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

Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
Voices
All the major parties are under pressure from sceptical voters to spell out their tax and spending plans
voices
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Kevin Spacey and artistic director Matthew Warchus at the Old Vic party to honour Spacey
theatreStar's successor at Old Vic theatre admits he's 'allergic to hype'
Life and Style
life + healthVirginia Ironside's dilemma, during Depression Awareness Week
Arts and Entertainment
The median income for professional writers is just £10,432, less than the minimum wage
booksSurvey reveals authors' earnings
News
i100
Life and Style
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders