Manchester City maintained their imperious home record to deny Liverpool the opportunity to regain top spot in the Barclays Premier League table after an entertaining encounter at the Etihad Stadium.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side secured their ninth consecutive home win after Reds keeper Simon Mignolet made a hash of attempting to keep out Alvaro Negredo’s fine chip.
However, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers will point to two calamitous pieces of officiating in what was a hugely encouraging performance from his players, one which merited a draw. The first came two minutes before the Reds took the lead through Phillipe Coutinho when the linesman wrongly ruled Raheem Sterling, who was distinctly onside and through on goal, offside.
With his side pushing for the equaliser, Brendan Rodgers was further infuriated by referee Lee Mason as Luis Suarez was denied a conspicuous penalty after Joleon Lescott was brazenly pulling the Uruguayan shirt. Nonetheless, it would be partisan from Lee Mason to award Liverpool a penalty over a single shirt-pulling incident while not giving City a penalty over Martin Skrtel’s frequent shirt-pulling exploits with Vincent Kompany.
Manchester City currently sit second in the Premier League standings, a point off leaders Arsenal and one ahead of Chelsea heading into the peak of the congested festive period with their outstanding 100% home record still unscathed. However, the record seemed to be in jeopardy when Phillipe Coutinho gave the visitors the advantage.
All the same, City swiftly responded with a powerful Vincent Kompany header and then took the lead on the stroke of half-time after Simon Mignolet made a hash of keeping out Alvaro Negredo’s scrumptious chip.
While the end result showed that Liverpool posses the quality to compete with a moneybag such as Manchester City in pursuit of a title, the fact that youngster Brad Smith was named on the bench reveals the Reds’ most formidable stumbling block; depth in squad. It’s as simple as 1,2,3. Liverpool will not be able to beat Manchester City and Chelsea to the Premier League title until John W Henry decides to invest in constructing a truly formidable side. However, an encouraging performance, arguably the most impressive from an opposition side at the Etihad this season, enhanced their credentials of a Champions League placed finish come May.
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