SAS change of colours – Man City 3 Liverpool 1

A scintillating new sky blue strike-force has replaced Liverpool’s much lauded, but now defunct, ‘SAS’ pairing in the Premier League sharpshooting stakes.

With the Scousers’ attack looking decidedly ‘gummy’ after Luis Suarez scurried off to Barcelona and Daniel Sturridge rendered largely ineffective, it was Manchester City’s ‘Sergio and Stevan’ who plundered the goals, and with it the spoils of war, in this combative encounter.

New beginings - Hot shot Jovetic blasted City to victory. Courtesy@MCFC

New beginnings – Hot shot Jovetic blasted City to victory. Courtesy@MCFC

Rejuvenated and now injury free, Man of the Match, Jovetic, has added a new dimension to an attack that scored 156 times last season. He bagged a right foot-left foot brace to set City en-route to a deserved 3-1 win.

But it was that man, Aguerrroooooo, who you just can’t keep down, as his phenomenal goal-scoring exploits continued apace in City’s colours.

It took just two touches and 23 seconds for Sergio to gobble up his second score of the season in the 69th minute, having replaced the injured Dzeko.

Sergio Sergio - City's phenomenal goal machine. Courtesy@MCFC

Sergio Sergio – City’s phenomenal goal machine. Courtesy@MCFC

Introduced as an 83rd minute sub at Newcastle, Sergio’s banging them in at a rate of one goal every 14 minutes this season…yes I know that’s a daft, unrealistic statistic, but it’s still indicative of his place as the Premier League’s most efficient striker of all-time.

He’s scored 54 goals at a rate of one every 113 minutes, putting him ahead of Thierry Henry (122 mins) and Ruud Van Nistelrooy (128 mins). Edin Dzeko merits a mention with his 46 goals coming at a rate of one every 137 minutes.

Sweet 16 - Sergio already ranks as an all-time City great. Courtesy@MCFC

Sweet 16 – Sergio already ranks as an all-time City great. Courtesy@MCFC

Despite being blighted by a series of muscle tears and pulls in his hamstring and calf, Sergio’s most recent goal-getting achievements are even more impressive – 29 in his last 32 overall appearances and 18 in 21 PL games.

The Champions picked up, more or less where they left off last season, scoring three goals, just shy of the prolific rate that generated 63 home scores in 19 PL matches.

City’s comfortable win belied much of the first half action, where Liverpool looked the sharper, more incisive side, albeit they lacked bite up front.

Celebration - Jesus Navas was goal provider for goal machine Aguero. Courtesy@MCFC

Celebration – Jesus Navas was goal provider for goal machine Aguero. Courtesy@MCFC

It gave City’s established and well drilled defence the platform to show Liverpool’s unfamiliar backline the art of defending.

A slightly ‘rusty’ Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis and the excellent Clichy kept Liverpool at bay with relative ease, aided and abetted by a turbo-charged armoured truck, masquerading as defensive midfielder, Fernando.

Just two games into his PL career, the ex-Porto destroyer is doing what City had once hoped Javi Garcia and Jack Rodwell would have done – protect the backline and play the ball out from the back.

Streets ahead - Kompany & Co were far superior in defence than their opponents. Courtesy@MCFC

Streets ahead – Kompany & Co were far superior in defence than their opponents. Courtesy@MCFC

The Brazilian is already a pivotal fixture in the team thanks to his tough tackling, ball-winning and a willingness to keep it simple. At £12m he looks a bargain as he breaks up opposition play and releases the ‘flair’ players.

Liverpool’s latest signing – a certain Mario Balotelli who knows all about ‘flares’ – was easily spotted watching the game from the ‘posh seats’ in the Director’s Box. The City fans signalled him out for some ‘playful’ banter, but let him off (no firework pun intended) comparatively lightly.

Mario looked suitably glum when his old employers took the lead.

Montenegrin magic - Jovetic slams home City's first goal. Courtesy@MCFC

Montenegrin magic – Jovetic slams home City’s first goal. Courtesy@MCFC

The visitors deserved a share of the half time spoils, but were denied by Jovetic’s energy, desire and calm finishing in the 41st minute.

As left back debutant, Moreno dallied in the penalty box, the eager Montenegrin whipped in a rasping right foot shot through Mignolet’s legs.

1-0 and a sense of relief among the home supporters, who were previously displaying signs of anxiety at Liverpool’s levels of possession.

French Connection - Nasri was instrumental in putting City 2-0 up. Courtesy@MCFC

French Connection – Nasri was instrumental in putting City 2-0 up. Courtesy@MCFC

The second goal of the game was going to be crucial and it was Jovetic who started and finished the move that extended City’s lead.

