Liverpool Focus – Sterling impresses as Rodgers’ men hold Man City to a draw

Liverpool climbed off the foot of the Premier League table as Brendan Rodgers’ side claimed a respectable 2-2 draw against champions Manchester City at Anfield. Martin Skrtel’s bullet header and a sublime Luis Suarez free-kick were cancelled out by goals from Yaya Toure and Carlos Tevez, however Reds’ fans will feel that the hosts did enough to record a victory over City. The Merseysiders may well have picked up all three points had it not been for goalscorer Skrtel’s late costly error which gifted Tevez his 100th goal in English football.

A crushing defeat at the hands of West Bromwich Albion on the opening day of the season caused panic among some supporters, who were genuinely surprised at the way Liverpool capitulated following the sending off of Daniel Agger. There was, therefore, a sense of caution and unpredictability ahead of this clash against Roberto Mancini’s men. But such was the quality of Liverpool’s general play that there was little to worry about until Toure’s equalising goal, which was scored just after the hour mark.

Rodgers’ team selection was bold – the former Swansea boss selected Sebatian Coates to play ahead of veteran defender Jamie Carragher in the absence of Agger, while 17-year-old winger Raheem Sterling, who had an excellent game on his full debut in midweek against Scottish outfit Hearts, was selected to make his first start in the Premier League. Sterling was lively and having impressed against the champions, he is likely to play a much bigger role for the Reds this term.

Equally as impressive was Welshman Joe Allen. Many were surprised by the reported £15m Liverpool spent to take him away from Swansea, but the young midfielder has shown enough in his first few games to suggest that he is a good acquisition for the club. Allen rarely gives the ball away and regularly applies pressure when an opposition player is in possession – two key attributes which Rodgers will eventually expect all of his players to learn and improve.

The arrival of Nuri Sahin however, on a season-long loan from La Liga giants Real Madrid, could give the manager a welcome selection headache as the competition for a place in the middle of the park heats up. Lucas, Allen and Gerrard appear to have been Rodgers’ first-choice trio up to this point, but Sahin could force Gerrard into a more advanced position – possibly playing on the right side of a front three. Liverpool also have other good options in midfield, including Jonjo Shelvey and Jordan Henderson. Charlie Adam however could be on his way out after he was left out of the squad completely on Sunday.

The Anfield outfit will now face Hearts in the second-leg of their Europa League clash, before goal-shy Arsenal arrive on Merseyside to face the Reds in the Premier League. With the transfer window coming to a close, Rodgers will hope to have offloaded a couple more of his fringe players and added further attacking options by next weekend.

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