It began with Martin Skrtel scoring a goal and ended with the same man setting up a goal for Carlos Tevez, ending the entertaining match between Liverpool and Manchester City with a 2-2 draw, with Luis Suarez looking great and scoring a fantastic free kick goal while Yaya Toure also got on the score-sheet to equalize for the first time.
So Brendan Rodgers still doesn’t have a win, and his team isn’t exactly still hasn’t quite adapted to the new pass & move style he wants to implement, but his front three, with Luis Suarez in the middle, Fabio Borini on the right and the wonder-kid Raheem Sterling on the left kept troubling the champions’ shaky defense all match long, making Vincent Kompany and Joe Hart very busy men throughout the 90 minutes.
City tried something of a 3-5-2 lineup, which wasn’t really effective. Joe Allen, Steven Gerrard and Jonjo Shelvey controlled the middle of the field, and the only time City got any kind of advantage was through long balls to Mario Balotelli or Carlos Tevez, who were very hard to handle for the Liverpool defense, missing Daniel Agger.
Eventually, it was a set piece that gave Liverpool the opening goal. Steven Gerrard won the corner himself with a tricky ball into the box, and made the most of the corner with a powerful cross and an even more powerful header from Martin Skrtel, rifling it in above the net. Liverpool continued to be the better team in the second half, but a good cross saw Pepe Reina make a lapse of judgement (not for the first time) rushing out the ball and Martin Kelly made a poor stop and job of the clearance, leaving Yaya Toure with an easy goal.
Liverpool went back to the pressing job. The final touches from their three forwards were always lacking. Too weak, or just a bit too strong, or just a bit long. A free kick won from about 25 meters and a ball four-man wall set up by Joe Hart was taken advantage of by Luis Suarez, scoring his opening goal of the season, curling it beyond Jack Rodwell into Joe Hart’s corner, while Steven Gerrard served as a decoy.
Manchester City did increase the pressing, but Liverpool seemed to handle it well. Until Martin Skrtel decided to make his huge mistake for the day, passing back to Reina without seeing the lurking Carlos Tevez, who made easy work from the terrible pass, making it 2-2 to give City their second consecutive draw at a stadium they haven’t won in since 2003.
The champions dropped points for the first time, but a draw at Anfield is never too bad of a result. Liverpool, like last season against the big teams, will feel like they missed out on a big opportunity. Still, Rodgers has to be happy with how his team played, dreaming of how good things might be from now on.