kop. His first-half save to deny Charlie Adam earned plaudits with the England No1 using his feet to divert the midfielder’s shot wide. But there was better to come. With City reduced to 10 men and Liverpool Andy Carroll lurking, the home side looked destined for a late winner when Glen Johnson’s cross was headed towards goal by Carroll. The ball seemed to be looping away from Hart but the shot-stopper extended his left arm to make a magnificent save, pushing the ball clear and ensuring that Mancini’s side left Anfield with a point.
City’s full-backs impress
Gael Clichy and Micah Richards both sparkled at Anfield as they produced fine displays in their respective full-back roles. Clichy may not offer the same defensive presence as Aleksandar Kolarov but going forward he surpasses his Serbian rival. The former Arsenal left-back surged forward in support of City’s midfield time and again, ensuring Dirk Kuyt spent large periods of the game tracking the Frenchman’s forays into the Reds’ half. Meanwhile, Richards has established himself as Mancini’s first-choice right-back after some mixed form over the past few seasons. His tactical reading of the game has drastically improved, while his muscular frame acts as a menacing wall for opposition wingers.
Lady luck shines on both teams
There was an element of fortune in both goals. City opened the scoring after Kompany met Silva’s corner at the near post and mistimed his header – but the ball fortuitously bounced off the Belgian’s shoulder and nestled in the far corner of Pepe Reina’s net. And less than two minutes later Charlie Adam was the benefactor of some careless defending by Joleon Lescott – the Scot’s shot looked to be heading harmlessly wide before Lescott stuck out his left foot and deflected the ball past Hart and into the net.