Monday, December 31, 2007

Brave City Held On

English Premiership

Man City 0 - 0 LIVERPOOL

The last league game of 2007 ended up with a stalemate as a resilient Manchester City side frustrated Liverpool and earned an undeserved point. Only seperated by a point, a win for any of this side will propel themselves well into the top 4 position, going into 2008.

Liverpool had the chances to do so, yet the profligacy in big games still apparent.

Though credits must also go out to the Man City defence as they put up with a wonderful back-against-the-wall effort and manage to mitigate wave after wave of attack and stopped the man of the moment, Fernando Torres, from scoring.

The Spanish had two or three clear chances but failed to capitalise on them. He must've regretted not slotting in that chance just after half time and it could altogether be a different story if he did.

Knowing that he could be the first Liverpool player since Michael Owen in 2001 to score 10 league goals before the year ends, he gets full marks for his effort but disappointingly, no end result. If the stain of mud on the shirt represents the endeavor of the player, one could say he puts in the most for this game.

Up against a physically solid defenders in Richard Dunne, Nedum Onuoha and Micah Richards, he knew he was going to have a hard time, so did Dirk Kuyt.

And the trio deserves praise for their last ditch tackles and goal line clearances. City could've crumbled big time in the last 10 minutes after Liverpool finally decides to shift into their fifth gear. But they stood their ground gave a no-nonsense performance.

The game was finely poised as both teams knew how important it is to gain victory at the City of Manchester stadium but probably this mentality made both teams a little jittery in the beginning.

With Sami Hyypia out injured and Daniel Agger still recovering from his metatarsal injury, Rafa Benitez employed Alvaro Arbeloa in centre defence, alongside Jamie Carragher.

The full-back's inexperience in that position was exploited by Martin Petrov and Elano but as the game went on, he steadied himself and was rarely troubled from then on.

Both sides had good chances but was premium. Other than a few stray shots from Gerrard and Aurelio, the Liverpool front line were anonymous, so was City's. As the game developed, Vassell and Elano were starved off any support and were left isolated.

Might be due to the words of the manager at half time, Liverpool came out with more intent and stepped up the tempo of the game. They nearly took the lead early in the second half as two chances were created in a short amount of time but Torres was unable to finish.

City desperate and Liverpool frustrated. The home team looked less comfortable as time went on. The Reds took hold of initiative and launched themselves at City.

Best chances of the game fell to Dirk Kuyt but the wasteful 'striker' was not able to capitalise. On his part, it was a weak header on goal but City goalkeeper, Joe Hart, made a wonderful reflex save before Richard Dunne heroically cleared the ball of the line.

So City goes into 2008 a point behind Liverpool in 5th place and the Reds should feel the pinch of not putting the game to bed and build up a comfortable cushion between themselves and the other teams outside the top 4.

1 comment:

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