Man City 3 Liverpool 0: Lesson learned from a comfortable victory
What lessons did we learn from Manchester City's 3-0 victory over Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night?
City’s perfect 10
Tuesday’s win marked Manchester City’s 10th successive league victory at the Etihad Stadium this season. Roberto Mancini’s side bounced back superbly from their shock defeat at the Stadium of Light, relying on their supreme form at Eastlands to realign their title challenge and move three points clear of fierce rivals United. As José Mourinho demonstrated so successfully with Chelsea during his time at Stamford Bridge, the staple of any side challenging for the title is to cash in at home – and City have done so ruthlessly, scoring 31 goals and conceding just four.
A Pepe Reina error comes once in a Blue Moon
Reina has carved out a reputation as one of the Premier League’s finest goalkeepers since moving to Anfield from Villarreal in 2005. The 29-year-old has consistently impressed, showcasing his agility and lightning-fast reactions – but the Liverpool number one was at fault for City’s opener. Lurking on the edge of the area, Sergio AgÃ¼ero unleashed a shot which appeared to be a routine save but the Spaniard misjudged it and it skidded under his body and into the net. A rare mistake from a top stopper.
Time for Stewart Downing to deliver
With many baulking at the £35m price paid for Andy Carroll last January, similar questions are now raised about Stewart Downing’s £20m price-tag. The England international arrived from Aston Villa this summer and looked set to be the solution to Liverpool’s much-maligned width problem. With Kenny Dalglish missing Luis SuÃ¡rez’s creativity for the next seven games, the Reds boss will be desperate for the 27-year-old to start delivering. Downing missed Liverpool’s best chance of the night early as Jordan Henderson’s incisive pass released the winger, who was unable to beat Joe Hart.
How Manchester City will miss Yaya Touré
Despite City’s obvious squad depth, Yaya Touré will be a huge miss for the league leaders when he departs for the Africa Cup of Nations. He doubled the home side’s lead when he outjumped Glen Johnson and directed a thumping header past Reina – and he played his part in City’s third, winning the spot-kick which James Milner converted. But the Ivory Coast international offers much more than just a towering presence from set pieces; the midfielder glides around the pitch with his muscular physique allowing him to brush off challenges with ease. Touré has become a mainstay of Mancini’s side, making 26 appearances this season – and City fans will surely be hoping that Ivory Coast crash out of the competition as soon as possible.
A tale of two strikers: Andy Carroll and Edin Dzeko
Much of the talk ahead of the game was of Andy Carroll’s current goal drought: the Liverpool striker has scored just twice this season. And while he failed to trouble City’s back four, the most disappointing performance came from City’s £27m striker Edin Dzeko, whose threat was easily nullified by Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel. The Bosnian’s movement was lacklustre and he showed little composure in front of goal as he extended his own goalless run to 10 games.