Final, 3-2 Liverpool: It’s all over. Jubilation reigns at Anfield, as Liverpool celebrates its 10th-straight Premier League triumph.
The adoring crowd provided the Reds with both emotion and energy from the start, and Liverpool responded with a performance worthy of a league-leading team. Liverpool dominated early, storming out to a 2-0 lead in the first half. Manchester City erased Liverpool’s early advantage with an impressive second-half comeback, but Kompany undid the visitors’ good work with a monumental error that Coutinho punished with the winning goal.
While the Reds played like title favorites for the first 30 minutes, Manchester City heaped immense pressure on them for long stretches in the second half. Liverpool wasn’t resilient enough to withstand Manchester City’s charge, as Milner and Silva’s bursts of energy leveled the score. But the Reds did what all good (or great) teams do from time to time. They capitalized on a moment of luck and punished their opponents’ mistake.
The win opens up a seven point lead between first and third places with four games to play (although Manchester City can reduce it to one point by winning its two games in hand). Chelsea plays Swansea City later Sunday, needing to reduce Liverpool’s five-point advantage. Victory against Manchester City keeps Liverpool in the driver’s seat for the Premier League title, and sets the stage for another “game of the century” at Anfield — when Chelsea visits on April 27.
Henderson’s red card is the main blot, as far as Liverpool is concerned. The energetic midfielder could face a three-game ban, ruling him out of the Reds’ games against Norwich City, Chelsea and Crystal Palace.
That’s all for now and thanks for joining us. 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 on NESN.com.
95th minute, 3-2 Liverpool: Sterling exits the field. Lucas replaces him in an effort to soften the blow from Henderson’s red card.
93rd minute, 3-2 Liverpool: Henderson is sent off after a studs-up tackle on Nasri.
The Liverpool midfielder walks off the field, knowing he’ll face a suspension.
90th minute, 3-2 Liverpool: The fourth official indicates that there will be five minutes of stoppage time in the second half.
89th minute, 3-2 Liverpool: Coutinho’s day is done. He makes a hero’s exit as he walks off the field.
Moses replaces him for the games final few minutes.
87th minute, 3-2 Liverpool: Coutinho’s goal is Liverpool’s 93rd league goal this season — new club record.
93 – Liverpool have scored more goals this season than in any other previous top flight campaign. Record.—
(@OptaJoe) April 13, 2014
82nd minute, 3-2 Liverpool: Demichelis puts a header on goal, but Mignolet saves it easily.
78th minute, 3-2 Liverpool: Coutinho capitalizes on Kompany’s calamity and puts Liverpool back in front.
PHOTO: What a moment... http://t.co/yEtKTLK2eg—
Liverpool FC (@LFC) April 13, 2014
Kompany tried to clear Clichy’s header off an innocent throw-in — there was no one around him — but misplayed his kick. It fell at the top of the penalty area, and the Brazilian reacted first, slotting it low past Hart.
Manchester City captain Kompany could be hanging his head after this game. He made a high-profile error against Fulham back in December, but his team won that game. The stakes are so much higher in this game, and Manchester City may not be able to recover.
75th minute, 2-2: Aguero breaks away down the left and slides a cross to Silva, but the sliding Spaniard is unable to redirect the cross on target.
67th minute, 2-2: Manchester City’s second-half renaissance has Liverpool reeling.
The visitors seized the impetus early in the second half and quieted the Anfield roar with a pair of goals.
Liverpool must defend the wide areas better, as that is where Manchester City is creating much of the danger.
In the lead-up to the game, Rodgers, Gerrard and Henderson said Liverpool must demonstrate its poise and composure against Manchester City. This moment tests those characteristics.
67th minute, 2-2: Liverpool makes its first change, bringing on Allen for Sturridge.
Aguero is coming on for resurgent Manchester City. He replaces Dzeko, whose shot Mignolet saved a minute ago.
62nd minute, 2-2: Silva scores again, as Manchester City ties the game with an impressive comeback.
Silva’s cross took a fortunate double deflection off of Johnson and Mignolet before rolling into the goal.
57th minute, 2-1 Liverpool: Manchester City is rewarded for its best passage of play with a goal.
Silva finished the move, but Fernandinho and Milner did much of the work. Fernandinho played Milner deep into the area, the second-half substitute controlled it and crossed to Silva, who finished from 10 yards out.
