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December 26, 2013
• Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Referee: L. Mason
• Attendance: 47351
V. Kompany 31'
Philippe Coutinho 24'
That is it from me, Tom Webber, for this evening. I hope you enjoyed this Boxing Day football feast just as much as I have. Have yourself a great night!
FULL TIME - Man City 2-1 Liverpool: Having spent Christmas on top of the table, the Reds drop down to fourth following defeat to the Citizens. City make it nine straight wins at home and rise up to second position. The second half was not as expansive of the first, but it nevertheless rounded off an extremely enjoyable game.
90' + 5'
There is the final whistle! City win it.
90' + 4'
City have a throw in deep in the Liverpool half. They will look to wind down the remaining seconds here.
90' + 3'
That is a poor challenge from Fernandinho as he is caught in possession on the half-way line. Liverpool will now have a chance to mount another attack.
90' + 1'
Yellow CardLuis Suárez
90' + 1'
We are into the first of an additional four minutes. Suarez collides with Hart as the pair go for the same ball and earns a booking for a rather reckless attempt to win it.
Toure pulls out to the left and looks to bend an effort into the far corner. The shot starts outside the post and keeps on going that way, sailing well wide of the target. Not the Ivorian's best effort.
City have a free kick from distance and it is Kolarov who fancies his chances. He manages to get his strike on target but it is straight at Mignolet who gathers with minimal difficulty.
Yellow CardVictor Moses
Toure dispossesses Johnson on the near side and charges into the box, holding off the right-back as he does so. He cuts a pass back to the centre of the area but it is just behind Dzeko and the striker misses out on a simple finish.
It is a decent effort from Suarez but his strike lacked the dip required to bring it back on target after beating the wall. Just five minutes remaining for Liverpool to find an equaliser.
Suarez is bundled over by Toure in a central position, around 35 yards from goal. It would take something special to find the net from here...
An attacking change from Brendan Rodgers as Lucas is replaced by Aspas. The Spaniard has struggled to stand out early in his Liverpool career. Is this his time to shine?
Yellow CardPablo Zabaleta
Moses has barely seen the ball since coming on and once he does he is quickly clattered into by Zabaleta. That was an awfully late challenge and it earns the Argentine a place in the referee's book.
Both Premier League meetings between these two sides last season ended in 2-2 draws. There is still time for Liverpool to make it a third consecutive result by that scoreline.
Dzeko comes on and it is Negredo that makes way. The Spaniard hobbles off following a collision during that effort moments ago.
Good play from City there as Milner spots Silva making a run from inside out to the left. The Spaniard clips a cross to the back post which Negredo jumps to meet, but the header is comfortably dealt with by Mignolet.
Dzeko is being prepared on the sideline. Perhaps Pellegrini will be giving Negredo a rest after his hard work this evening.
HE HAS TO SCORE!! Suarez races down the left after turning Kompany once more. He puts the ball on a plate for Sterling but the youngster is unable to keep his shot down from close range and he absolutely skies it. The bounce of the ball may not have helped, but he should have done better.
Clever effort from Henderson as he flicked a low delivery towards the goal with his trailing leg but Hart got down to it to make the save.
WHAT A CHANCE!! Henderson bends an inviting ball into the area which Lescott manages to hook away. However, his clearance falls at the feet of Johnson but the right-back's first touch is too heavy and forces him to shoot from an acute angle and Hart makes the save.
Kompany charges forward from deep and gets to a low cross from Kolarov at the near post. Skrtel tracks him all the way and gets another important block in to send it behind for a corner.
Yellow CardGlen Johnson
That is cynical from Johnson. The right-back had lost possession when pushing forward and as Kolarov looked to break away, he clipped the Serbian's ankles to send him tumbling to ground. That will earn him a booking.
Some sloppy passing at the back almost gifts Negredo a free chance to test Mignolet but the keeper spares Sakho's blushes as he gets to the short pass back first.
Johnson pushes on down the right and receives the ball from Suarez. He looks to take on Kolarov but the left-back gets in between him and the ball and draws a foul from his opponent.
Silva sits in space at the top of the box and receives a short pass from Navas. He thumps an effort towards goal but the shot is blocked and Liverpool manage to clear the danger.
Liverpool are now getting every man bar Suarez behind the ball when City have possession. With a route through them not visible, Kompany angles a pass over the top for Negredo to run onto but there is too much power on it.
A sustained spell of pressure from City here and it takes a crucial clearance from Sakho to stop Zabaleta from teeing up a team-mate after latching onto Toure's ball from deep.
Super vision from Negredo, spotting Mignolet off his line having received possession 20 yards from goal. He clipped a delicate effort towards the target but it lacked the elevation to beat Mignolet, who plucked the ball out of the sky.
Liverpool break and Suarez sends a pass out to Coutinho on the left. The Brazilian tries to beat Zabaleta but the Argentine keeps pace with his opponent and shepherds the ball out of play.
Toure and Fernandinho have been extremely composed in possession this evening, but neither of the par are putting the same level of effort in when it comes to defending. They are not picking up the red shirts in midfield and it is making City vulnerable to runners.
