Negredo gives Man City 2-1 victory over Liverpool
Manchester City ended Liverpool’s short stay at the top of the
English Premier League and moved ahead of its title rival after
Alvaro Negredo secured a 2-1 victory in their Boxing Day
England’s most potent attacking team quickly recovered after
Phillippe Coutinho put Liverpool ahead in the 24th minute.
Vincent Kompany headed City level seven minutes later and
Negredo’s high shot was fumbled into the net by Liverpool
goalkeeper Simon Mignolet on the stroke of halftime.
”That’s the hardest game so far. Liverpool are a good team so
it’s great for us,” Kompany said. ”It’s a weird (title race)
because all the teams started a little slowly.”
City ended the day as it started: A point behind the leaders.
But Arsenal is back atop the standings, with City moving up a place
to second and Liverpool dropping to fourth behind Chelsea.
”I thought we were absolutely outstanding,” Liverpool manager
Brendan Rodgers said. ”(The players) had no help whatsoever from
the officials. They were horrendous.”
Aggrieved that Raheem Sterling had a goal ruled out for offside
and Luis Suarez was denied a late penalty, Rodgers questioned why a
referee from the Manchester area – Lee Mason of Bolton – was given
a match involving a Manchester team.
Rodgers could face an English Football Association charge for
calling into question the referee’s integrity and implying
”We never got any decision,” Rodgers said.
Despite the setback, Liverpool was only three points behind
leader Arsenal going into Sunday’s match at Chelsea.
City, though, remain the favorite to repeat its 2012 title
triumph after its ninth straight home win to start the season.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side has beaten every team in the top eight
apart from Chelsea, and has netted a league leading 53 goals in 18
Despite going up against the high-scoring Suarez, City was again
the superior attacking unit and created all the danger at the
Jesus Navas headed against the post after five minutes, Kompany
missed the target with a header from Samir Nasri’s corner, and Yaya
Toure’s shot was deflected wide.
It wasn’t long, though, before City goalkeeper Joe Hart was
called into action in his second league match after being dropped
for two months.
Hart denied Suarez an 11th goal of the month when he blocked his
But, after Raheem Sterling’s goal was harshly ruled out for
being offside while meeting Suarez’s pass, Hart was beaten.
Suarez flicked the ball through for Sterling to round Hart,
whose goal was open for Coutinho to dispatch the loose ball into
the net from a tight angle.
The lead lasted only seven minutes.
Kompany outjumped Martin Skrtel to meet David Silva’s corner and
his header first went past the diving Mignolet and then Joe Allen
was powerless to stop on the goal-line.
In a fast-paced game, City was at times exposed by the speed of
Liverpool’s break. In the 40th, Suarez released Coutinho, who was
denied this time by Hart.
Hart’s counterpart, though, wasn’t as assured between the
City broke through the middle, with Nasri and Navas leading the
charge before feeding Negredo.
The shot from Negredo didn’t seem menacing but Mignolet pushed
it looping over him into the net.
”I’m disappointed we shipped a goal from a corner and for the
second goal, we have to manage the game better coming up to
halftime,” Rodgers said. ”That’s an area we will look at, for
Liverpool, so devastating in December – with 18 goals in four
games – couldn’t produce an equalizer. Jordan Henderson struck over
at the start of the second half from Suarez’s layoff.
Mignolet, though, wasn’t beaten again, getting two hands on the
ball this time when Negredo tried to chip him, and easily
collecting a header from the forward.
At the other end, Hart made a case for retaining his place in
the City goal after error-strewn performances led to him being
dropped in October for league matches. The England goalkeeper
denied Glen Johnson before being alert to keep out Henderson’s
Liverpool’s best chance of the half to equalize was squandered
when Sterling met Suarez’s cross but blazed over with the goal
seemingly at his mercy.
Suarez was denied a penalty late on when Joleon Lescott tugged
on his shirt.
”I’m disappointed to lose,” Rodgers said, ”but the
over-riding feeling is pride in my players.”