Reds fail to breach City citadel

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 encounter on Thursday.
By HT Correspondent | AFP, Manchester
UPDATED ON DEC 28, 2013 01:40 AM IST

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 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.

Liverpool, meanwhile, fell from first place to fourth, but they trail new leaders Arsenal by only three points. Having weathered a characteristically strong start from the hosts, Liverpool stunned Manuel Pellegrini’s men by taking the lead after 24 minutes.

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.

This 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.

Kompany was the source, the big defender rising powerfully to meet a David Silva corner with a precise headed finish.

On the stroke of half-time, City went in front. Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet was at fault, badly misjudging Negredo’s shot after the City forward got on the end of a slick counter-attack by Samir Nasri and Jesus Navas.

Rodgers faces rap

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers faces FA action, and a possible disrepute charge, after complaining about the game’s referee Lee Mason. Mason, who did appear to make errors on a number of key decisions, is based in Bolton which is technically in the county of "Greater Manchester."

"We had no help whatsoever from the officials," said Rodgers. "I thought they were horrendous. We had nothing go our wayat all."

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