Liverpool, yet to find their feet under new manager Brendan Rodgers, are set to host champions Man City on August 26.
Rodgers had a nightmare start to his career at Liverpool’s helm when his wards came unraveled — losing 3-0 to West Brom — in their league opener. Admittedly, Rodgers had a lot to moan about regarding the refereeing in the match when Daniel Agger was sent off after a professional foul on Shane Long. Later, Long appeared to go down far too easily to have the referee award his side their second penalty.
But Long’s histrionics notwithstanding, there was no gainsaying Albion’s dominance over the Reds on an afternoon when Zoltan Gera, Peter Odemwingie and Romelu Lukaku came to the party, with a goal each. If anything, Liverpool’s shambolic backline were fortunate not to concede five goals. The game was sweet revenge for Albion’s manager, Stuart Clarke, who, not so long ago, was dismissed by Liverpool via a phone call.
On the bright side for the Anfield squad, Joe Allen had an impressive debut and Luis Suarez showed menace albeit accompanied by the poor finishing that was the Uruguayan striker’s bane the whole of the last season. Suarez let three scoring chances go a begging and the striker will need to be at the top of his game if he wants to breach Man City’s backline. Liverpool are also likely to rue Agger’s absence in their own otherwise porous defence.
Southampton did not allow Man City much time to revel in their status as champions forcing Roberto Mancini’s side to scramble to overcome the promoted Saints. Nigel Adkins’s wards made City wait for as long as 80 minutes before Nasri fired the winner after latching on to the ball when Danny Fox failed to clear a cross from Gael Clichy.
City suffered a blow when Sergio Aguero was carried off after a challenge by Nathaniel Clyne on 14 minutes. In a slipshod performance by the champions against the persevering Saints who displayed great ability and confidence, David Silva had his weak penalty saved on 16 minutes. Tevez put the champions ahead on 40 minutes after grabbing a pass at the near post from Nasri but that failed to cow Southampton who leveled at 1-1 when substitute Rickie Lambert took advantage of a weak clearance by Joleon Lescott on 59 minutes.
At the end of the day, relief was the predominant emotion at the Etihad and Mancini’s wards would have to thank the Saints for shaking them out of complacency, as early as in match week one. Man City will be wary of taking on a wounded Liverpool side playing at Anfield with the backing of vociferous home supporters. That said, on current form, it’s hard to imagine how Liverpool’s defence could possibly cope with City’s rampaging attack.
Liverpool’s starting eleven against West Brom: Reina, Kelly, Skrtel, Agger, Johnson, Allen, Levia, Gerrard, Borini, Downing, Suarez.
Man City’s starting eleven against Southampton: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy, Silva, Rodwell, Toure, Nasri, Aguero, Tevez.
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Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.