COMMENTARY KEY MOMENTS
LIVERPOOL 2 MANCHESTER CITY 2
17.52 Splendid game, which Liverpool should have taken three points from. Some very silly defending indeed cost them the win but there was plenty to be happy about from Brendan Rodgers' point of view. Joe Allen was great. Sterling sparkled in the first half. Suarez scored a cracker. City were distinctly unimpressive but took their on-plate chances. Thanks for your company, I'll talk to you again soon.
90+4 min Tevez has a go from a semi-cleared corner. Fluffy shrug of a shot. Wide.
90+2 min Glen Johnson tries a low shot from 25 yards. Straight at Hart.
90+1 min Four minutes of added time. City hang onto the ball for a long time close to the area. They love a 3-2. I would probably take the draw now if I was a fan of the Merseyside Red Nets, as they will surely be rebranded at some point.
89 min Half-cleared, Suarez stands it up for Carroll at the far post, decent header beats Hart but Kompany heads away a few yards from his line.
88 min Liverpool corner headed clear. Shelvey picks it up and switches feet to shoot. Toure (K) clears behind for another corner.
86 min Oooh, very close from Dzeko, and that's possibly City's best move of the game. Tevez finds Kolarov on the left at the end of a sweeping passing move, he squares, Dzeko swings at it first time. It's just over.
84 min Plan C for Liverpool. The C stands for Carroll. He's on for Borini to a big cheer from the Kop which is surely somewhat tongue-in-cheek.
83 min Shelvey hammers a shot at goal from just outside the "D". Only just over.
GOAL!! 80 min Liverpool 2 Man City 2 (Tevez)
Oh. Dear. That is dreadful, DREADFUL from Skrtel. Under mild pressure but 40 yards from his own goal, he passes blindly in the vague direction of Reina. It's basically straight to Tevez who calmly rounds Reina to slot home for his 100th Premier League goal. Liverpool so generous to City that they may as well have sky blue nets.
77 min Still Liverpool doing most of the attacking. Borini centes for Suarez who boldly attempts to bring it down on his chest before turning Kompany. No dice. Here's his goal:
75 min Suarez looking like an all-round menace now. Closing down, trying ambitious but excellent passes to play in Borini. David Silva is on for Milner for City.
73 min Big shout for a penalty for Liverpool. Johnson tackled from behind by Kolarov and seems to catch the full back. The ball had slightly got away from Johnson after a heavy touch, and Toure won it from in front of him but that looked a reasonable appeal. Marriner's not having it.
71 min Liverpool have got to kill this now. Need to channel last season's Swansea at their most soporific. No silly passes, please.
69 min Liverpool with a dangerous-looking break. Borini can't quite find Suarez in the middle.
GOAL!! 66 min Liverpool 2 Man City 1 (Suarez)
Gorgeous from Suarez! Absolutely nails the free kick, tickling it round the wall and beating Hart at full stretch. Low and into the bottom corner. Wonderful.
66 min Maddening decision from Gerrard to shoot from 30 yards with players in decent positions either side of him. Rodwell is adjudged to have handled as he blocked it, so Liverpool do at least have a free kick. Enrique is on for Kelly.
GOAL!! 64 min Liverpool 1 Man City 1 (Yaya Toure)
Horror show in the Liverpool box. Tevez does well to get past Johnson and deliver a decent cross from the right-hand side. Reina comes for it and doesn't get anywhere near it. Drops for Kelly who desperately needs to put a firm foot through it. Instead he procrastinates, miscontrols, and that's easy pickings for the grateful younger Toure brother.
63 min Dzeko on for Balotelli, who has had one of naughty boy days.
62 min Reina stranded as Milner pulls a pass back for Balotelli. Balotelli hits the post. Milner was offisde anyway. Marginal. Misty-eyed romantic David Nemeth can't decide on his favourite footballing tradition:
I'm torn between diving and feigning horrendous injury.
60 min Rodwell is on, replacing Nasri.
58 min Balotelli gets in the way in the City box and deflects a pass straight to Gerrard. He finds Suarez on the left, but his ball back across is all wrong and finds no-one. Jack Rodwell's coming on. Not really a substitution to inspire the muted City fans. Could help their team wrestle back some control in midfield, though.
56 min Balotelli's having a bit of a mare. Tevez looks for him on the left. He brings it down haphazardly and Kelly's able to tackle him. Balotelli falls over like a clumsy toddler. Andre Marriner tells him to get up. Here's Skrtel scoring the only goal of the game so far:
53 min City just not firing. Tevez picks up the ball in a promising area, has space to run into but lays it right looking for Milner. Pass is short and cut out by Johnson. They need a change.
