Liverpool show signs of promise but allow Tevez to rescue off-colour City

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Liverpool 2 Manchester City 2: Rodgers can take heart from positive display though champions are gifted both their goals

Anfield

Brendan Rodgers will be only too aware that, two games into the season, his Liverpool team still lack the kind of result that announces to the world that the club are capable of making some impact this season. As for their performance yesterday, it was certainly the first tentative step along the road to putting in practice the deeply-held values Rodgers espoused when he first took over.

The Liverpool manager met his players one-by-one as they came off the pitch, from 17-year-old Raheem Sterling wearing the Carlos Tevez shirt he had exchanged with the Argentine to Steven Gerrard who has witnessed more than one false dawn at Anfield. The mood projected by Rodgers was one of pride and contentment even if his team had twice thrown away a lead against the Premier League champions.

Liverpool should have won this game and there will surely be very few occasions when City are as unconvincing, especially in attack, as they were at Anfield. Fortunately for Roberto Mancini's team they were gifted two goals by dreadful defensive errors from first Martin Kelly and then by Martin Skrtel whose preposterous back-pass into the feet of Tevez (right) for the second City equaliser was a dereliction of duty.

Those two moments aside, however, this was a performance that gives some cause for optimism, although no-one at Liverpool is under any illusions about how long and hard the road will be. For the 14 minutes during which they led 2-1 after Luis Suarez's second-half goal this was shaping up to be a momentous result for the home team; as it was the final whistle was greeted with appreciation and a familiar sense of resignation.

In midfield, Joe Allen made sure the play ticked over nicely and Gerrard and Suarez demonstrated that once again they will be vital to Liverpool's season. Sterling, who won his place with that impressive performance against Heart of Midlothian last week in the Europa League qualifier, flitted in and out the game, as you would expect of one so young, but did more than enough to justify his inclusion.

As for City, this was nothing like the formidable side that came from behind to beat Chelsea in the Community Shield and then Southampton on the previous weekend but nevertheless they still had enough about them to escape with a point. This is what, we are constantly told, champions are supposed to do; but champions are also obliged to play better than City did for much of the game.

Mancini started with three in defence as he did against Chelsea two weeks earlier, and later was forced to switch back to an orthodox four. He changed in the second half to push Yaya Touré further forward and was immediately rewarded with a goal from the midfielder. He got a tirade of abuse back from James Milner, of all people, in one touchline exchange. All told, not City's best day.

Up in the directors' box was City's executive Brian Marwood, the man who, one gets the impression, the City manager would cheerfully throttle at the moment. The failure to land the big names available this summer, like Robin van Persie and Eden Hazard, might have stolen some of the momentum from City over the break but Mancini is hardly short of options.

He brought Kolo Touré into the side at the expense of Joleon Lescott who was also joined on the bench by, among others, Jack Rodwell, Edin Dzeko and David Silva, all three of whom came into the game later on. Having equalised through Tevez, who finished beautifully when gifted the ball by Skrtel, it was still City hanging on at the end and relying upon Vincent Kompany to head away Andy Carroll's goalbound attempt.

Without the suspended Daniel Agger, Rodgers opted for Sebastian Coates ahead of Jamie Carragher, a decision that will no doubt have deeply frustrated the latter. In midfield the Liverpool manager was forced to replace Lucas Leiva after five minutes when the player complained of a thigh problem. With Jonjo Shelvey on in his place, that immediately reduced Rodgers' capacity to make changes. His team responded well.

It is not hard to see why Carroll, who played only the last seven minutes yesterday, does not fit into the Rodgers master-plan. The forward three of Suarez, Sterling and Fabio Borini run hard to close down defenders and interchange quickly. In fact, Borini might have pinched a goal with a nicely-timed near-post run on 18 minutes to meet Sterling's cross from the left.

The best of City's forwards, Tevez, took the ball wide of Pepe Reina on 19 minutes and shot from close to the goal-line outside the right post. It brushed the goalkeeper's glove which took it against the post but at fractionally the wrong angle to bounce in. Other than a shot from the ineffective Mario Balotelli, which landed in the second tier of the Anfield Road end, City looked laboured.

Liverpool, on the other hand, got their act together quickly. Kompany only just directed Gerrard's cross over from the bar on 33 minutes and from the resultant corner, Skrtel scattered Aleksandar Kolarov and Pablo Zabaleta on his was to heading the ball, hard, past Joe Hart.

By the time the game reached the hour point, Liverpool were well in control. Samir Nasri, another below-par performer, was replaced with Rodwell and then just when they needed to stay tight, Liverpool conceded. Tevez got past Sterling on the right, Reina punched and then Kelly made a hash of controlling the ball, presenting it to Yaya Touré to score.

Parity lasted just three minutes, until Rodwell conceded a dubious free-kick that struck his knee then his hand. Suarez curved the ball around the end of the wall on which the England man was standing and just inside Hart's left post before the goalkeeper could get down in time to save it.

From there the game should have been won but Skrtel's back-pass to Tevez needlessly put Liverpool under pressure and the striker did very well to sidestep Reina and score. It says something about Liverpool's performance that they could be disappointed only to take a point against such a good team but it is a point and something to be positive about and in these delicate early days, Rodgers will surely settle for that.

Match facts

Booked: Suarez

Man of match: Allen

Match rating: 7/10.

Possession: Liverpool 51%. Man City 49%

Attempts on target: Liverpool: 8 Manchester City: 5

Referee: A Marriner (W Midlands).

Attendance: 44,942

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of the late singer Whitney Houston, poses at the premiere of
people
News
people
News
The frequency with which we lie and our ability to get away with it both increase to young adulthood then decline with age, possibly because of changes that occur in the brain
scienceRoger Dobson knows the true story, from Pinocchio to Pollard
Voices
The male menopause: those affected can suffer hot flushes, night sweats, joint pain, low libido, depression and an increase in body fat, among other symptoms
voicesSo the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Life and Style
health
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen