Liverpool Live Blog: Reds Share Spoils With Manchester City, Draw English Premier League's Best 1-1

Final, 1-1: Liverpool rewards the Anfield faithful with its most complete performance of the season and will leave with the feeling that it could have beaten the best team in the English Premier League.

And this was no outlier either. The Reds were not far from their usual level, but the draw was the result of increased focus and concentration that followed a famous victory and an intense week of training.

The visitors faded as the game progressed, presumably because of their midweek loss to Napoli in the UEFA Champions League. As their field players shrank, Hart rose to the occasion, making a string of saves throughout the second half that preserved City's unbeaten run. City was not at its best and will be be thankful to take a point from the Anfield trip.

Dalglish and supporters will delight in Liverpool's performance. The contest was an even one in nearly every subjective measure for the first 65 minutes. The Reds dominated the final 25. Even before Balotelli's ejection, one could sense the Reds growing in belief. They had to settle for a point from a game they probably deserved to win. 

That's all for now. Let's discuss this one on Twitter @NESNsoccer and Facebook. Be sure to keep an eye out for some news, fan reactions, analysis and opinion that is on the way. And please spare a thought for the family and friends of Gary Speed during this difficult time. He was one of the greats.

93rd minute, 1-1: Hart 's diving save prevents Carroll's header from winning the game. Johnson crossed to the big LFC striker, who shielded Kolo and headed powerfully to the near post. A diving save by Hart kept Liverpool from winning at the last minute for the second consectutive game.

89th minute, 1-1: Dzeko goes on a solo run down the right touchline and crosses to Silva in the area. Reina is caught out of his net, but three LFC defenders are on the line to prevent the goal. It was Skrtel who is credited with the block. But if it was not him it would have been someone else.

It was the third or fourth instance of Reina acting as a fifth defender and they have been progressively increasing in danger. 

88th minute, 1-1: Suarez and Lucas combine with a one-two that ends with Suarez smashing his shot to the near post. Only Hart's save keeps the Reds from going ahead. 

83rd minute, 1-1: Balotelli's day is over. He was booked earlier for a professional foul. Now he clatters into Skrtel with his elbow and forearm. He is sent off with for his second yellow card. Mancini is red — and not Liverpool red — with rage at his protegee. We've seen referee Martin Atkinson sent off Arsenal's Fringpong and Everton's Rodwell earlier this season. Now it's Balotelli's turn. 

82nd minte, 1-1: Aguero comes off for Dzeko. The Argentine sniper was limping earlier but soldiered on. 

78th minute, 1-1: Adam whips a set-piece into the area and, after a couple deflections, it's saved by Hart. 

75th minute, 1-1: The Uruguayan has been matched against Lescott and Kompany throughout the game, but has more than held his own. He is far livelier than he was last week. A pair of intercontinental flights in a week's time took a lot out of the LFC talisman.

74th minute, 1-1: Suarez skips past Clichy at the touchline, but Lescott intercepts his reverse pass. Kut nearly gets to it but it goes out for a corner. 

72nd  minute, 1-1: Dalglish is sitting on three substitutions and City looks like it's running out of gas. 

This would be a perfect time for Bellamy to come on and torment Richards and the City defense.  

70th minute, 1-1: It looks like City has worn itself down. The visitors are lacking that burst teams need when going forward against a sturdy and resolute defense. 

A moment of brilliance from Balotelli or Aguero may be all Mancini can ask for. No team goals look to be on offer.

67th minute, 1-1: Downing draws a save from Hart. He must be desperate to get on the LFC scorers' list. 

65th minute, 1-1: Balotelli finally comes on for Nasri and he's sporting a blonde mohawk. What's wrong with that dude?

62nd minute, 1-1: Reina tracks Aguero down in the area and tackles it clear. You read that correctly. It's the sweeper-keeper at his best. 

61st minute, 1-1: Balotelli looks set to come on, as the second half continues in the same tidy style as the first. 

53rd minute, 1-1: Johnson crosses and Kompany deflects onto the path of Kuyt. His header goes wide at Hart's near post.

Kuyt has been pinned back on the right for most of the game. It the first or second time he's gotten into such an advanceed position. Liverpool needs more from him in that department. 

49th minute, 1-1: Liverepool is showing the early attacking impetus here. Suarez and Adam combine in the final third, but there were too many City defenders. Henderson followed up with a juggling act in the box (just so we know he's still out there, maybe) but could not get a shot off. 

Halftime, 1-1: I tried to make this point for the last 15 minutes of the first half, but the action wouldn't stop.

With so little few flashpoints in the first half hour, it became clear that this game is a classic tactical duel. 

The score is tied, as it has been for all 45 minutes (bar the 107 seconds when City had a lead). After a nervy first two or three minutes, Liverpool showed no fear when matched against the league's best team.

The outcome will be decided within the details. This is a long way of saying that collectively the teams are even so individual mistakes or heroics should swing the balance one way or another. 

45th minute, 1-1: Call it Toe-to-toe, Tet-a-tete, or anything in between. This one is an even contest as the first half approaches its end. 

39th minute, 1-1: Johnson curls a shot just wide with his left foot. Liverpool has had a better response to the pair of goals than City. The Reds look more determined and committed in these early mintues following the goals. 

