Lescott (og) 33
Manchester City 1
Like Gary Speed I am in my forties and the father of two sons. No matter what life throws at you the “stop gap” is the love and commitment you feel for them. This eclipses everything, even my love for Liverpool FC. One can’t begin to imagine the demons that drove Gary Speed at such a young age, he was 42, to leave them behind. I hope those who seek to find out have some respect and leave it be, sadly I suspect this will not be the case.
Speed’s achievements as a player and manager of the Welsh National Squad will, by the time you read this, have been well documented however all this is totally irrelevant, it doesn’t matter what he did, footballer or not, it makes no difference, the news is still desperately sad and my heart goes out to his family and especially his young sons.
It is hard having written this to switch to yesterday’s match and inevitably it had a profound effect on the build up to the game. Speed was an Everton player and as such played for a rival of Liverpool however, it is one city and, as Hillsborough proved, the rivalry is of only of footballing nature when more important things take over the two clubs, have a mature sense of what is really important and always unite.
Craig Bellamy, understandably, sat this one out. Downing and Henderson where bought back and Maxi, perhaps unfortunately given his efforts last Sunday, was benched. Suarez started as the lone striker with Kuyt and Downing riding side saddle. Arguably it was a defensive line up given that we were at home however City are the leagues top scorers and needs must?
The visitors began in goal scoring mode and it wasn’t long before they carved out their first chance. This fell to Toure, from Silva’s corner who sliced high and wide into The Kop. We took time to find our feet as City continued to press. This wasn’t helped by Enrique’s back pass which was scented by Aguero prompting Reina to charge out of his comfort zone and cut him off. Reina won the day, legally but then the loose ball cannoned off the City striker on to his arm. The referee’s decision to give nothing was correct, our man could do nothing about it and had made enough effort to keep things right and proper.
Aguero might have had better luck had he, after a good run and turn that left Skrtel nowhere, not ran out of football pitch! However it was only a mater of time before City made their dominance felt as Silva’s corner was glanced in by Kompany. It was an unfortunate goal, Kuyt was trying to track the City player but, in the general confusion, had his efforts blocked by Johnson who basically got in the way leaving Kompany free to pick his spot.
Thankfully before City could reflect and bask and in their lead we were level. Adam picked up the ball from Kuyt around thirty yards out and attempted an ambitious effort on goal it was harmless until Lescott tried to clear it which only served to deflect it past a deceived Hart into the net.
The exchange of “blows” seemed to wake us up and from then on we faired much better. Adam went close again, after good work from Kuyt, only to see his effort deflected wide by Hart’s trialling foot, what goes around comes around? Aguero’s low effort, which was well saved by Reina at the foot of his post didn’t reflect the pattern of play in the “second half of the first half”.
We began the second half as we ended the first with Kuyt’s header going wide and then Downing’s producing a shot which despite hitting the deck still required Hart help it over the bar. The resulting corner saw an almightily scramble which almost produced Lescott’s second own goal before City managed to clear their lines. Next Downing flashed a drive across the face of the goal that Suarez was unable to get anything on.
Balotelli, who was on for Nasri, now has a head/ hairstyle that looks like someone has struck a large match on it. His fire burnt just as bright and as briefly when he was red carded for an elbow on Skrtel, perhaps a little unlucky? However, we were unable to make the advantage tell Suarez combined well with Luca to produce another good save from Hart at his near post then Silva took an age to make Dzeko’s pass tell and by the time he’d sorted himself out we had three players lined up on the goal line anticipating the danger. Carroll nearly produced a grand finale but his header, from Johnson’s pass found Hart in good form again.
So a good game in which he acquitted ourselves well. Plenty of chances created and, for most of the time, the visitors were on the back foot. Had Hart not been in such good form it would have six points out of six from two games against the so called top four, five, six? A good performance with plenty of commitment however, one goal, and an own one at that, suggests we still need to make all this count. Sadly that is for another time on a day were, for most, thoughts were probably elsewhere?
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Jose Enrique, Agger, Skrtel, Henderson, Downing, Lucas, Adam, Suarez, Kuyt (Carroll 84) Substitutes: Doni, Coates, Carragher, Kelly, Maxi, Spearing, Carroll
Man City: Hart, Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy, Milner, Barry, Nasri (Balotelli 65), Silva , (K Toure 90), Y Toure, Aguero (Dzeko 82) Substitutes: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, K Toure, Johnson, De Jong, Dzeko, Balotelli