Dec 26, 2013, 2:23 PM EST
Liverpool came close to becoming the first visiting team not named Bayern Munich to win at the Etihad Stadium in months, but suspect finishing and a poor moment of goalkeeping allowed Manchester City to survive with a 2-1 decision at home.
The Reds struck first, and rightly so after having an earlier Raheem Sterling goal wiped out for what seemed to be a dubious offsides call. Sterling would play his part in the tally, as he moved deftly past a sliding Joe Hart before deferring to Phillippe Coutinho. He slotted home into an yawning net from a not-so-easy angle to move ahead 1-0 in the 24th minute.
Kompany came to City’s rescue with a headed-down effort off a corner, this one moving past Mignolet to level the score in the 31st minute. Joe Allen probably should’ve done better to clear the goal off the line.
Coutinho was robbed by Hart in the 40th minute after Liverpool worked its way into prime real estate via Sterling’s chip and Luis Suarez‘s one-touch pass. The Brazilian was on the doorstep but the maligned Hart was brilliant in parrying a right-footed effort aside.
Manchester City continued its streak of scoring two or more goals at home, a feat that traces back to May, when Jesus Navas slid a pass to Negredo. He hit a hard shot with the outside of his left foot that ignored a lackadaisical Simon Mignolet‘s paw and gave City a 2-1 halftime lead.
A sublime turn from David Silva was the feature moment of a 55th minute that nearly saw City go up by two goals, but Yaya Toure was foiled by a tough first touch and Hart was wise to the ensuing corner.
It wasn’t in the cards for Raheem Sterling, who made a meal of a prime scoring chance with less than 20 minutes to play. Sterling’s well-timed run became a balloon over the crossbar when he sent the ball aloft from eight yards out.
Liverpool will feel unlucky considering this performance on the road but it’s worth noting that while Mignolet was not at his best on the second goal, he later denied the deficit’s growth on several occasions.
Goals: Kompany (31), Negredo (45+1)
Liverpool: Mignolet, Cissokho, Skrtel, Sakho, Johnson, Lucas (Aspas, 82), Allen, Henderson, Sterling, Coutinho, Suarez.
Goals: Coutinho (24)
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