Milner has made a real impact in his first 10 minutes on the field.
53rd minute, 2-0 Liverpool: Skrtel makes a pair of excellent defensive plays.
First, he ended Fernandinho’s forward foray with a last-ditch tackle. Then he intercepted Silva’s cross in the box, leading to a Liverpool clearance. The Slovakian has been heroic at the back, and up front, so far.
50th minute, 2-0 Liverpool: Milner replaces Navas, as Pellegrini makes his second change of the contest.
46th minute, 2-0 Liverpool: Neither team made any substitutions at halftime. The second half kicks off.
Halftime, 2-0 Liverpool: The first half has come to an end, and the Anfield crowd roars Liverpool into the dressing room.
The Reds have stormed to an early lead thanks to a dominant first-half performance. Sterling set the tone with that early goal, and Liverpool grew in stature from that point. Brendan Rodgers’ philosophy and game plan are on display once again, as the Reds carried out their manager’s orders to near perfection. Liverpool was much better than Manchester City on balance of play, and Skrtel’s header confirmed it in the scoreline.
Liverpool overwhelmed Manchester City for the first 30 minutes, as the fast-starting hosts looked to put the game out of reach early on. Kompany looks less than his assured normal self, as that knee injury he suffered in practice this week could be having a negative effect on his performance.
Toure’s injury also was devastating, as Manchester City lost its best all-around player. Toure’s absence makes it increasingly difficult for Manchester City to sustain possession and gain a foothold into the game. Silva has struggled to make an impact without Toure dictating tempo behind him.
45th minute, 2-0 Liverpool: Johnson makes a crucial clearance off of the goal line.
Seconds later, Mignolet makes a great diving save, denying Fernandinho a certain goal.
Fernandinho then is booked for a cheap foul on Suarez.
44th minute, 2-0 Liverpool: Manchester City has improved slightly as the first half nears its conclusion.
The visitors’ passing has grown sharper and their tackling has become tougher.
Silva could have reduced the deficit but his flashing header went wide.
34th minute, 2-0 Liverpool: Liverpool has threatened to overrun Manchester City in the first half.
The Reds have largely controlled play, passing with both precision and intent.
When Manchester City attacks, the Reds defend effectively with numbers before breaking forward after they recover possession.
33rd minute, 2-0 Liverpool: Manchester City has a penalty appeal after Sakho’s uncontrolled challenge in the area.
The French defender lunged into a tackle, missing the ball. Dzeko did his best to jump out of Sakho’s path, limiting the contact. The referee said “no penalty.”
27th minute, 2-0 Liverpool: Skrtel doubles Liverpool’s fun by thundering home a header off of Gerrard’s corner kick.
PHOTO: Yes, Martin! http://t.co/REHhDWMLMM—
Liverpool FC (@LFC) April 13, 2014
It’s the Slovakian’s seventh league goal this season.
26th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Hart denies Gerrard with a fantastic save.
Coutinho’s corner kick found Gerrard, who was unmarked near the spot. The LFC captain headed powerfully on goal, but Hart parried it over the crossbar.
25th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Manchester City is putting Liverpool under pressure, but the Reds remain dangerous on the counter-attack.
24th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Suarez now leads the Premier League in both goals (29) and assists.
12 - Luis Suarez has provided more assists than any other Premier League player this season (12). Vision.—
(@OptaJoe) April 13, 2014
21st minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Garcia fouls Henderson with a tackle from behind and finds his way into the referee’s book.
18th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Toure’s game is finished.
The Manchester City midfielder — perhaps his team’s most important player this season — limps off the field. Garcia replaces Toure.
The switch puts the onus on Fernandinho to push forward, dictate the tempo and link the defense with Silva, the wide players and the strikers. These are things Toure usually does, but Fernandinho now must fill his vast shoes.
15th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Sturridge has a great opportunity to double Liverpool’s lead but shoots wide.
Sterling set Sturridge up with a cross from the right, but the LFC striker couldn’t hit the target with his side-footed shot.
Meanwhile, Toure looks to have injured himself taking a wayward shot two minutes ago. The Ivorian is limping.
11th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Liverpool is off to another fast start.
24 - Liverpool have scored in the first half in 24 consecutive Barclays Premier League games, extending the competition record. Lively.—
(@OptaJoe) April 13, 2014
Sixth minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Sterling scores. Liverpool takes the lead early on.
