RM content after Anfield draw

The Premier League leaders were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw at

Liverpool after striker Mario Balotelli was sent off for two

bookable offences. The result was still enough to restore the

five-point advantage at the top City began the weekend with and

Mancini felt his players had survived a stern test of their

credentials. Mancini was also pleased with the character shown by

his players after their shattering Champions League loss to Napoli

on Tuesday. The Italian said: “Five points after this weekend, I

think that is good. We wanted to win this game but it is not always

possible to win. “I am happy also because in the last 10 minutes we

had a big problem with 10 men. “I think all the players played very

well because after Naples it was really difficult. “Also the

Liverpool players were more fresh than us. “This was an important

game for us to understand the season.” City went ahead after 31

minutes at Anfield when captain Vincent Kompany’s glancing header

from a David Silva corner flew in at the far post. Yet the visitors

had little time to celebrate as a long-range Charlie Adam shot took

a huge deflection off Joleon Lescott to wrong-foot Joe Hart and

level the scores just two minutes later. Both sides had further

chances but Liverpool began to claim the upper hand in the second

half and finished strongly after Balotelli’s dismissal. It needed

fine saves from Hart to deny Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll in the

final minutes to preserve City’s point, although Silva also had a

late chance for Mancini’s men. Balotelli, introduced as a

65th-minute substitute, had been on the field just 11 minutes when

he needlessly brought down Glen Johnson to earn his first yellow

card. He received his second seven minutes later when he was deemed

to have caught Martin Skrtel with his arm. It was the latest in a

long list of Balotelli misdemeanours but Mancini had sympathy.

Mancini said: “It is not correct, the [second] yellow card. I do

not agree with this yellow card. “I think every time Mario does

something many players provoke him.” Mancini exchanged words with

Balotelli as he left the field but the manager said his compatriot

“was disappointed for a red card and he was angry”. He also played

down reports Balotelli had damaged the dressing room door in his

frustration. Mancini said: “I don’t know this. If he damaged the

door he pays – like his house!”