Kenny Dalglish likely told Jamie Carragher to help win the game Wednesday — by any means necessary. The LFC vice-captain obliged by unsettling Samir Nasri in a confrontation that earned both players a yellow card late in the game.
Carragher only took the field in the 79th minute, as LFC was clinging to a 1-0 lead. City had been applying attacking pressure and creating scoring chances for much of the second half. Nasri was at the heart of much of the hosts' positive play.
The French attacker came on for the injured Mario Balotelli in the 38th minute. He announced himself seconds later with a shot that LFC goalkeeper Pepe Reina did well to save. For much of the next hour, Nasri troubled the LFC defense with his crisp passing and direct approach. His entrance was what seemed to spark the City attack to life.
In the 86th minute (just six after Carragher took the field), the veteran LFC defender was ushering a ball to the sideline — with trailing Nasri him closely — when he decided to clear it at the last minute. After his follow-through, he turned and stepped on Nasri's foot, and the combustable City player took offense. Nasri got straight in Carragher's face and drove his shoulder into the 33-year-old's chest.
A minor fracas ensued, and there was a bit of pushing and shoving. Referee Lee Mason cautioned both Carragher and Nasri, and that was the end of the matter.
But Nasri's influence on the remainder of the game was diminished from what it had been before the clash.
City failed to score at the Etihad Stadium for the first time this season, thanks to a masterful defensive effort by the Reds. Manager Kenny Dalglish praised Carragher's contribution in preserving the clean sheet (shutout).
"We put the other old warhorse on at the end, Carra," Dalglish said after the game. "There is a good bit of knowledge between those two [Carragher and Steve Gerrard] on how to win a game and we needed it tonight."
It's unknown if Carragher intentionally stepped on Nasri's foot, but its effect was significant. A bit of veteran savvy took focus of the opposition's best attacker off the game, if only for a moment.
Review all the action from Wednesday's game in our Liverpool Live Blog.
Thumbnail photo via Flickr/johnrobjones
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