After a skilful flick of the ball to Nasri, Jovetic peeled away from the flat footed Liverpool rearguard, found space and took his chance first time with his weaker left foot. No hesitation, but much jubilation for the livewire striker-cum attacking midfielder.

Desperately trying to grab a foothold in a game that had inexplicably slipped away on a wretched Manchester evening, Liverpool were stretched, exposed and ultimately exploited when Aguero wrapped up the win.

Match winner - Jovetic and City gave the hated Skrtel a torrid time. Courtesy@MCFC

Match winner – Jovetic and City gave the hated Skrtel a torrid time. Courtesy@MCFC

An unfortunate 83rd minute scrambled Zabaleta own goal was a small consolation for a team who have pretensions to City’s crown. Those claims would have strengthened had Rickie Lambert scored, instead of bottling an opening to make it 3-2, just 120 seconds later.

City closed the game out against Liverpool’s bedraggled and beaten troops – reduced to 9.5 men at the final whistle – Johnson having gone off injured and sub Markovic hobbling, after Rodgers had used all three subs.

On the scoresheet - Zaba was unlucky as the ball ricocheted off him for an own goal. Courtesy@MCFC

On the scoresheet – Zaba was unlucky as the ball ricocheted off him for an own goal. Courtesy@MCFC

Pellegrini had his own injury concern after Edin Dzeko had left the fray following heavy contact on his left thigh.

What remained healthy and intact was City’s impressive start to the season, without the Blues ever having to get out of third gear.

It was a slightly less than magnificent seventh straight Premier League win for City, whereas Liverpool missed out on a 10-out-of-10 undefeated PL away run during 2014.

It must be a worrying prospect for opponents that City are winning, and yet so much remains untouched in the tank.

Rainman - Pellegrini masterminded another home win over Liverpool. Courtesy@MCFC

Rainman – Pellegrini masterminded another home win over Liverpool. Courtesy@MCFC

City’s title defence circa 2014/15 promises to be as far removed from the insipid 2012/13 campaign as one can imagine.

Pellegrini’s professionalism percolates through every layer of the Etihad set up and, even at this early stage of the season, it’s shaping up as a title fight between the Engineer and the not-so Special One.

#TrustOurMP

 

By David Walker

 

www.readbutneverred.com @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu

32 Comments

  1. August 26, 2014  11:30 pm by Pete Lynch Reply

    Thanks David, excellent read and such a sweet victory

    • August 27, 2014  12:38 am by David Walker Reply

      It was very very sweet to send Brenda on her way empty handed.

  2. August 26, 2014  11:31 pm by Patrick Reply

    Sergio only has a partnership with the team doctor!

    • August 27, 2014  12:42 am by David Walker Reply

      Patrick, you are of course entitled to your opinion and thanks for reading but maybe, just maybe, you should go and see your own physician?

      Sergio is truly world class and the medical team are working on core exercises to minimise all the muscle problems he has encountered in the past. You may have been ironic in your comment - I don't know - but 2 goals in 28 minutes and surely one of the top 5 strikers on the planet - I think I'm prepared to keep the faith with Snr Aguero.

  3. August 26, 2014  11:32 pm by John Reply

    Liverpool will beat City at Anfield.

    • August 27, 2014  12:43 am by David Walker Reply

      Did you have any particular year, decade or millennium in mind - a rough estimate would do for now?

      • August 30, 2014  9:05 am by stuart higham Reply

        Sniggers behind hand:)

  4. August 26, 2014  11:44 pm by Philip Entwistle Reply

    Welcome back Dave, decisive and succint as ever, matching our performance on the field.
    The strenght in depth you refered too is absolutely mind blowing, our MP can rotate his line up at will it seems to siut the occasion and opposition.
    This is going to be one hell of season, bring them down to the Etihad and blow them away.
    Keep the faith.

    • August 27, 2014  12:45 am by David Walker Reply

      We must not get ahead of ourselves, it's a long season and who knows what's to come with injuries and/or injustices, but with a fair wind this City team can go beyond the achievements of last season. It's certainly a better and improving team and squad.

  5. August 27, 2014  12:03 am by Phil Etihad Reply

    Thanks David, spot on as always.
    Prepare to have your breath taken away, when everyone is fit, and on top form.
    Don't know how MP does it, but he does.

    • August 27, 2014  12:46 am by David Walker Reply

      Like you, I don't know and I don't care as long MP keeps doing the doings. Brilliant manager!

