|photo by kenteegardin||via PhotoRee|
Scott may want to get his vision checked after this one:
The schedule was not kind to Liverpool given a second game away at the Etihad, but poor finishing is what really finished the Reds when they came up against Manchester City. I wouldn't argue that City didn't deserve to win the game, but Liverpool certainly deserved to do better than they did. After a slow start, they controlled much of the first half, creating the better chances. The problem when you play a team like City, who are so embarrassingly blessed with talent that they have the luxury of starting Sergio Aguero on the bench, is that any chances not taken will return to haunt when an inevitable concession or two finally happens. And that's pretty much how the game went.
Steven Jovetic seems to have shaken the bug that plagued him all of last season, scoring 2 for the home side before Aguero added a third just 23 seconds and 2 touches after coming off the bench. Rickie Lambert's header late on was spectacularly saved by Joe Hart but the on-rushing striker had to be marked by the industrious Pablo Zabaleta who was unfortunate to bundle into his own goal. Still, there was late drama with a deflected clearance fell kindly to Lambert who chose the wrong option when his square pass the Daniel Sturridge was intercepted. Had Lambert shot and converted, it would have further salvaged the Liverpudlian pride and simultaneously provided a tenser finish. Instead, Liverpool will have to continue their bedding in of new players while City continue to enjoy the teamwork that comes with a consistent squad.
The end of the game was like Call of Duty - Soccer Edition as first Glenn Johnson, then Martin Skrtl then Alberto Moreno were injured. The former had to leave the field despite the lack of a substitute while the latter had to tough out an obvious ankle sprain that made every viewer wince with the replay. And while I can't complain that they kept at it to such a degree in stoppage time, I was relieved that City did not score as they pressed their man advantage and attacked the left side manned by the limping Moreno.
It will take some time for this team to start to gel, and this was the defending champions chock full of A-listers, after all. Unfortunately, to challenge for a title, there is no time to "figure it out" and "settle in." And now with yet another newbie in the hulking form of Mario Balotelli, baggage in tow, we wish Brendon Rodgers the best of luck. YNWA!
This is farlieonfootie for August 26.