And, everyone breath and celebrate because that was a huge win. The Etihad continues to be an impenetrable force for us, and boy is that important.
Although we had a lot of the possession for the first half, Liverpool were the first to get on the scoreboard. After a sequence of some beautiful team play, which left the goal wide open for Coutinho, who didn’t miss his opportunity. City, as we have done all season, continued to put the pressure on the Liverpool defense after conceding a goal. We forced Liverpool's defense to block crosses, which left us with numerous corners. To continue his goal score form, Kompany, got his head on one of those corners, which the last defender couldn't clear and it found the net for City’s first goal of the game. Yeah I know, Kompany and goal scoring form in the same sentence drink it in!
In a game of this magnitude it is going to be open, each team will have their fair amount of chances but it has how the team’s counter those moves. Our second goal was a fine example of that. Hart made a fantastic save to stop Coutinho from doubling his tally, we broke out (as we love to do) and took the lead right before half from a shot from Negredo, which was horribly dealt with by Mignolet.
Second half was a bit different, with no goals but plenty of chances. The best chance of the half came from Liverpool when Suarez found a cutting Sterling who, thankfully, knocked it over the crossbar. We had our chances to extend our lead, which would have made the last few minutes less nervy, but we made sure to not make that devastating mistake. As the half wore on we looked to hold possession and pick our spots to attack.
The work done by Kompany to contain Suarez and frustrate him was essential to our game plan, and the win. In the beginning stages, which I had to revert to listening on the radio, Vinny was attached to Saurez’s hip at the center circle. Of course, Suarez was able to create chances at times, but Vinny limited the effect of them. This is not to diminish the work down by the rest of the work done by the back four, but Kompany was the once faced with the task of covering Suarez.
Playing Liverpool at any time of the year is a formidable task for any team, especially when they are in the form they were in coming in to this fixture. Their pace and countering ability is up their with the best of them, and they gave us a tough, tough test! But, we were able to contain their scoring, although there were times we looked likely to give up multiple goals, and come out with a win. The Premier League title will be a tight one and a win like this, and the one over Arsenal, can be a launching pad to a run of wins. We have Crystal Palace at home, and our Achilles heel has been a side like them. We must remain focused for the full 90 and put on another solid team display.
Negredo (8) – As our lone striker he was absolutely essential to our counters, holding the ball when it was necessary. He tried to be very cheeky on several occasions when he had chances at goal. But, his goal came at a great time.
Nasri (7) – Full of intent with the ball, he has had a hand in starting our chances at goal. He continues his season of excellent form.
Silva (7) – The magician at it again picking out passes and finding teammates making runs, hitting them in stride. Wasn’t able to find much of the action in the second half, but again, we are so spoiled to see his intelligence each game.
Navas (8) – What hasn’t he been doing? Today was another example of what Navas can do when he is in form and confident. He and Zabaleta were always widening the play with their runs. Can’t forget to mention how vital his defensive work was as well.
Yaya (7) – When he was given the ball in an open area around the box, he pushed at the Liverpool defense. He has done a good job to sit at the top of the box and find the likes of Navas and Nasri making runs.
Fernandinho (7) – He was, understandably, aggressive in the midfield, tracking back to help the back four when needed, especially on corners. Like Silva, he always making him self and option for teammates by finding that little bit of space. He continues to steadily improve with every game.
Kolarov (8) – One of his better defensive games besides the attempted offside trap, which didn’t work. Having to deal with the pace of Liverpool was a real test, and he was up for the challenge. Great services in to the box, as well.
Lescott (7) – He could have struggled in a matchup with the quick Suarez, but he handled exceptionally well. He used his strength to win the ball back from Liverpool in the defensive half. He made sure to clear his lines when it was needed, better safe than sorry. Seriously.
Kompany (8) – Important goal off that corner. He was out to frustrate Suarez, and he did that at the beginning. Besides that, it was a typical Vinny game, important interceptions and solid on ball tackles.
Zabaleta (8) – Living up to the heart of a lion phrase connected with him. Coming back after what looked like a nasty injury. Made a menace of him self down the right wing, especially early on.
Hart (8 MotM) – I mean some of those saves were incredible, most prominent was that one right before the half. Has Pellegrini hit the right buttons and awoke the sleeping giant?
Milner (6) – Subbed on late, and did what was asked of him; DEFEND. But he always finds his way to get at the other team's defense
Dzeko (N/A) –