5 Observations From Manchester City v Liverpool

Manchester City returned to their winning ways after thumping Liverpool by 3-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night. Goals from Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure and James Milner sealed the victory for the Citizens in a rain soaked night in Manchester. Liverpool could have taken the lead as early as the first seven minutes of the game when Jordan Henderson threaded an exquisite through-pass to Stewart Downing, leaving him in one-on-one with Joe Hart. However, the winger couldn’t slot the ball past the Manchester City goalkeeper.

When you waste your chances against a top team, you’re bound to pay the consequence. Minutes later, City opened the scoring through Sergio Aguero, though it should go down as a horrendous goalkeeping gaffe from Pepe Reina.

Liverpool had lots of possession in the middle without actually disturbing City’s defence. In the end City took all their chances in their stride and extended their lead at the top of the table. Here are five observations from the match:

1) Hallmark of a champion team Much has been said about City’s squad in the media. They have a great team with great individual performers who are capable of changing the vicissitude of a match single-handedly. The only aspect that remained to be seen was their mental fortitude – how they bounce back after the defeat against Sunderland was everyone’s interest. City was far from being resplendent tonight. However, the hallmark of a champion team is getting positive results even when you’re not in the best of form. Liverpool had a lion share of possession and if they could have taken their chances, the story might have been different. But ‘if’, ‘could’, ‘might’ doesn’t apply to a team that is aiming for the league glory. There’s the central difference.

2) Life without Suarez: Liverpool will have to start preparing for ‘life without Suarez’. Now that the Uruguayan will undergo his 8-match ban, Liverpool will have to cope up with his absence. At Etihad, the Reds cried out for a creative spark amidst the incessant rain. To be very honest, none of the Liverpool players have that charisma and caliber to make something happen out of nothing bar Suarez. Gerrard, maybe, but he needs players to support him. Liverpool have a difficult January and already they are feeling the heat of losing Suarez.

3) A conundrum whose name is Andy Carroll: Now, frankly let’s not kid anyone. Forget about the price-tag. What about the performance? A striker who can’t run, can’t dribble, can’t create space, can’t make intelligent passes, and can’t move. Liverpool got themselves into some very good positions in the match, but had to re-tract from those moves due to Andy Carroll. The striker can take satisfaction from the fact that his counterpart Eden Dzeko was equally awful and pathetic tonight.

4) Equally poor Downing and Johnson: Stewart Downing and Glen Johnson were equally poor throughout the match. In the second half after the introduction of Bellamy, the England winger shifted to the right hand side teeing up with Johnson. In came a barrage of poor crosses that failed to reach the target man. Johnson can’t cross a well known prescription, but what about Downing? The ex-Villa ace made his name for providing more crosses in the box. Liverpool had and have higher expectations for him.

5) Important to keep Bellamy fit: Now that Suarez is out of commission for over a month, Liverpool’s best chance of climbing up the table is to keep Bellamy and Gerrard fit. Downing had more shots on goal than any other Liverpool player apart from Suarez but he has yet to open his goal scoring account. And Dirk Kuyt is Dirk Kuyt. In that case putting money on Craig Bellamy is the safest bet.

P.S – Liverpool missed Lucas Leiva badly. In the reverse fixture, Lucas’s unbelievable engine and his overall dominance kept City midfielders (especially Toure and Silva) at bay. Unfortunately, Jay Spearing can never be his replacement.

Follow Saikat Mandal on twitter @Saikat_SAnchor

21 thoughts on “5 Observations From Manchester City v Liverpool”

  1. 1 observation I made about your “article”

    It is obvious that you did not pay attention to this match and you decided to” wing it” in this so called article.
    Kompany did not score yaya toure did and you would have known this if you watched it.
    Do not write about events that do not stir a passion in you, it just makes you seem incompetent.

    1. He likely wrote Kompany as Vinny had a headed shot saved 15 seconds before Yaya’s headed goal. Kompany also headed the ball a near countless amount of times today.

    2. Well at least you were self-confident enough to put your name in front of your criticism. Some people like to take potshots and hide behind an initialism, but not you.

  2. Here come the article police! Nitpicking for errors. Jeez, it was a typo for crying out loud! Meant to say one thing and said another. But hey, go ahead and discredit an entire article because of a typo. Probably bitter Liverpool fans. lol.

    1. I’ve been a city fan all my life. My criticism was based on a valid error yet you label me bitter.
      What is your criticsm based on?
      Do you know what a typographical error is?
      The writer knows it was a mistake not related to typing and he’s apologized to his readers of which I am one.
      Every excuse you made is full of holes, please crawl into one of them

  3. My 5 observations:

    1. Henderson looks like a lost puppy playing for Liverpool. He should have stayed at Sunderland where he belongs as he looks good on a midtable team.

    2. Downing has no end-product and doesn’t look like he cares when he misses badly which he has done on many an occassion this season.

    3. Adam is very inconsistent and makes the wrong decision at decisive moments when he tries to go it alone instead of pass to an open teammate. Another midtable-type player.

