Liverpool fans walked away from the Etihad Stadium with a bitter taste in their mouths, after watching their side suffer a 2-1 defeat against Manchester City.
The Reds gave a good account of themselves – better than most clubs have managed when playing City on their home turf this season – but the game was marred by a shockingly incorrect offside decision, prompting Brendan Rodgers to criticise the match officials heavily in his post-match comments.
Liverpool only made one change from the side that had effectively seen off Cardiff and Tottenham, with Aly Cissokho replacing the injured Jon Flanagan at left-back. There was also a place on the bench for 19-year-old rising star Brad Smith.
The first chance of the game fell to the home side, with Jesus Navas clipping the woodwork from his headed effort. Vincent Kompany also went close with a header from a corner, whilst Luis Suarez had a couple of chances for the Reds.
The breakthrough for Liverpool should have come on 19 minutes, but they were denied by an incredibly poor decision from the referee’s assistant. Suarez played a through-ball to set Raheem Sterling through on goal, but the winger was adjudged to be offside. Replays showed that not only was Sterling onside, but was onside by at least a yard – making the decision all the more baffling.
Six minutes later though, and the Reds were in front. A good passage of play ended with Sterling taking the ball round Joe Hart, offering Philippe Coutinho to the chance to finish into an open goal.
The lead didn’t last for long though, and the home side were soon back on level terms thanks to Kompany’s headed goal. Joe Allen was on the Liverpool goal-line and managed to make contact with the ball, but couldn’t get enough on it to prevent it crossing the line.
Despite losing the lead the Reds were still looking good though, and Coutinho came close to doubling his tally after some excellent quick passing. Disaster struck right at the death of the first half though, as City took the lead via Alvaro Negredo.
Liverpool began the second half brightly, and both Suarez and Jordan Henderson came close to levelling the scores in the opening exchanges. For all their knocking at the door though the Reds were unable to find a way through, and with an adventurous stance being taken in search of an equaliser there were gaps left at the back which the home side almost managed to take advantage of on a few occasions.
Rodgers decided to introduce Victor Moses into the action in place of Coutinho – who had been a lot quieter through the second half – in an attempt to inject fresh life into his side.
The best chance for Liverpool to equalise came on 73 minutes when Suarez delivered an excellent ball from the left for Sterling, but the youngster somehow managed to put his shot over the bar from yards out, when it appeared impossible to miss.
The visitors continued to push until the final whistle, but City were ultimately able to hold firm to confirm their winning home streak continued whilst ending Liverpool’s run of four wins on the bounce.