Liverpool 1-1 Manchester City – Match Review

10-man Manchester City retained their five point lead at the top of the Premier League after Joleon Lescott’s own goal salvaged a point for Liverpool at Anfield.

Roberto Mancini’s men missed the chance to increase the gap between them and rivals United to seven points after Lescott deflected Charlie Adam’s long range strike past Joe Hart in the City goal. The away side had earlier taken a deserved lead through captain Vincent Kompany ┬ábut had to see out the last seven minutes with 10 men after substitute Mario Balotelli was given his marching orders after an elbow on Martin Skrtel. Both sides had chances to win the game late on and it will be Liverpool who will be the happier of the two sides as they became only the second team this season to take points off City. It was a day when football came together to mourn the tragic passing of Wales manager Gary Speed who died this morning. Welsh international Craig Bellamy, who was set to play against the league leaders, was withdrawn from the Red’s squad as both clubs paid tribute to the 42-year-old with an impeccably served minutes silence. Liverpool were looking to protect an unbeaten record at Anfield whilst their opponents had yet to taste defeat this season winning 10 of their 12 games.

City started brightly and coped well with the home side with Dalglish’s men high-tempo pressing failing to trouble the visitors and Yaya Toure came close to putting them in front with a thumping strike following Samir Nasri’s corner. That would set the tone for much of the game as Mancini’s men dominated for long periods and would have gone ahead had Sergio Aguero latched onto Jose Enrique’s weak back pass. Fortunately for the home support goalkeeper Pepe Reina was alert off his line dashing out to thwart the Argentinian striker but it wasn’t long before City broke the deadlock. David Silva’s corner just after the half hour picked out Kompany as he darted to the near post and headed the ball into the top corner of Reina’s net. Liverpool required an immediate response and they got it through Lescott’s moment of madness as he stuck out a foot to block Adam’s 25-yard strike only to divert the ball past the stranded Hart. The home side hadn’t managed a shot on target until then but certainly found their shooting boots with Glen Johnson curling wide after Adam had tested Hart with another drive. City had one last chance before the break with Aguero seeing his effort repelled by Reina after a neat exchange with Silva.

It was the away side who continued in the same vein after the restart with Nasri’s cross-shot flying narrowly wide of the post whilst Dirk Kuyt headed Stewart Downing’s cross wide at the other end. Liverpool slowly started to come back into the game and an inventive corner routine involving Adam and Daniel Agger saw the Dane tee up Downing who saw his strike tipped over by Hart. They were given a helping hand after substitute Balotelli was dismissed by referee Martin Atkinson for an elbow on Skrtel – his third red card since joining from Inter Milan in 2010. They couldn’t take advantage of their supremacy with Hart once again proving his goalkeeping credentials with a superb save to deny Suarez. City weren’t out of it yet despite their handicap with Silva wasting a glorious chance on the break before the home side were denied by Hart once again. The England keeper was proving to be the difference and he ensured their would be no repeat of the hosts late win against Chelsea last week pulling off a stunning double save from Andy Carroll and Suarez to ensure City retained their lead at the top.