Liverpool FC (@LFC) April 13, 2014
Suarez sent Sterling into the area with a perfect through ball. Sterling controlled it, shimmied left then right, wrong-footing both Kompany and Hart before firing home from eight yards out.
It’s Sterling’s seventh league goal of the season.
Fifth minute, 0-0: Liverpool has controlled play early on, controlling possession and maintaining a territorial advantage.
Suarez is cautioned for fouling Demichelis. Suarez slid in and caught the Argentine defender with his trailing leg as he attempted a clearance.
First minute, 0-0: The game is underway. Liverpool is attacking the Kop end.
Pregame: Liverpool goes with the same starting 11 that it used against West Ham last weekend.
Sakho retains his place in defense, while Agger starts on the bench.
It’s a big occasion for Liverpool’s Flanagan. The LFC academy graduate made his debut on April 11, 2011 against Manchester City — just over two years ago.
Liverpool has had great success when it starts games fast. The Reds have won 21 of 25 games this season when they score first.
Suarez and Sturridge have been racking up the goals and dominating headlines, but Sterling and Coutinho will be equally important to Liverpool’s attack against Manchester City. Liverpool will need their guile and energy to threaten Manchester City on the counterattack.
Meanwhile, Kompany has shaken off the knock he took in practice. He starts in the heart of the Manchester City defense, looking to contain Suarez, Sturridge and Co.
Aguero is on the bench, as manager Manuel Pellegrini selects Dzeko as the lone forward. Silva will most likely roam underneath Dzeko, while Nasri and Navas provide the width.
8:07 a.m.: Here are the lineups:
Simon Mignolet (15), goalkeeper
Jon Flanagan (38), left back
Mamadou Sakho (17), center back
Martin Skrtel (37), center back
Glen Johnson (2), right back
Steven Gerrard (8), midfielder
Philippe Coutinho (10), midfielder
Jordan Henderson (14), midfielder
Raheem Sterling (31), forward
Daniel Sturridge (15), forward
Luis Suarez (7), forward
Brad Jones (1), goalkeeper
Kolo Toure (4), defender
Daniel Agger (5), defender
Lucas Leiva (21), midfielder
Joe Allen (24), midfielder
Victor Moses (12), forward
Iago Aspas (9), striker
Joe Hart (1), goalkeeper
Gael Clichy (22), left back
Vincent Kompany (4), center back
Martin Demichelis (26), center back
Pablo Zabaleta (5), right back
Fernandinho (25), midfielder
Yaya Toure (42), midfielder
Samir Nasri (8), midfielder
David Silva (21), midfielder
Jesus Navas (15), midfielder
Edin Dzeko (10), striker
Costel Pantilimon (30), goalkeeper
Joleon Lescott (6), defender
Aleksandar Kolarov (13), defender
Javi Garcia (14), midfielder
James Milner (7), midfielder
Sergio Aguero (16), forward
Alvaro Negredo (9), striker
7:30 a.m. ET: The eyes of the soccer world turn to Anfield on Sunday, as Liverpool hosts Manchester City in a game that will go a long way toward deciding the winner of the 2013-14 Premier League title.
The game is billed as Liverpool’s biggest in 24 years, with the host looking to claim its first league championship since 1990.
Brendan Rodgers’ Reds haven’t lost a league game since late December and have surged to the top of the league standings thanks to a nine-game winning streak. They look to make it 10 in a row Sunday, which would be their longest streak since the 2005-06 season.
However, Manchester City will test Liverpool’s title credentials like few other teams can. Manchester City occupies third place in the league and trails Liverpool by four points in the standings. It is enjoying a seven-game unbeaten run, dating back a 1-0 defeat against Chelsea on Feb. 3.
Manchester City can reduce the gap between it and Liverpool to just one point with a victory on Sunday, but may attempt to do so without captain Vincent Kompany. The Belgian center back limped out of practice on Friday and his status is uncertain. However, star striker Sergio Aguero is healthy again. Injuries have decimated the second half of the Argentine’s season, keeping him out of action all together since March 12.
No major news came out of Liverpool’s camp ahead of the game, and Rogers wouldn’t have it any other way. The Liverpool manager has relied on a set rotation during the Reds’ run. The only question is whether fit-again Daniel Agger will start in the center of defense alongside Martin Skrtel.
Sunday’s game kicks off at 8:37 a.m. Join us right here for all the action from Anfield.
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