  6. August 27, 2014  6:10 am by Andy Devereux Reply

    Spot on David our manager is the man, everyone says you need two high quality players for every position and think we can now say we have that and our MP uses them so well.Happy days.

    • August 27, 2014  9:46 am by David Walker Reply

      Trust that man - vote Manuel! Cheers Andy.

  7. August 27, 2014  7:25 am by Chris Williams Reply

    Thought to say that obviously Aguero, Kompany, Demichelis, Zabba etc... Are still not operating at 100% it was actually a solid performance against a team who'll be one of our main title rivals.

    After the first half where to be honest there wasn't a great deal between the two sides, I actually thought that MP needed to match them with an extra body in midfield as at times we were getting over run. Obviously MP knew best and kept it as it was with telling results.

    Second half we ran the show and then when required MP brought on the extra midfielder in Fernandinho which nullified Liverpool pushing for extra goals, as they were unable to get the ball.

    Tactically from MP and performance wise from the Players, who still aren't al 100%, it was brilliant. We'll obviously get stronger as the season progress' which unfortunately for others looks very ominous.

    • August 27, 2014  7:48 am by David Walker Reply

      It really does bode well. It's almost a total role reversal with Manure of old - they'd be title contenders & we'd be suffering ignominious Cup defeats at minnows. Long may it continue.

  8. August 27, 2014  9:38 am by Gary Derbyshire Reply

    Another fine article, David. And, as you alluded to, there seems to be at least another two gears in which we could go up. Both victories have come with a feeling that we've played within ourselves and only done what was required. This bodes well, I feel, and this self confidence must be transmitting itself throughout the Premier League, (although the "journos" have already got Chelsea's name etched on the trophy) I'm sure Maureen, Brenda and Monsieur Whinger will be worried behind closed doors at how strong we are looking at the moment, although they'll all say otherwise. Finally, it was nice to pop Liverpool back into the box which they crawled out of last year, especially after the pathetically embarrassing premature title winning celebrations! #TrustOurMP

    • August 27, 2014  9:50 am by David Walker Reply

      We're definitely on the same page Gary but we'll need to find those gears sooner rather than later with Arsenal, Chelsea and the Champions League next month. Neither should we take Stoke City and the returning Leslie Mark Hughes, who loathes and detests us. too lightly. He'd love to chuck a spanner in the works...and that would never do!

  9. August 27, 2014  9:46 am by lghualways Reply

    Efficient clinical city performance. Under our MP that could be the new "typical city". Loved it. Whilst rusty zabs run into the box in 94th minute is just him all over. A machine and bigger #mancrush now than Jimmy page!

    • August 27, 2014  9:52 am by David Walker Reply

      Jimmy Page can't play football, whereas Zaba at least does a poor man's rendition of Status Quo - you chose the right man for the man crush;-) Cheers bud!

  10. August 27, 2014  9:47 am by Dave Medley Reply

    Well summarised. I'm with you in being impressed by Fernando, who stopped much Liverpool progress. He was maturely aware of his own limitations too - passing instead of shooting from distance a couple of times when the crowd urged him to have a pop. Sturridge was always a threat. Hart did well three or four times. Clichy and co kept the dangerous Sterling quiet in the second half. I'll be fascinated to see MP's team selection v Stoke. He'll presumably be tempted to give Mangala, Sagna and Lampard some time on the pitch before returning (against Arsenal) to the players who've done so well in the first two games. Given Arsenal's midfield brilliance and the way they over-ran us at Wembley (I know we had a dodgy back four, but that wasn't our only problem!) the Emirates might be a game in which to start Toure, Fernando AND Fernandinho. Oh, by the by: wrong apostrophe in Scousers - should have been after the s.

    • August 27, 2014  10:06 am by David Walker Reply

      MP's team selections will be interesting throughout the season because he has the luxury of either continuity or horses for courses, as well as the depth of squad to cope with adversity. I think the FYF midfield could serve us very well when City want to make life difficult for others, on the rare occasions when MP might be tempted to be slightly more defensively minded. Thanks for the grammatical gaffe - just thought I'd throw one in to see if you were paying attention. Does this mean I'm not 'inflammable' after all?

      • August 27, 2014  11:31 am by Dave Medley Reply

        We're all flammable!

  11. August 27, 2014  11:02 am by Graham Ward Reply

    A very pleasing win on the night, and an excellent start to the season. I, too, thought Liverpool looked the more comfortable starters, but without really creating any clear cut chances.
    I agree with Dave, I think there will be changes to the starting XI against Stoke, but certainly a promising first two games, with the bonus of the current woes in M16.

