Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Liverpool 3-0 Manchester City

Andy Carroll opens Reds account as Mancini’s side is demolished in first half rout

A trio of first half goals from Liverpool put a massive dent into Manchester City's Champions League hopes, as a relentless and fertile attack gave Kenny Dalglish's men an easy victory at Anfield. A double from Andy Carroll, and another from Dirk Kuyt, stunned Roberto Mancini's side in a blistering first period which determined the path of the game.
Liverpool started the game like a bullet from a gun. The attacks rained down on the City defense and Luis Suarez in particular was the focal point of much of the early threat. It was the first time that Anfield had seen Suarez and Carroll together and on an initial viewing it may prove to be a fruitful and productive partnership.

Carroll acted as provider when after six minutes his delicate pass bypassed Joleon Lescott and Vincent Kompany and allowed the Uruguayan to hit a fierce shot which stretched Joe Hart to his limits as he palmed the ball onto the left hand post.  

The pressure continued to be applied, and an uncharacteristic error from City skipper Carlos Tevez was pounced upon by Raul Meireles who tried his luck from distance only to see his shot hit Kompany. Carroll’s instinct kicked in and he picked up the loose ball only to turn for goal and unleash a smart drive which beat Hart low. The £35 million fee is finally being paid off.

And things went from bad to worse for City when talisman, captain and all-round leader Carlos Tevez stuttered to a halt. Clutching his lower leg he signalled that he had to come off and he was to be replaced by Mario Balotelli.

An excellent example of sheer persistence rewarded Liverpool with their second goal of the game. A barrage of shots rained down on Hart’s goal from all sides and all comers. Meireles, Suarez, Carroll were all trying their luck but as the ball completed it’s pinball-esque path, Kuyt slammed the ball home from the edge of the area to give Kenny Dalglish’s men a thoroughly deserved two-goal lead. Questions would have to be asked in the City dressing room why no player simply smashed the ball out of play to end the torrent of shots besieging Hart’s net.

Only moments after, Carroll doubled his Liverpool account when more poor City defending allowed the number nine to increase the lead further. A cross from the left was pinpoint perfect and Carroll made Aleksandar Kolarov look average as he powered his header beyond the sprawling Hart. Roberto Mancini’s side have struggled away from Eastlands and his spirit would not have been improved watching this debacle.

After the interval, Mancini replaced the clearly unhappy James Milner with David Silva, but the Spaniard could do little to stem the flow of the Red wave. Dalglish didn’t ease up and Liverpool continued the onslaught which gave City precious few chances to find any hope of a way back into the game.

To sum up the miserable evening for City, Balotelli, himself a sub, was replaced late on for Nigel De Jong much to the merriment of Anfield.

Carroll almost completed a hat trick when another header from the England man dropped on to the roof of Hart's goal in the dying minutes of the game. He was given a standing ovation as he was replaced and Ian Rush, watching from the stands was clearly pleased with what he saw.

The result is one which Liverpool fans have been searching for all season long and the days when the Reds were not far from the drop zone seem far, far away. City on the other hand, are once again looking in the rear-view mirror at Tottenham as the fight for the fourth and final Champions League spot continues.

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