Liverpool vs Man City RAWK Eye Witness Match Report
Posted by The 92A on August 27, 2012, 12:07:51 AM
Recently, in work, we won £270 on the lottery, I was jumping up and down on the phone celebrating, until I asked my mate how many balls we got and he said, ‘five, one more and we would have shared six million pounds’. Pleasure turned to disappointment, as I started thinking about lost yachts, holidays and telling my boss just where he could stick his job. And here I am a few months later, leaving Anfield with a similar feeling, wanting to concentrate on the positives but haunted by that nagging feeling that we could have done better. Make no mistake there were lots of positives in this game but the truth was we threw it away with two defensive lapses of concentration.
It was real start of the season weather and after a pleasant ride through a sunny Bootle courtesy of Merseyrail; I turned up early, coincidently with an Adidas T-shirt on, which was ironic as they’d painted my seat white to make the Warrior logo in the Main Stand. 'We come not to Play' what's that all about? Sorry but it sounds a bit sad to me. Liverpool swopped ends and lined up 433ish, with Lucas as the defensive midfielder slightly behind and Allen and Gerrard in front. Within five minutes Lucas was signalling the bench to come off, he was replaced by Shelvey and I wondered how significant that would prove. Last season we couldn’t afford to lose a player with game intelligence like Lucas, I cursed our bad luck.
Allen took over Lucas’s role and Shelvey partnered Gerrard. The starting ten minutes was pretty even with both sides trying to impose themselves and generally cancelling each other out although City probably shaded it. Gerrard was trying to force play which resulted in us conceding possession a few times but you could understand his frustration as we tried to impose our play on the game. Shelvey started slow but began to look better as he settled. I was watching Allen in the midfield but the catalyst for our improvement came from the left side where Johnson and Sterling were combining well and posing a real threat to City. Their defenders were having a torrid time having to stand off the seventeen year old because of his pace and trickiness. It was lovely to watch as one of the smallest players on the pitch proved if you’re balanced and strong on the ball, your size is irrelevant.
As Liverpool posed City problems you could see the side grow in confidence. Both sides had chances with Borini and Tevez nearly scoring at opposite ends. Liverpool were pushing up on City with both backs going forward and I was frightened of the counter attack but I started to relax as we began getting the upper hand in midfield as Allen was proving a revelation. The lad is only five foot nothing but he’s like a terrier chasing down but intercepting effortlessly, like Lucas, while playing some lovely positive football. He’ll accept the ball anywhere and converts it into procession, his size is no handicap as he looks so well balanced and difficult to knock off the ball. Allen is my type of footballer, he really looks the part and as my Dad used to say ‘ he has a football brain’ but the best thing is he makes those around him play better as he constantly creates space and gives them options. I can only imagine what we’d have done if he was here last season. This sounds mad considering their different levels of experience but the great thing was to see the effect he had on Gerrard, who began to be able to relax and trust his partner, while Shelvey played his part with a display that must of impressed Rodgers after an indifferent display during the midweek. The midfield was playing like a unit and had the upper hand against last year’s Champions. Martin Skrtel nearly broke the net as he thundered a Gerrard corner past Hart to put Liverpool ahead after half an hour. The first half finished with the mighty Reds going in with a well deserved lead.
The earlier lower league chants of ‘Can you here the Scousers sing’ were laughable as Anfield became a wall of noise as the crowd began to appreciate a display where we seemed spread out and made the pitch bigger when we had the ball but chased and harried the moment we lost procession. Liverpool’s front three were always a threat but we still look a bit weak at finishing. As confidence grew you could see intelligent play flourishing all over the park as players glimpsed a sight of what is possible when you work for each other. At times you had to remind yourself that City won the league last year but with some of the names they had playing for them you knew they could always be a threat if you lost your concentration.
When the equaliser came it was through a mistake as Reina, who'd had a brilliant game, seemed to fumble the ball and there was a mix up before it fell for Toure who pounced on his chance and buried in the Kop goal. Within three minutes Liverpool were back in front as Suarez bent the ball around the wall and past Hart from a beautiful free kick. And this is how it should have ended, however with ten minutes on the clock Skrtel tried a back pass to Reina and gifted the ball to Tevez who equalised. It reminded me of Jocky Hansen who always threw in a howler once a season but it was a fair exchange for his football skill on the ball. Rodgers brought on Carroll for the last period. Carroll came on to a great reception as Borini was given a standing ovation as he came off, he'd started off slow but played his part. The big fella nearly provided a last minute winner but his header was cleared just off the line by Rodwell who hadn't read the script.
We ended up having a great night out in town with our lottery winnings and Liverpool had a great opener at Anfield today. The result doesn’t always define football matches; As I sat at Sandhills waiting for the train I wasn't the only one who went home happy. You can talk about systems all day but passing teams need player comfortable in procession, its players who make systems work and Allen looks like he’ll be worth his weight in gold if he can keep up this standard. Today was positive despite the result and at the end of the day that matters, supporting a team is never just about winning. It will be different against park the bus teams but today showed promise.
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