Liverpool Live Blog: Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure and James Milner Fire Manchester City Past Liverpool 3-0


January 3, 2012

Liverpool Live Blog: Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure and James Milner Fire Manchester City Past Liverpool 3-0Final, 3-0 Manchester City: It's all over at the Etihad Stadium and City emerges as the emphatic victors. Liverpool fell to a ruthless and professional team that is deservedly leading the Premier League at this point in time. It remains in sixth place, having failed to gain ground on its top-four rivals.

The Reds had the advantage of two extra days' rest and it showed in the first half. They were livelier and more assertive then their hosts, but fell victim to momentary lapses of concentration and trailed by two at the half. 

City was able to sit deep and defend LFC's barrage of crosses in the second half, before catching the Reds going forward in the lead-up to the third goal. When Milner buried the penalty kick, it was all over. 

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90th minute, 3-0 Manchester City: Bellamy cuts in from the left and fires a right-footed shot on goal. Hart saves, Maxi gets to the rebound, but the outstanding goalkeeper gives him no angle. 

86th minute, 3-0 Manchester City: Maxi gets involved for the first time, collecting Gerrard's pass in the area. 

He turned two defenders, but sent his left-footed shot well wide. 

82nd minute, 3-0 Manchester City: Gerrard drives his shot from distance just wide of the far upper corner.

There's little else left in this one. City has the game in control and Liverpool's body language has a defeated tone to it. 

80th minute, 3-0 Manchester City: Johnson almost put the hosts up by four. He bends a left-footed shot around Reina, but it crashes off the post.

77th minute, 3-0 Manchester City: Maxi comes on for Spearing. 

74th minute, 3-0 Manchester City: Skrtel fouls Toure in the area and the referee hs given a penalty. 

Milner powers the spot kick past Reina to seal the result.

73rd minute, 3-0 Manchester City: Barry is sent off for two yellows. This one is for a foul on Henderson. It was a cynical shoulder charge. 

70th minute, 2-0 Manchester City: Johnson comes on for Aguero. 

This is the time of the game where Liverpool's advantage of two extra days' rest should come into play.

67th minute, 2-0 Manchester City: Liverpool has City pressed into its own end, as it continues its barrage of crosses to Carroll. You all know how what they're coming to. 

Kompany and Toure are dealing with them with ease. 

63rd minute, 2-0 Manchester City: Bellamy and Gerrard have not had a huge impact so far. The Welshman has crossed to Carroll on a few occasions, but they've been cleared by City defenders. 

Also, the ball is starting to get caught in the little puddles that are forming on the field. That won't help the better-passing LFC team in this one. 

58th minute, 2-0 Manchester City: Srktel and Dzeko are face-to-face now. Dzeko jumped to win a header and Skrtel undercut him. The referee gave the foul, but Dzeko wanted the final say on the matter. 

57th minute, 2-0 Manchester City: Kuyt and Adam come off, and Gerrard and Bellamy replace them.

55th minute, 2-0 Manchester City: The quality of the game is suffering a bit because the players are having trouble with their footing on the wet field. 

54th minute, 2-0 Manchester City: Downing is still very positive and aggressive on the left. He's running at Richards each chance he gets, and is working well with the supporting Enrique. 

Kuyt and Johnson are not providing enough balance on the right. 

51st minute, 2-0 Manchester City: LFC has started well in the second half, but Kompany and his cohorts are always there to thwart the final ball. 

Carroll is the intended target for every attack, but he's isolated on his own against the City back line. 

Credit goes to the big man for battling, but LFC needs different ideas. 

46th minute, 2-0 Manchester City: The weather was always looking grim and it's turned into a heavy downpour early in the second half. 

Halftime, 2-0 Manchester City: It was as bad an outcome as anyone could have expected for the Reds, as they trail City by two at halftime. 

It's not that the performance has been down. Liverpool was the better passing team for most of the half. It's that City was far better in the moments that mattered.

Downing didn't score when he needed to. Reina couldn't turn away Aguero's innocent-looking shot. Toure lost Johnson to score on the second corner kick in succession. Kompany's anticipation put him in position to turn Kuyt's shot away.

In these decisive moments, City came out ahead each time. Liverpool was arguably the better team for the rest of the game, but it is not reflected in the score-line.

43rd minute, 2-0 Manchester City: Enrique swings a lofted cross into the area, it finds Carroll, who heads it to the trailing Kuyt. 

The Dutchman put his shot low, but Kompany blocked it with his trailing leg. It was another great chance that the Reds could not convert. Credit to the Belgian defender. He saved his team's two-goal lead (not to say Hart wouldn't have). 

39th minute, 2-0 Manchester City: Liverpool still enjoys the balance of possession, but lacks menace with it. 

City is very compact and organized in it's 4-4-2 formation. 

37th minute, 2-0 Manchester City: Downing drives up the left and finds Carroll with a low cross. The striker got his foot to it, but his shot was wide of Hart's goal. 

33rd minute, 2-0 Manchester City: Yaya Toure heads the ensuing corner past Reina, off the bar and in. 

The Ivorian lost Johnson with a quick run off the goal line to the six yard box. He got plenty of power on the header and gives the hosts a two-goal lead. 

33rd minute, 1-0 Manchester City: Kompany flashes a header that Reina saves well.  

31st minute, 1-0 Manchester City: Skrtel commits an accidental hand ball in the LFC area, but referee Mike Jones does not give the penalty.

The Slovakian faces the stiffest of tests against the free-scoring home team. 

29th minute, 1-0 Manchester City: LFC has a dangerous free-kick opportunity. It's right at the top of the arc, but Henderson hits it straight into the legs of Richards. It was a wasted opportunity. 