50 min Ach, not good enough from Suarez. Borini siezes on a loose ball and runs into the substantial space that's opened up in front of him on the right-hand side. He plays in Suarez who has a chance from a tight angle. Just wide.
49 min Kolo Toure's getting a skinning from Sterling here. Slightly surprised to see that he's still on for the second half. Let's all gather round beneath the Jacob Tree:
Football's greatest tradition is waiting until the TV director has picked out the close-up shot of you, walking back down the pitch, on account of the notable shot / pass / tackle / offence which you have just perpetrated - then choosing that precise moment to vacate the contents of your nostrils, jettisoning left then right in full view of 15 million viewers tucking into their Sunday lunch.
48 min My colleague Ed White wins the maturity prize for passing on this picture from the end of the first half while giggling like a schoolgirl:
There is a corner of the Telegraph office that is forever Viz.
46 min Well look at that, it's a second half of football. City get us under way.
16.45 Balotelli wins a free kick after a minor tug from Sterling. It's cleared to Nasri, whose shot is blocked, capping off a good half for the team with the nets that are red. Sprightly in attack, Sterling very impressive and signs that the much mooted new philosophy is going to be easy on the eye. It's not working for City. Kolo Toure is being given the runaround and his brother has been very quiet. Lescott and Silva aren't bad options to have on the bench, mind. See you in 15.
Liverpool 1 Manchester City 0
45+1 min Into the sole minute of added time.
44 min Liverpool defend a couple of corners with relative ease. City have dropped off alarmingly here. They're not in charge in midfield and Tevez and Balotelli look disconnected up front.
42 min Swinging shot from Suarez from the edge of the area after some more patient build up and an excellent pass from Joe Allen. Well wide, but more encouraging signs for Rodgers' side.
41 min Sterling flops to the ground as Toure tackles him from behind. He's told to get up by Andre Marriner. Looked a foul to me.
38 min Liverpool looking a bit like a child that's just mastered cycling without stabilisers. Passing with increasing confidence, winning the ball back with commendable speed and determination. Look Brendan! We're doing it!
GOAL!! 35 min Liverpool 1 Man City 0 (Skrtel)
Good corner, excellent desire from Skrtel to reach it, firm header past Hart. Liverpool have deserved that, they've been a treat to watch for the past five or so minutes.
34 min Kompany almost puts through his own net! Wonderful ball forward from deep by Gerrard and the defender scoops it over his own bar. Corner.
33 min Sterling's beginning to enjoy himself. He's extremely neat and tidy with the ball and isn't shy of a progressive pass forward. Lovely chipped through ball for Borini, forces an urgent headed clearance from Kompany.
30 min Borini's encouragement to the Kop and their subsequent roar didn't do much for the quality of the corner. Gerrard plays it along the floor to Suarez but it's behind him and the chance has gone.
29 min Liverpool have put together some pleasing stuff in fits and starts. Suarez lays it off with a chip to Johnson who plays an excellent ball to Borini on the edge of the box. He turns his man, shoots, and wins a corner. He's giving the "come on!" hype hands to the Kop like he's a member of a Kasabian tribute band.
28 min Henry Winter likes what he sees on the Centenary stand side of Anfield:
26 min Nasri floats in the free kick from the left. Targeting the far post. Finds the wrong side of the byline. Goal kick.
25 min Sebastain Coates does not inspire confidence. Dwells too long on the ball just outside of the area and Balotelli's onto him in a flash and comes out with the ball. Coates fouls him.
23 min City still on top, but Liverpool look a threat on the break. It's not the death by possession game you'd expect the home side to be playing. Here's Sam Graham:
Football's best tradition? Blaming everything on the ref.
A fine nomination, but it's no blaming everything on the incorrectly-coloured nets.
19 min How did that happen?! Tevez somehow beats Reina from the narrowest of angles as the pair of them chase a through ball. His shot trickles across the line as if guided by a magnet underneath it and comes back of the post. Balotelli and Nasri were 10 yards away and watching.
18 min Borini goes very close. Marvellous ball in from Sterling on the left and Borini connects just outside of the six yard box. Opts to strike it with his left foot and steers it wide. Right might have been the better option.
17 min World's most expensive footballer Joe Allen earns a hearty round of applause for some good defending, cutting out a Nasri pass towards Tevez into the corner on the right.
15 min Reasonable pace to the game but both sides guilty of a lack of composure in the final third. Suarez has overhit a pass, Tevez has screwed a shot well wide.
12 min Liverpool slowing it down and getting a better grip on the game. Grip surrendered when Reina loses patience and boots a long ball to no-one up the middle of the pitch. Brendan Rodgers will probably fine him a month's wages for that.
