Gael Clichy says Liverpool draw was a 'great point' for Manchester City


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The Independent Football

Manchester City defender Gael Clichy believes the Barclays Premier League leaders passed an important test at Liverpool.

City found themselves on the back foot for large spells at Anfield yesterday, but emerged with a 1-1 draw to restore their five-point lead at the top of the table.

It was only the second time City had failed to collect maximum points in 13 Premier League games but, with 10 men and after some free-scoring victories, Clichy felt it was necessary to show some steel.

The 26-year-old left-back said: "We knew it was going to be difficult and they gave us a good challenge. This and QPR away are the two most difficult games we have played this year in the league.

"I believe Liverpool will be up there at the end of the season because they can play long balls, they can play down the wings, and through the middle.

"Maybe in their dressing room the feeling was they lost two points, but for us the feeling was we won a great point and I hope it will be a good point for the end of the season.

"We worked hard, we fought for each other and I think the fans will be happy with the performance.

"Since the start of the season we have shown the fans we can score goals, create chances and here we were strong and solid at the back."

Vincent Kompany gave City a 31st-minute lead but Liverpool replied within two minutes as Joleon Lescott diverted a Charlie Adam shot into his own net.

City goalkeeper Joe Hart produced brilliant saves to deny Adam and then Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll late on as the hosts pressed hard.

After Mario Balotelli was sent off for two bookable offences in the second half, City were happy to take a point and their display of resolve lifted spirits after last week's Champions League defeat by Napoli.

Clichy said: "It's two different competitions so the best thing to do in that situation is to forget about the results we had in Italy because there is nothing we can do about it.

"We are disappointed but that was gone. The chance was for us to show the fans we were ready to fight for the title.

"We knew we could have gone seven points clear of second but the result was a fantastic one for us and the point was what we deserved."

Clichy, who joined City in a £7million move from Arsenal in the summer, has had to get used to life as a squad player this season.

Manager Roberto Mancini has rotated his full-backs throughout the campaign to date and Clichy was restored to the side at Anfield after making way for Aleksandar Kolarov in Naples.

Clichy said: "As a player you always want to play as many games as possible and for me it is a big change because I was used to playing week-in, week-out with Arsenal.

"Of course you are disappointed but I am not the only one and so far we have been playing some amazing games against Man Utd, Tottenham and now Liverpool.

"I believe in February we will have the fresh legs to go all the way.

"We need a big squad to go all the way and hopefully we can carry on like this because I think the atmosphere is good and the way we are playing is okay."

Clichy's involvement yesterday means he is probably unlikely to feature in tomorrow's Carling Cup quarter-final at former club Arsenal.

Mancini is set to make wholesale changes for a match which kicks off around 50 hours after the Anfield encounter finished.

Clichy said: "That is up to the manager again and you have to accept his decision, but of course I am ready and if asked to play I will be more than happy to.

"I don't need to speak about Arsenal, it is a great club, a great team with many of my friends there.

"If I can play on Tuesday, or even be involved, it would be something that I would really look forward to. But the manager is rotating the players, so we will have to wait and see what his decision is."