City eventually win a corner, but moments before Nasri's touch had let him down as he tried to bring Navas' pass under control inside the box. The hosts have looked the more threatening of the two sides this half.
Nasri comes forward and has a shot blocked from 25 yards. City manage to pick up the loose ball and Toure attempts to play Navas in by the byeline but he overhits his pass and sends it straight out of play.
Nearly a calamitous mix-up in defence for City! A great ball over the top nearly puts Henderson in on goal but he fails to connect and it bounces off of Hart and back into the danger area. Kolarov hesitates in possession and is tackled by Suarez, but Henderson, coming back from an offside position, gets in the way of the Uruguayan's effort. It didn't look to be heading in, mind.
Good play from Suarez! The striker works some space up against Zabaleta on the far side and after cutting back inside he hammers a shot from an acute angle. Hart palms it behind for a corner but the other red shirts in the box were disappointed there was no cross there.
Good ball from Johnson as he pushes on past Sterling and squares a low ball into the box. He is clearly aiming for Suarez but is unable to find a route around Kompany to the Uruguayan.
WIDE OF THE TARGET! Henderson goes for an audacious shot with the outside of his right foot but he fails to keep it down in order to test Hart.
City instantly get back into their passing rhythm but Kolarov is forced to rush his pass as Johnson closes him quickly and Lucas beats the desired recipient, Negredo, to the ball.
We are back underway!
Welcome back! The teams are out on the pitch and the second half will begin in a few seconds.
Skrtel has had a decent game at the back for Liverpool, but his hard work was completely undone by that howler from Mignolet. The Belgian really ought to have kept Negredo's tame, albeit unconventional, effort out. Join me in 10 minutes for the start of the second half.
HALF TIME - Man City 2-1 Liverpool: Coutinho gave the visitors the lead but goals from Kompany and Negredo ensure the Citizens go into half time in charge of the match. There has been a counterattacking theme to this one, which has made for a thoroughly enjoyable first half. More of the same after the break please!
45' + 2'
And there goes the whistle for half time!
45' + 1'
AssistJesús Navas González
45' + 1'
GOOOOAAAL!! CITY GO AHEAD! Pellegrini's men have turned it around, but they will have to thank Mignolet for his help with that one. Another counterattack pulls Liverpool's defence apart and Navas slides a great pass into Negredo. The Spaniard shoots from outside the box and the keeper flaps at the effort, failing to divert it away from goal and it bounced into the net.
Henderson is down in the middle of the pitch and is signalling that he wants treatment. The referee does not signal for him to come on and instead tells the midfielder to get to his feet, which he miraculously does!
SKRTEL AGAIN! That is truly stunning defensive work from the centre-back, chasing down Negredo and getting a foot to the ball as the Spaniard attempted to tuck home from Fernandinho's through-ball.
WHAT A SAVE!! Liverpool create another opportunity to test Hart as Sterling chips a pass over the defence which Suarez cushions for Coutinho in space on the penalty spot. The Brazilian should have his second but he is unable to pick out a corner and Hart gets his hands to it.
STAT: These two sides are the leading scorers in the Premier League this season. Before tonight City had netted 51 in 17 games so far this season, while Leverpool had scored 42 in the same number of outings.
Now it is Liverpool who look vulnerable to the counterattack! City manage to get Nasri on the ball 30 yards from goal but his rather tame effort rolls comfortably into the awaiting hands of Mignolet.
The hosts are playing some lovely passing football in the opposition half and after another neat link-up, Toure injects some urgency with a forward run. He spots Negredo's surge through the channel and attempts to roll a pass into him, but Skrtel gets across and gets to it first.
That is an exquisite ball from Coutinho, looking to put Henderson in behind the defence but Hart is alert to the danger and comes off his line to claim it.
City have a chance to take the lead just two minutes after equalising with a break from a Liverpool corner. Silva silps a great pass in behind the defence for Navas but the winger blazes his shot high over the roof of the goal.
GOOOAAL! KOMPANY LEVELS IT! A corner is swung in by Silva and the towering Belgian beat Skrtel to the ball and guided a header past Mignolet and into the corner, with Allen unable to keep it out on the line.
Nasri clips it over every team-mate inside the box but fortunately Kolarov is on hand to meet it on the far side. He rifles an attempt at goal but fails to find a route through the bodies in the box to the target.
Lucas is perhaps unlucky to concede a free kick just outside the box on the near side as a touch from Zabaleta inadvertently hits his arm. What can City make of this?
VITAL BLOCK!! Kolarov is given plenty of time out on the left and he uses it brightly, picking out Toure on the penalty spot with a driven pass. The Ivorian manages to shift the ball into space and shoot from an acute angle but Skrtel got a crucial foot to the effort to deflect it behind.
There is certainly a fiery atmosphere at the Etihad now! City have dominated possession, by and large, during the first half, but it is Liverpool who lead this one. How will Pellegrini's men react to going behind?
GOOOOOOAAL!! LIVERPOOL LEAD! A lovely team goal from the Reds there as Henderson feeds Suarez and the Uruguayan flicks a lovely pass in behind for Sterling. The winger rounds Hart but it is the following Coutinho who slots home the finish.