9 min Kolarov swings in a free kick from the right-hand side. Bounces dangerously just in front of Reina but the keeper smothers it safely.
7 min City on top. Tevez and Balotelli looking bright and smart on the ball but they've not produced a clear shooting chance yet. Gerrard has put a couple of shots wide from long range. Lord of the mic MC Kenna has been in touch:
It's good to see Liverpool changing their club badge from green/white back to a colour more appropriate to and descriptive of their glorious history... Yellow.
5 min Lucas is indeed coming off. He's half-jogging half-limping, so it's probably not life-threatening. Shelvey replaces him.
3 min Early injury concern for Liverpool. Looks like Lucas has pulled a muscle in his thigh.
1 min Liverpool, all in red, kick off. It's a red ball on a red pitch with red lines. The good times are coming back to Anfield. It's just very hard to see anything.
15.57 Raheem Sterling, your time is now. The world's youngest man makes his full Premier League debut. Will he thrive? We'll find out soon enough.
15.50 Time for some predictions, isn't it? I think so. I'm going to say this will be a 1-0 win for football's Manchester City. Care to disagreee? Send me a furious email.
15.40 R.E.M's Man on the Moon playing at Anfield. I believe that is what's called an unequivocally nice touch.
15.35 Henry Winter is at Anfield for us this afternoon:
15.25 Let's not waste any more time, and do what we came here to do... Look at Liverpool's red nets!
15.15 Here are the teams:
Liverpool: Reina; Kelly, Coates, Skrtel, Johnson; Gerrard, Lucas,
Allen; Borini, Suarez, Sterling.
Subs: Jones, Enrique, Carroll, Henderson, Carragher, Shelvey, Downing.
Manchester City: Hart; Kolo Toure, Kompany, Zabaleta; Milner, Kolarov, De Jong, Yaya Toure, Nasri; Balotelli, Tevez
Subs: Pantilimon, Lescott, Savic, Silva, Rodwell, Razak, Dzeko.
Referee: Andre Marriner
15.00 Afternoon liveblog fans.
Liverpool needed a good start to this
A new manager, a new approach, and tricky fixtures approaching against Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City.
Instead they lost 3-0 to West Brom. Oops.
Despite securing three points on the opening weekend City's season did not open with a feeling of triumph either.
They looked open and vulnerable to counter-attacks in their 3-2 defeat of Southampton, and in a summer in which most of the teams around them have significantly strenghtened their squad lacks freshness.
Today is pivotal for both teams. A time for statements of intent and things to get both up and running... and the re-emergence of the traditional red nets at Anfield in the Premier League.
If we're still talking about them in a couple of hours Messrs Rodgers and Mancini will not be best pleased.
Team news and more than you can shake a Standard Chartered-sponsored stick at to follow, stay tuned. Here's a lovely preview:
Sunday, August 26, 2012
TV: Highlights BBC ONE Match Of The Day
Liverpool (Possible, 4-3-2-1): Reina, Kelly, Skrtel, Carragher, Johnson, Lucas, Allen, Borini, Gerrard, Downing, Suarez
Out: Agger (suspended), Cole (hamstring)
Test: Luis Enrique (knee), Andy Carroll (hamstring)
Manchester City (Possible, 4-2-3-1): Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy, Toure, Rodwell, Silva, Tévez, Nasri, Dzeko
Out: Aguero (knee), Barry (abdominal), Richards (ankle)
Midfielder Gareth Barry (abdominal) is set for a reserves outing but defender Micah Richards (ankle) is still out of action.
Edin Dzeko looks to be in pole position to replace an injured Sergio Aguero having scored off the bench last week.
Daniel Agger is out due to the one-game ban the Dane received for his red card against West Brom and Andy Carroll missed the midweek Hearts game with a hamstring twinge.
Captain Steven Gerrard will be back after being rested for the Europa League tie against Hearts, while Luis Suarez, Martin Skrtel and Glen Johnson are also set to return.
When Manchester City held on for a point at Anfield last season, it was suggested that could have been the draw that would win the league.
That was a prophetic observation, the trip to Liverpool being still a credible barometer of a side’s credentials. Brendan Rodgers needs to prevent a shaky start turning into a wretched one. Roberto Mancini is missing Sergio Agüero.
Neither club wanted this game so soon, but it could be as intoxicating as the Manchester-Merseyside meeting at Goodison this week.
Referee: Andre Mariner. Matches (last season): 36, Red cards: 5, Yellow cards: 125
Stat of the game: Liverpool have picked up just 18 points in 20 Premier League games in 2012.
Prediction: 2-2, Chris Bascombe.