37th minute, 1-1: Suarez feeds Kuyt into the area. The Dutchman shields Clichy and finds Adam making a late run. His shot is saved brilliantly by Hart.

33rd minute, 1-1: Adam shoots and it deflects off Lescott and into the net. Adam decides to have a shot from 25 yards out as there was no pressure. It was weekly hit, but the former Everton defender swung at it, scuffed it and gave the leaning Hart no chance. 

31st minute, 1-0 Manchester City: Kompany heads in Silva's corner. Kuyt and Johnson were steamrolled by the big Belgian who flashes his header into the far corner of the net from the near post. 

Why Kuyt (and not Skrtel) was marking Kompany is beyond me. Johnson and Kuyt trip over 

23rd minute, 0-0: Liverpool is decidely taking a more cautious approach — both in attack and defense — than it went with last week against Chelsea. Are the Reds conserving energy to prevent a second half drop that we've seen so many times this season?

15th minute, 0-0: Lucas spoke about how the Reds applied selective pressure against Chelsea this week. 

It looks like they're sticking with the strategy. When Barry gets the ball, LFC midfielders drop deep and allow the Englishman to create from his holding position. 

14th minute, 0-0: Suarez bamboozles Kompany with a tricky touch on the touchline and is met with a scathing tackle on the shin. The Belgian is booked for it, despite his protests. The card was a harsh one and eliminates his margin for error. 

13th minute, 0-0: This game is only slowly coming to life and it starts in the stands. City supporters loud in their appreciation of Roberto Mancini. He comes form Italy apparently. 

The KOP responds with a chant for Dalglish. 

11th minute, 0-0: City has the better of posession early on in this one. The visitors are moving the ball about with purpose and poise. But it comes to nothing. 

Liverpool is focused on keeping its shape and applying pressure when warranted. 

Fourth minute, 0-0: The game is on after the two teams observe a minute of silence for Speed. Liverpool looked a little nervy at the start, but settled. 

Judgiung from the early goings, the Reds want to catch the high-scoring visitors on the counter.  

10:45 a.m.: The teams are in and the big news is that Craig Bellamy has asked to be omitted from today's Liverpool squad because of the death of his friend and national team manager Gary Speed. 

The Welsh attacker was understandably too distraught to play after hearing the tragic news. 

Speed reportedly took his own life this morning. He was 42 years old and leaves behind a wife and two daughters. 

Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing have been restored to the starting 11. 

Maxi returns to the bench. Fit-again Jamie Carragher has been left out of the starting lineup with Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger maintaining their spots in the center of defense. 

It's a familiar and stable lineup for City. The leaders have left Mario Balotelli out on the bench diminishing the game's entertainment value. But this game is about results, right?

10:30 a.m.: Here are the Lineups:


Pepe Reina (25), goalkeeper
Glen Johnson (2), right back
Daniel Agger (5), center back
Martin Skrtel (37), center back
Jose Enrique (3), left back
Lucas (21), midfielder
Charlie Adam (26), midfielder
Jordan Henderson (14), midfielder
Stuart Downing (19), midfielder
Dirk Kuyt (18), midfielder 
Luis Suarez (7), forward


Doni (32), goalkeeper
Jamie Carragher (23), defender
Martin Kelly (34), defender
Jay Spearing (20), midfielder
Maxi (11), midfielder
Andy Carroll (9), forward

Manchester City

Joe Hart (25), goalkeeper
Micah Richards (2), right back
Vincent Kompany (4), center back
Joleon Lescott (6), center back
Gael Clichy (22), left back
Yaya Toure (42), midfielder
Gareth Barry (18), midfielder
David Silva (21), midfielder
Samir Nasri (19), midfielder
James Milner (7), midfielder
Sergio Aguero (16), striker


Costel Pantilimon (30), goalkeeper
Kolo Toure (28), defender
Pablo Zabaleta (5), defender
Nigel de Jong (34), midfielder
Michael Johnson (6), midfielder
Mario Balotelli (45), forward
Edin Dzeko (10), striker

8 a.m.: Liverpool has a growing reputation for its ability to raise its game against top opponents. That will be put to the test Sunday when league leading Manchester City visits Anfield.

Despite internal struggles with star players, City is riding the wave of last season's FA Cup success. The gatecrashers are off to the best-ever start in the Premier League. It's unbeaten, winning 11 of 12 league games and scoring a terrifying 42 goals.

Kenny Dalglish has a knack for getting his players charged up for the big game. He took it one step forward in his pregame comments, as he reminded the fans of the special atmosphere surrounding Sunday's contest.

"It's always a fantastic atmosphere," the Liverpool manager told, "especially now we're getting towards the dark nights. 4pm is like an evening kick-off. It's going to be dark, the lights will be on and that has provided some of the most fantastic stages for football at Anfield."

The big question is whether Dalglish will stick with the changes that worked so well last week against Chelsea. The mobile attacking quartet of Luis Suarez, Craig Bellamy, Maxi and Dirk Kuyt pressured and unbalanced their opponents, which was central to the famous victory.

Join us at 11 a.m. ET for our Liverpool Live Blog. We'll have all the action as it happens.