Liverpool 3-0 Manchester City – Sky Blues overrun by rampant Reds

Liverpool may be in danger of being overtaken by Manchester United as the pre-eminent club in the history of the English game in terms of league titles, but they certainly cannot be accused of relaxing against United’s title rivals. On a night which saw the supporters pay their respects to those, among others, who lost their lives at Hillsborough 22 years ago, with an impeccable minute’s silence, Liverpool showed Manchester City no respect with an emphatic victory which could seriously damage the Sky Blues confidence before this weekend’s FA Cup semi-final derby.

More worrying than the manner of the defeat will be the injury suffered by Carlos Tevez, City’s talismanic skipper limping off in the 14th minute, suffering a hamstring injury whilst squandering possession for Liverpool’s opening goal.

Without Tevez, City lacked any attacking spark, as Roberto Mancini’s side were both tactically outsmarted and then totally overrun by Kenny Dalglish’s rampant Liverpool side.

Liverpool, so short of numbers defensively that they handed a debut to 18-year-old right-back John Flanagan, packed their midfield four with hard-working players, Jay Spearing, Lucas and Raul Meireles with only Dirk Kuyt offering any semblance of width on the right.

City had gone in with a very attacking line-up, on the back of their 5-0 win last time out against Sunderland, James Milner and Adam Johnson offering the width with Tevez backing up Edin Dzeko. Yaya Toure and Gareth Barry were tasked with securing the back four.

However with Liverpool tearing into their visitors from the off, City were completely overrun in the middle of the park, never able to secure any possession to set their wide men free. Whilst Dzeko was isolated up front for City, Liverpool’s front two of Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez were unplayable.

Twice in the opening ten minutes Liverpool’s strike pairing linked up impressively, and Suarez came close to opening the scoring, latching onto Carroll’s volleyed pass and forcing Hart at full stretch to touch the ball onto the post.

It was Carroll though who opened the scoring with a stunning effort, as pressure in the midfield caused City to lose the ball, the former Newcastle striker latching onto it and hitting a low swerving effort from 20 yards for his first Liverpool goal.

Liverpool’s second again came from them putting pressure on City deep in their own half, not allowing the visitors to clear, the ball eventually finding Kuyt on the edge of the box who calmly side footed home.

City’s misery was complete just 90 seconds later as Carroll scored the type of goal that he has become renowned for, Meireles firing in a stunning cross from the left hand side and Carroll getting across Kolarov to power a header past the despairing dive of Joe Hart.

With City’s final chance of silverware on the line at Wembley on Saturday, Roberto Mancini faces a huge task to galvanise his side before the clash with their cross city rivals. With clear dissension shown by James Milner following his replacement by David Silva, Mancini needs to clear the air at Eastlands or he may well be clearing his desk at the end of the season.

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