Winning first-leg against Manchester City was hardest part says Pepe Reina

 

Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina believes winning at Manchester City was the most difficult part of their Carling Cup semi-final but admits the second leg will still be tough.

Steven Gerrard's 13th-minute penalty gave the Reds, who defended resolutely in the second half, the advantage ahead of the return at Anfield in a fortnight's time.

Liverpool's job was made slightly easier at the Etihad Stadium as their hosts had the key trio of Vincent Kompany (suspended), Yaya Toure (international duty) and David Silva (injured) absent and also lost striker Mario Balotelli to injury before half-time.

Kompany and Toure will still be missing when the two clubs meet again on January 25 and Reina hopes home advantage will help Liverpool through to their first final for six years and a first appearance at Wembley since 1996.

"We are halfway through but we now have another hard job with the 90 minutes for the second leg," said Reina.

"We have got to finish the job now after doing the most difficult part which is winning away from home at City.

"Anfield is going to be rocking and that is guaranteed for any second leg of a semi-final.

"Our fans will be massively important and they are always with us.

"I've no doubt they will be with us in the second leg and it will be one of those magical nights at Anfield.

"Hopefully they can help us get through to the final."

Eight days previously Liverpool had left east Manchester on the back of a 3-0 defeat, after which manager Kenny Dalglish admitted they had to learn some lessons.

They appeared to have done that as the first of many tactical switches saw Glen Johnson switched from right to left-back from the off before the team made gradually more changes in the second half which resulted in them finishing the match with six defenders on the pitch to nullify their opponents.

"We knew it was going to be tough but we felt if we could start with a high tempo and take the game to them we could cause them some problems," Reina told liverpoolfc.tv.

"I thought we handled them well in the second half because we know how much quality City have got, especially at home, but we got the result to keep us alive for the second leg.

"We now turn our attentions to an important league game against Stoke on Saturday and hopefully we can get back to back wins."

Midfielder Jordan Henderson believes the side can take a lot of confidence from the display.

"It was a good result and I thought in the first half we played some really good stuff," he said.

"In the second half we tended to sit back a little bit to protect the lead but I thought we deserved the win.

"It is a massive achievement to win there and we are looking forward to the second leg now, but first we have some important league games."

PA

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