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
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.
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.
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.