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City 0 Liverpool 1.

A defeat on Saturday led to a slightly despondant attitude from many Blues post-game. Not from the fact that we took a hammering and were completely outplayed but because for the second home game running we were held without a goal and unable to penetrate a side who either come with a plan to defend the 0-0 or sit back and force us to take the initiative in the game.
Stuart Pearce suggested as much in his post-game comments, where he praised the defence and endeavour of the side but admitted that "perhaps (we) need to be a bit cuter when going forward and we need to play better to get the best out of Coley and Vassell".
It is apparant that a midfielder (or two) who is capable of unlocking the more resolute defences is a must come the transfer window. I'll be interested to see Tuomas Haapala performs now we have apparantly signed him to a long term deal. The weekend also saw us linked with Fulham pair Steed Malbranque and Papa Diop and Real Betis midfielder Arzu.
Whoever Pearce does bring in (and I believe he does have definite targets in place) must be capable of bringing something extra to the side which at times we are lacking. As talented as Ireland is, as a young player he is not going to be able to sustain a high level of consistency week in week out.
We weren't dominated though and I don't think Liverpool could have had too many complaints if the game had finished 0-0, and it is now twenty-three games since we lost by more than one goal but looking at the fixture list there are three very important games leading upto Christmas starting with Charlton away on Sunday, West Brom away the following week and then Birmingham at home.
Certainly I don't think it is time for pessimism to take hold though as looking at these games they are all very winable and it maybe more beneficial that the next two games are away from home against sides who need three points to end a poor run of form (Charlton) or to haul themselves away from the relegation positions (West Brom). Rather than face sides coming to Eastlands happy with a point, it probably will suit us having teams making more of an effort to come at us and not have us try and force something to happen - something we are clearly struggling with at the moment.
We are still in a healthy position in the table but with three defeats in the last four games we are in danger of slipping from the teams jockeying for the European positions to the mid-table bunch of sides if we take a poor return from the next three games.

Match reports:
Sky Sports
The Times
Manchester Online