27th minute, 1-0 Manchester City: Liverpool's response to the goal his been admirable. It looks like the same crisp-passing group that we've seen all season. It's a good display of character by the visitors. 

23rd minute, 1-0 Manchester City: Adam's free kick is saved by Hart. LFC is enjoying the better of possession, but the chief creators are the fullbacks, Kuyt and Downing. 

They are aiming for Carroll's head, but City's defenders are in position to clear the crosses every time. 

LFC needs more variety in the attack and someone who can attack City down the middle (cough — Gerrard — cough).

22nd minute, 1-0 Manchester City: Dzeko shoots from the top of the area and it deflects off Johnson and goes agonizingly (for City) wide. LFC dodged a cruel blow there. 

20th minute, 1-0 Manchester City: The Reds are trailing after 20 minutes, and it's all down to their own doing. 

Downing should have put them ahead with that gift of a chance in the eighth minute. They were punished two minutes later with Aguero's strike and Reina's mistake. He dove to his right and it looked like he was caught in two minds. It was not so far ahead of him that he needed to extend his body, and it went under him almost at waist level. 

17th minute, 1-0 Manchester City: Carroll gets on the end of Kuyt's cross, but sends his header high and wide. It was his first involvement in the final third. 

14th minute, 1-0 Manchester City: The game ball has been changed for a second time now. Aguero scored right after the the first mutually agreed upon switch. 

Tenth minute, 1-0 Manchester City: Reina's gaffe gifts Aguero a goal.

It started when Kuyt was dispossessed in the midfield by Milner. He then found Silva, who played it with one-touch to Aguero.

The Argentine sniper hit his shot hard from 20 yards out. It took a slight deflection off of Agger, but Reina saw it all the way. He dove to his right, but the shot somehow went under him. It was a horrible error for the ever-dependable Spanish goalkeeper.

Eighth minute, 0-0: Henderson sent Downing into the City area alone, but the scoreless winger had his shot saved by the on-rushing Hart.

His finish lacked a bit of power and the England goalkeeper saved with his trailing leg. 

Seventh minute, 0-0: Silva and Richards combine in the box to get it to Dzeko just six yards from the goal. The Bosnian striker took a heavy touch and Reina collected it from danger. 

He hasn't scored in nine games. 

Fifth minute, 0-0: Liverpool has the early advantage and is moving the ball well. Manchester City is doing the chasing in the early goings, though neither team has created a scoring chance thus far. 

First minute, 0-0: Charlie Adam is lined up in an advanced position ahead of Henderson and Spearing in the midfield. Downing is back on his favored left side, and Kuyt is on the right.

Pregame: LFC will field a similar team to the one that started against Newcastle on Friday. Kuyt replaces Bellamy — he of two goal heroics — in the attack, as the only change.

Steve Gerrard will start the game on the bench, but it's safe to say he'll play some role in this game. 

Jay Spearing will have his work cut out for him, facing the marauding and swashbuckling Yaya Toure and Silva. 

For Manchester City, the lack of depth in the attack is apparent. Dzeko and Aguero start up top, but there is no recognized striker on the bench. Balotelli did not overcome the ankle injury in time to face the Reds.

2:30 p.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
Charlie Adam (26), midfielder
Jay Spearing (20), midfielder
Jordan Henderson (14), midfielder
Stuart Downing (19), midfielder
Dirk Kuyt (18), midfielder
Andy Carroll (9), forward


Doni (32), goalkeeper
Jamie Carragher (23), defender
Martin Kelly (34), defender
Steve Gerrard (8), midfielder
Jonjo Shelvey (33), midfielder
Craig Bellamy (39), forward
Maxi (11), forward

Manchester City

Joe Hart (25), goalkeeper
Micah Richards (2), right back
Vincent Kompany (4), center back
Kolo Toure (28), center back
Gael Clichy (22), left back
Gareth Barry (18), midfielder
James Milner (7), midfielder 
Yaya Toure (42), midfielder
David Silva (21), forward
Sergio Aguero (16), forward
Edin Dzeko (10), striker


Costel Pantilimon (30), goalkeeper
Joleon Lescott (6), defender
Stefan Savic (15), defender 
Pablo Zabaleta (5), defender 
Aleksandar Kolarov (13), defender 
Nigel De Jong (34), midfielder 
Adam Johnson (11), midfielder

12 a.m. ET: The fun never stops in the Premier League during the holiday season. The turn of the year means another round of games, and for Liverpool a trip to Premier League leader Manchester City on Tuesday.

These two teams clashed at Anfield in November, and played out a thrilling 1-1 draw. Were it not for City goalkeeper Joe Hart's heroics, LFC would have taken all three points against its formidable opponents. That game will undoubtedly be on the minds of both teams. 

Liverpool ended 2011 on a high, by beating Newcastle 3-1 at Anfield on Friday. Craig Bellamy and Steve Gerrard led the way for the Reds, and it is likely both will play major roles against City. Luis Suarez is available for selection again, having served a one-game ban for giving Fulham fans the middle finger. Sixth-place Liverpool will have the advantage of two more days' rest than Tuesday's opponent. 

City enters the game facing questions about its form and title credentials. The top team for most of the 2011-12 season took just one points from its last two games (a draw at West Brom and a loss against Sunderland). It now faces a much stiffer test, but will only have 48 hours to prepare for the Liverpool game. Mario Balotelli suffered an ankle injury, which kept him out of Sunday's game. He is questionable for Tuesday. 

Join us at 3 p.m. for our coverage of Liverpool-Manchester City. We'll have all the action right here.

Have a question for Marcus Kwesi O'Mard? Send it to him via Twitter at @NESNsoccer or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

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