With all the talk before kick off about Mascherano not wanting to play we kick off with Liverpool playing in a 4-4-2 formation with Lucas and Gerrard the partnership in midfield. Torres and N’Gog up front for the first time and Kuyt and Jovanovic on the wings, with the same back four that was against Arsenal with Reina in goal.
Man City start again with Joe Hart in goal, Richards Toure Kompnay and Lescott in defence with the central midfield trio of Barry de Jong and Yaya Toure with Johnson and Milner on the wings and Tevez up front.
With the line ups looking like Man City are looking to soak up any pressure in midfield it is surprising to see that it is City who are the more likely to score. Adam Johnson is influential on the right wing cutting in to use his left foot and within the first 10 minutes he unleashes a whizzing shot that looked destined to be a goal but it only just crept wide.
There doesn’t seem to be much pressure when Manchester city are in possession and de Jong, Barry and Yaya are allowed to pass it around with no pressure. No even when Yaya has three players around him he keeps the ball and passes it back towards de Jong, one time pass to Johnson where he makes space to lay it in to Milner where he puts in ball into the box for Barry as he calmly slots it home. It looks like Liverpool are missing Mascherano. Not the best start for Liverpool a goal down with only 13minutes played.
Manchester City are having a lot of possession, great ball retention and when they get the ball into Tevez you can see the tricks come up as he jinks his way into the box. But when Liverpool get the pool they are very poor on the break away, they are very slow getting the ball out and they don’t seem to be playing with any real width. Hodgson tactical change to play 4-4-2 doesn’t seem to be working out tonight.
Barry and de Jong playing well, breaking up any Liverpool attacks that are happening but are being kept at bay and are only getting shots from long range and Agger’s shot, looked like he was still suffering from concussion.
Micah Richards has been showing his strength and Yaya is shielding the ball very well, keeping the ball safe and passing it on to the centre or out wide where Lescott & Richards are supporting but not making many overlaps but Richards is more than Lescott. City are winning the ball and getting it out wide quick to Milner and Johnson and Johnson is seeing a lot of the ball.
For Liverpool Gerrard being in middle of park doesn’t seem to be allowing him to be involved with the attack enough when Liverpool do start a breakaway. Tonight the fans are seeing nothing of Johnson in attack. Liverpool very slow on the counter attack not keeping the ball, very sloppy passing here.
Gerrard shots from distance but its way off and again near the end of the half and liver pool on attack and its laid off for a trademark Gerrard finish but again grads shooting is off. Torres runs into the box but a great tackle by kompany stops that attack.
In the second half things didn’t get any better for Liverpool and again man city enjoy the possession and with a corner whipped in by Milner Richards powers in a header goal wards but Tevez standing right in front of Reina lashes at it and gets a flick to score his 50th pl goal or is it Richards, this is one for the dubious goal council. Glen Johnson dived at it on the line but to no avail.
Richards gives away foul using his strength and gives Liverpool an opportunity to attack. Gerrard took the free kick but it hits the wall, it just doesn’t seem like anything is going in favour of Liverpool but Gerrard does get a shot away and it beats hart but it smacks the post and you can hear it around Eastland, Kuyt reacts to it and gets the ball to N’Gog who shoots but hart saves and gets up quick to saves again but this time from Torres. Superb saves from Joe Hart there keeping Liverpool out, it doesn’t look like given is going to get much of a chance this season.
Richards gives away another foul and this time gets booked. Man City keeping possession and Tevez is still dropping deep getting the ball and passing the ball out wide to Johnson. It seems everything is coming from the right hand side where agar is the makeshift left back. But Liverpool aren’t helping them selves as they give the ball away straight to city from their defence, this is really poor from Liverpool.
James Milner having a great debut fitting into the team very well and linking up with the new signing well as he puts ball over to Yaya who spreads it out to Johnson who is now being doubled up on as he has been such a threat but he beats them and is fouled by Skrtel, Penalty. Skrtel has already been booked but he stays on the field.
Tevez steps up, Goal. Its 3-0 and now city are enjoying just passing it around and whenever Johnson gets the ball its looks dangerous. With this performance Johnson should be in the mind of Capello in to play on the right side with Milner showing he can play well on the left. And Joe Hart has been amazing to surly take England no.1 spot just as he has taken the city no.1 spot.
Great diagonal pass but Johnson to Milner who is being chased by Johnson and Carragher but only Carragher puts his boot up to intercept and concede a corner. You can see Carragher shouting at Jonhson, you could see Carragher wanted to get that ball more, they may be three down but Carragher doesn’t want it to be more.
Babel on for Torres for the last 15mins. Torres is not back to full fitness and it’s not been a great performance but he has fed of scraps. With no Joe Cole it’s clear as that there is a lack of creativity and Gerrard has been poor by his standards.
The match finishes 3-0 to Manchester city where they have put in a good performance, but that is also compared to a very poor Liverpool on. But surprisingly with 12 attempts at goal 5 on target they couldn’t get a goal, but city with only 9 shots scored 2 goals form the 3 shots they had on target. City saw a lot more of the possession 59% to 41% and that was very evident all through the game.
Roberto Mancini can be very happy but Hodgson is going to have to look at the team and the squad and see what he can do for the next match as they can’t afford another performance like that.
Milner gets Man Of The Match but it could very well have been Adam Johnson who was amazing on the opposite wing, but being Milner’s Debut that champagne bottle is going his way