City struggle, and are comprehensively beaten
After Sunday's cup final drama, you'd have assumed that Manchester City would have taken a hold of the game by the scruff of its neck and take a much-needed three points away from Anfield. Sadly though, it was the disappointing, faltering City side we have all seen too much of this season.
The first-half began with a good ten minute spell of Liverpool pressure, meaning the visitors were left with very little time to think on-the-ball in possession. With that being said though, the sky Blues soon made a resurgence, with David Silva and Sergio Agüero linking up well - but neither was able to finish when an opportunity presented itself.
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Adam Lallana was left with time and space on the edge of the area, and tried his luck with a low drive goalwards. The strike deceived the seemingly flat-footed Joe Hart, as the ball trickled into the bottom corner. Not long after breaking the deadlock, the Reds doubled their lead - Lallana was this time the provider, sending former Blue James Milner through on-goal, who made no mistake against his former employers.
After the half-time intervale Wilfried Bony replaced Raheem Sterling, who failed to get a foothold in the first-half, and only ten minutes later another change was made for City, this time Fernandinho made way for Kelechi Iheanacho. Liverpool soon inflicted further misery for City with Roberto Firmino getting himself on the scoresheet, after some encouraging work in midfield by Lallana before the ball was fed into the Brazilian's path - he didn't need another invitation to shoot.
As the final 15 minutes drew in Liverpool remained firmly in the driving seat, City were hurried when in possesion and lacked any bite in midfield, the void left by Fernandinho being exploited relentlessly. With the Blues frustrated by the lack of chances the anger of the City began to creep in, Fernando and captain Vincent Kompany getting caught in small tussles, both conceeding free-kicks much to the Kop's delight.
I'd like to say that this was just a bad performance and that the two hours of football on Sunday played a factor, but then so did Liverpool who faced a demoralisng shootout defeat on top of it. Like against Tottenham, Arsenal, West Ham and Stoke away, City were outclassed by their opposition - sometimes even blown away.
Poor tactics and substitutions such as the decision to substitute Fernandinho has effectively cost City tonight. They're also seemingly out of the title race and with a place in the top four at stake, the sky Blues will need to rely on others as well as big performances from key players to help dig them out of this current mess.