City sink Reds in thriller
Manchester - Alvaro
Negredo's ninth goal in nine home games saw Manchester City continue
their peerless home form as they beat Liverpool 2-1 in a gripping English
Premiership encounter on Thursday.
Vincent Kompany and Negredo
were City's goalscorers as they responded to Philippe Coutinho's opener
to maintain the division's only perfect home record and move their team,
ominously, into second place in the table.
Liverpool, meanwhile, fell from first place to fourth, but they trail new leaders Arsenal by only three points.
weathered a characteristically strong start to the game from the hosts,
Liverpool stunned Manuel Pellegrini's men by taking the lead after 24
Moments earlier, Luis Suarez had played Raheem Sterling
clean through on goal, only for the winger to be judged offside --
incorrectly, as replays would show.
But eventually the opening
goal arrived, thanks to a clever touch from Suarez, who steered Jordan
Henderson's pass forward for Sterling.
The young winger rounded goalkeeper Joe Hart before Coutinho took over and calmly planted the ball into the open goal.
was a true test of City's title pretentions and their invincibility at
home, where they had collected every available league point to date this
season and, sure enough, within seven minutes, they were level.
was the source, the big defender rising powerfully to meet a David
Silva corner with a precise headed finish that covering Liverpool
midfielder Joe Allen could only help into his own net.
continued to impress -- far more than fellow title hopefuls Arsenal or
Manchester United, who had been brutally swept aside by City at the
Etihad Stadium -- but on the stroke of half-time, City went in front.
goalkeeper Simon Mignolet was at fault, badly misjudging Negredo's
mis-timed shot after the City forward got on the end of a slick
counter-attack involving Samir Nasri and Jesus Navas.
It was the
culmination of a thrilling first half, which opened with Navas almost
heading City into the lead after just five minutes, meeting Aleksandar
Kolarov's left-wing cross with a superb effort that scraped the upright.
Liverpool, and Suarez in particular, are playing with the confidence
and verve of a team that even their cautious manager Brendan Rodgers now
admits may have a chance of winning the title in 2014.
13th minute, Suarez came close to adding to his recent avalanche of
goals when he headed down and just wide from Coutinho's corner.
the interval, Liverpool strung together the move of the match involving
Sterling and Suarez, who set up Coutinho for a shot that drew a
brilliant stop from Hart.
Liverpool opened the second half in
similarly ambitious mode as Suarez laid the ball off for Henderson to
poke a shot just over from the edge of the penalty area.
Uruguay international then showed superb close control to collect Aly
Cissokho's lofted through ball and elude his marker before testing Hart
at his near post.
Liverpool came close to levelling in a
50th-minute scramble when Hart repelled Sterling's lofted pass with his
leg as Henderson almost connected.
Kolarov gifted the rebound to
Suarez, who appeared to have turned it into the open net, only for the
ball to hit Henderson, who was offside.
entertaining game did not disappoint. Negredo, with a chip and a header,
tested Mignolet, while Henderson worked Hart at the other end with an
Suarez sped down the left after 72 minutes
and delivered a perfect centre for Sterling, but his team mate's shot
from inside the six-yard box cleared the bar by some distance.