Oh if only Allen's touch had been better! The midfielder raced into a gap in the Liverpool defence but his control of Coutinho's pass was poor and it allowed Kompany to regain possession for the hosts.
City have already shown glimpses of their attacking prowess, but those familiar defensive frailties have also reared their head. They will need to remain organised and discipline or they will risk conceding when Liverpool break.
STAT: The last top-flight team to score as many goals as Manchester City (35) in their opening eight home matches were Tottenham Hotspur, way back in the 1962-63 season. (via Opta)
WHAT A BAD CALL! Suarez again plays Sterling in on goal with a lovely through-ball but the assistant referee on the far side raises his flag to signal for offside. Kolarov was too deep there and is fortunate that the decision went his way.
The width that the Citizens are playing with is really causing Liverpool problems in these opening stages. This time the danger comes from down the left as Kolarov's cutback picks out Negredo on the penalty spot. The striker manages to get a shot away but he is unable to hit the target.
A free kick for Liverpool after a clumsy challenge by Lescott, but Suarez curls it straight into the arms of Hart. City won't want to giver him too many chances like that, though.
GREAT TACKLE!! Kolarov had to time that right in order to take the ball away from Sterling inside the area after Suarez had turned Kompany brilliantly and broken at speed.
The delivery picks out that man Suarez in the box, and he rises above Lescott to get his head on it. However, his magic touch is missing on that occasion as the ball bounces wide of the post.
Despite being put under a lot of pressure early on, Cissokho still takes his opportunity to get forward. He puts a decent cross into the box which is headed behind for a corner.
Super stuff from Toure! The Ivorian puts a delicate flick on Silva's pass to guide it to the feet of Negredo and then instantly spins to look for the return pass. The striker tees him up to shoot at goal but the effort is pulled harmlessly wide of goal. Still, a very bright start from Toure in midfield.
Cissokho is really up against it here! Zabaleta and Navas have been combining excellently and they do so once more here. This time it is the Spaniard who attempts to deliver the ball but the opposing defence again repel the attack. The resultant corner is met by Kompany but he hads wide of the near post.
Liverpool are now retaining the ball well as they look to try and take some of the sting out of the opening moments. They work the ball over to the right but Sterling sloppily gives it away. City counter at pace but once more Zabaleta's ball into the box is intercepted.
Great tracking back from Nasri there as he chases Sterling down in his own half and manages to dispossess the youngster. In his haste to regain the ball the Liverpool man commits a foul and City are awarded a free kick.
OFF THE POST!! Toure shifts the ball out to Kolarov on the left and the full-back whips a fantastic delivery into the box. Negredo is unable to connect with it but Navas succeeds in doing so at the back post. He loops a header back across goal which leaves Mignolet stranded, but it shades the frame of the goal.
City have settled on the ball very quickly and are controlling possession in these early stages. They have been formidable at home this season, will there be more of the same today?
Brilliant work from Navas there as he probes down the right flank before showing great awareness to slide a backheel into the path of Zabaleta. The Argentine moves to the byeline but his attempted cutback is intercepted and the visitors clear away the danger.
We are underway at the Etihad Stadium!
The teams are out on the pitch and kick off will be upon us imminently!
Six of the last nine Premier League matches between Liverpool and Manchester City have ended in draws. Chelsea and Arsenal fans will certainly be hoping for a similar result this afternoon!
Pellegrini makes three changes then as Dzeko, Clichy and Demichelis are replaced by Navas, Zabaleta and Lescott. Rodgers is forced into one swap from the team that beat Cardiff 3-1 at the weekend, as Flanagan falls short of fitness and is replaced by Cissokho.
Liverpool substitutes: Jones, K. Toure, Agger, Smith, Alberto, Aspas, Moses.
Liverpool (4-3-3): Mignolet; Johnson, Skrtel, Sakho, Cissokho; Henderson, Allen, Lucas; Sterling, Suarez, Coutinho.
Manchester City substitutes: Pantilimon, Boyata, Nastasic, Clichy, Garcia, Milner, Dzeko.
Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov; Y. Toure, Fernandinho; Navas, Silva, Nasri; Negredo.
But the Reds are able to rely upon their star striker, while Manuel Pellegrini has no such luck. Luis Suarez, who has scored 19 goals in just 12 appearances, starts for the visitors, while Sergio Aguero remains sidelined for City due to injury. Full line-ups on the way now.
There couldn't be much more of a sterner task for Brendan Rodgers' men today either. They come up against a Citizens side that have won all of their eight home league games this season, scoring an average of just over three goals per match at the Etihad Stadium.
Following Arsenal's turnaround to defeat West Ham 3-1 earlier this afternoon, Liverpool have been temporarily knocked off their perch at the top of the table. The Reds produced a mesmerising display as they brushed aside the challenge of Tottenham Hotspur in their last away game, but that remains their only victory in their last five outings on their travels.
It is time for the sprig of holly on top of the Christmas pudding that is the Premier League Boxing Day fixtures: Manchester City take on Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium. My name is Tom Webber and I will be guiding you through the action as these two potential title challengers go head to head.
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