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Manchester City 3, Liverpool 1: First Thoughts

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In the English Premier League's most exciting clash of week two, Manchester City secured a strangely comfortable win at the Etihad Stadium.

Yep. Sums it up.
Yep. Sums it up.
Laurence Griffiths

liverpool blog fc sbn

Manchester City 3 Jovetić 41' 55', Agüero 69'
Liverpool 1 Zabaleta (O.G)83'

  • It's quite the big week for Liverpool. Mario Balotelli is finally a Liverpool player, a trip to North West rivals Manchester City, a Champions League draw, and a journey south to face Tottenham Hotspur. Brendan Rodgers made the expected change in midfield with Joe Allen for Lucas Leiva and new signing Alberto Moreno at left back with Glen Johnson shuffling over to his natural right back slot. Johnson was busier of the two full backs early on with much of Liverpool's attacking play down the right side and Man City focused their play through Silva on the left in the first 15 minutes. Each team's other side was for functional decoration in terms of attacking play.

  • So many good things for Liverpool in the opening half hour. Sterling was excellent in the first ten to fifteen minutes with his dribbling and intelligent attacking movement as he entered the space vacated by Sturridge. That feature was was crucial in Liverpool scoring the opening goal against Southampton in Liverpool's previous game. Joe Allen was another who was excellent in the first thirty minutes in his midfield duties in terms of movement, position, passing, and defending.

  • Manchester City scored against the general run of play but seemed to find an extra gear for five minutes before the goal. Debutant Alberto Moreno was having an excellent game but was at fault for the goal along with a less than convincing headed clearance by Dejan Lovren. Moreno needed to be decisive and alert to the danger in his area. To concede a goal the way Liverpool did and when was disappointing. It has been the story of Liverpool's trips to the Etihad Stadium under Brendan Rodgers; play well but make a mistake to go behind against the general run of play. It is frustrating because Liverpool can really play and  it's not easy to come to the Etihad with the intention of not only playing attacking football but also prospering.

  • Liverpool started off well in the second half playing narrower to encourage greater shooting opportunities and passing combinations in central areas but around the 50 minute mark, Manchester City got into their passing rhythm and scored a quality second goal to increase their lead. Liverpool were ragged and Man City looked like they could score a third at will.

  • The introduction of Lazar Marković on the hour mark for the disappointing Philippe Coutinho, who tried to do the right things but was not incisive or decisive as usual, gave Liverpool renewed life in the game. Chances were missed as Marković combined well with Moreno down the left but Liverpool couldn't pull a goal back.

  • Agüero came on and scored after a lovely pass from Navas as Liverpool switched off for a moment on the left side with Moreno and Lovren. Three nil and the game became virtually out of reach. Liverpool didn't drop heads and kept trying to make something happen somehow. Daniel Sturridge had been getting into good attacking positions, taking on players, and finding pockets of space but his final ball or shot couldn't find a way through.

  • Liverpool pulled a goal back with Lambert's involvement to avoid a heaviest Premier League defeat for Brendan Rodgers, which is something after a poor second half. It was a strange game as Liverpool created opportunities where a better final ball would have resulted in at least another goal but the difference in the final third between both teams was stark. Greater maturity perhaps?

  • Injuries struck in the last five minutes with Glen Johnson (extremely poor overall), Martin Skrtel, and Alberto Moreno suffering injuries. Liverpool ended the game with ten men and Moreno could have made it nine men if he didn't gamely carry on with fight for the last few minutes. The injuries capped a disappointing time in Manchester in a strange game where Liverpool weren't so far behind their opponents but ended up quite a distance behind the champions.

liverpool blog fc sbn

We'll be back shortly to take an in-depth look at everything that happened in today's game with the full recap. Until then, let us know your take on the ups and downs of the match in the comments, and if you haven't already, join the community on the Liverpool Offside, where we'll have full coverage and lively in-game discussion for every match this season.