    • August 27, 2014  11:16 am by David Walker Reply

      If - big word If - if we can beat Stoke, draw or win at The Emirates & beat Chelsea at Etihad that would 13 or 15pts from 15 - a cracking start having played last season's top 4 finishers. Contrast that with Utd's prospective points haul with their 'easy' start to the season. Ifs,buts & maybes but very promising.

  12. August 27, 2014  11:43 am by Richard Cooper Reply

    That was good.
    As expected the first half was well balanced with both both teams having periods of dominance until Jovetic "popped" up with his opportunist goal, and apart from a defensive lapse of concentration towards the end, Liverpool were 'mauled'.
    I won't pick a MOTM as this was a team performance, but will highlight the following :
    Clichy - Excellent
    Jovetic - His first goal, and his part in the build-up and execution of his second goal . Keep it up Stevan !
    Demichelis - Repeating now what I said last year : He really is very good, not the fastest on two legs but does have a calm and organsied way about him and has justified himself after all the OTT criticism thrown at him for a lot of last season. Does he appear better now he looks like a fotballer and not a throwback to 1960/1970's Ibiza.
    Fernando - It is often said players from abroad take time to adapt to the Premier League. Not this guy.
    Aguero - It is insulting to call him super-sub ! and what a great pass to him for his goal.

    Must not underestimate Stoke. Whilst we revel in our home victories like Monday and the crushing of Arsenal and Spurs in the past it was, for example, Crystal Palace who gave us a tough test last year. The so called weak teams are not always that weak !

    Had to have chuckle today when LVG blamed fixtures and injuries for last night's walloping ! There must be a handbook somewhere that gives "stock" answers for humiliation.

    We await the Champions League draw. A trip to the lovely city of Porto will do nicely.

    • August 27, 2014  11:30 pm by David Walker Reply

      As ever excellent summary RC - people are going to think I have adopted a non de plume and that I'm writing to myself to boost the numbers of comments and agreement levels. Quite right about Stoke - we batter them at the Etihad most times but you never know and complacency could be our enemy. That said MP will have learned so much from those early season defeats last time out.

      CL draw eagerly awaited.

      Thank you sir!

  13. August 27, 2014  1:26 pm by David Walker Reply

    As ever excellent summary RC - people are going to think I have adopted a non de plume and that I'm writing to myself to boost the numbers of comments and agreement levels. Quite right about Stoke - we batter them at the Etihad most times but you never know and complacency could be our enemy. That said MP will have learned so much from those early season defeats last time out.

    CL draw eagerly awaited.

    Thank you sir!

  14. August 27, 2014  4:32 pm by Toby Teasdale Reply

    David,

    You score 10/10 for linguistics and originality. Is there and apostrophe behind The Dippers?

    During the break the engineer did not tinker overmuch with Etihad’s Bentley Continental. Although FFP meant the seating capacity had to be reduced.

    Having spent the summer in the garage, the engineer took it for a spin on Monday night, body work gleaming, engine purred. Under the hood the power train has been boosted by the arrival of Fernando and Jovetic firing on all cylinders.

    Lively at the start, Liverpool reached half time out of gas and exhausted (particularly the vintage Gerrard). Brenda (whose unpredictable Italian job, was parked in the Colin Bell stand) had spouted plenty of ‘Pony’ before the kick-off. She might have done better to park the bus in the second half.

    Finally Aguero came off the bench and scored within 24 seconds, that’s faster than fellow countryman Juan Fangio in his pomp. That was us home and dry, and as you said 'without ever having to get out of third gear'.

    MK Dons turning over the ‘Van Man’ on Tuesday was the icing on the cake.

    • August 27, 2014  11:42 pm by David Walker Reply

      Manuel's Motoring Handbook - How to drive a Lamborghini over the Pyrenees, across The Channel and then ram it RIGHT UP the Mersey Tunnel. Available in all reputable book shops!

  15. August 27, 2014  10:32 pm by DOUGLAS HENSHAW Reply

    Great read Dave & great result so nice to stick it to St Brenden. Tough game but the boys came through with flying colours without I felt being in top gear. Best moment of the night for me Clichy taking the ball of a speeding Glen Johnson brilliant move. #TrustOurMP

    • August 27, 2014  11:45 pm by David Walker Reply

      Clichy is in superb form and, between him and Kolarov, our slightly problematic left back berth doesn't look problematical at all. Brendan Rodgered - over & out.

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