    4. Andy Carroll just doesn’t have the talent nor footballing IQ to be a success at the highest level.

    5. Liverpool’s buy-British policy is a failure and it was like watching men against boys. City have players who are technically better and with better footballing IQ. Liverpool had lots of possession with no end-product because they are incapable of thinking their way through a match.

    1. I agree on all your points. I will say that I think Henderson has a ton of potential, it’s just not all there yet. He had a sub par game, true, but he had that beautiful thru-ball that found Downing (I think) who missed a pretty decent chance thanks to Joe Hart. The simple fact is that Citeh are better all-around, even with Suarez. As a neutral observer, it was a good game to watch!

    2. I think you are spot on Frank. My additional observations upon seeing that lineup was that the squad and formation put out there wasn’t one designed to win, it was designed to try to gum up the midfield and eak out a scoreless draw, always a questionable strategy against a top squad…and especially when you don’t have Lucas to be the crunching tackling midfielder. Anytime you have Carroll up top alone, you aren’t going to be putting any real scoring pressure on the opponents. All the creative players available (Gerrard, Bellamy, even Maxi) were all on the bench and didn’t come in until their fate was already sealed.

      Carroll looks to be a bust, but he is especially one when he is the lone striker. And Henderson and Downing just don’t have the class needed for a top squad, they need replacement and badly.

    3. I’m a fan of Stoke and Liverpool, so I’m a bit comfortable with the performances of two lanky strikers, Crouch and Carroll. Crouch can be awkward at times, but he can dribble, pass, and score. Carroll, he gets the ball… well… he looks like he needs some more time to update his non-heading skills. Carroll has come close to scoring, but Liverpool needs some fire, someone that can do what Suarez is capable of.

      Carroll can be your set piece header man. Hopefully, and likely, he’ll improve. Everyone praises Lucas, but he did have issues a couple years ago of being a diver and reckless with the ball. Hopefully Carroll can make likewise improvement as a striker. Too bad we paid a final product price for a in-development talent.

  4. While I think Liverpool have missed Lucas, and will do, I don’t think it was thaaat evident yesterday. For the first goal, kuyt randomly dribbled and lost the ball, so spearing can’t be blamed too much for that – he didn’t think kuyt would lose the ball so easily. I thought Silva was nowhere near as influential as against other teams, and although Lucas did even better at Anfield, Spearing’s performance was by no means weak.
    The service was awful to Carroll, and his movement has been poor all season, but if we can actually get it to him, he seems decent at chesting/heading it down for shots. But he has been given a lot of chances, and if he doesn’t perform in this window of opportunity, time might be up

  5. To me the main take away from this game and the season in general is that even with Lucas and Suarez Liverpool have middle table quality team competing for Europa League spot. It is far cry from the team they had a few years ago with Xavi Alonso, Mascherano, fit Gerrard and in form Torres.

    And from a bit different perspective: one should definitely appreciate the trio of charming individuals Liverpool have upfront in Suarez, Carroll and Bellamy :)

    1. Liverpool has not recovered yet from losing Xavi Alonso and Yossi Benayoun. L’pool still had Torres, but the loses of Alonso and Benayoun were devastating.

  6. I think Kolo toure is still a weakness he can commit some boneheaded moves. Otherwise solid performance from Manchester City today. Good to see the depth in personnel pay off this time with all of the changes in the starting lineup. Away form needs to be better though.

    On a side note, Manchester City has the best official club site I have ever seen their TV highlights being available for everyone is great. I think Fulham does it too but not at the quality. Does any other teams (at any level or any country) show thier team’s highlights as well. The only other ones I know of are MLS (the whole league) and the Scottish 4th division club Queens Park.

    1. I would like to see a seperate EPLTalk blog on official club websites and rating the best and the worst if possible. Man City is #1 for sure.

  7. Carroll seems to be a detriment to Liverpool for a number of reasons. To me, the main one is that he alters the squad’s tactics to the point that all they so is serve crosses into the box looking for his head. With Suarez, Bellamy, or Maxi up front, there seems to be more creativity and balls being played to feet and sometimes head rather than 100% head.

  8. Carroll’s control is very poor. Every time I watch him, I long for the good old days of Peter Crouch. At least he could play with the ball at his feet, and hit the target occasionally. Torres used to waste a lot of chances with a heavy first touch but Ponytail makes him look like Luka Modric. Adam was a good acquisition and I’m not ready to give up on Downing, but Henderson and Carroll have been absolutely terrible value for money, simple at that.

  9. Odd as I thought Hendo is the only redeeming purchase of the bunch so far. You can see a tidy player who as he gets more gonads, will attack more with piercing passes.

    Charlie looks like the price paid, a walking yellow card every time I see him lumber behind a runner. Terrible defender, who without Lucas, is the walking dead.

    Downing just doesn’t have heart, he wont fight for the team, the non 50/50 challenges he never even attempts is disheartening. To me he is the worse purchase, superstar money for a passenger who can but wont.

    Carroll cannot do anything except complain and jump at the moment but can you blame him for everything? Gerrard gave him early crosses last game and he finally looked dangerous. Zip to the Citeh game and zilch early.

    Why buy English when the English win zilch on the world stage? Can we not raid Germany or Spain please?

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