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April 13, 2014
• Anfield, Liverpool
Referee: M. Clattenburg
• Attendance: 44601
R. Sterling 6'
M. Škrtel 26'
Philippe Coutinho 78'
David Silva 57'
G. Johnson 62' (own goal)
FULL-TIME: Liverpool 3-2 Manchester City. The Reds have somehow overcome one of the biggest obstacles in their pursuit of the Premier League title and now stand four games away from winning it after an astonishing afternoon at Anfield. On such a poignant occasion, with the match coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy, the Reds raced into a two-goal lead thanks to Raheem Sterling and Martin Skrtel. City rallied, though, and pegged them back with David Silva instrumental, as he scored the first and forced an effort in off Glen Johnson to draw his side level. But that was not the end of the drama as Vincent Kompany's woeful error led to Philippe Coutinho slamming home a stunning winner to leave the Kop in delirium.
90' + 5'
90' + 4'
RED CARD! Henderson is given his marching orders for an awful tackle on Nasri as the midfielder looked to win the ball back quickly. He went over the top of the ball and caught the Frenchman on his shin. Liverpool, however, are closing in on a crucial win here.
90' + 3'
Red Card Jordan Henderson
90' + 2'
The corner comes to nothing, with Mignolet claiming it confidently but Liverpool are hanging on here as City look to load the penalty area for one final push.
We will have five minutes of added time at Anfield, which begins with a City corner, after confusion in the backline led to Skrtel heading behind.
Liverpool are doing a good job of containing City at the moment and are now bringing on Victor Moses for Coutinho as they look to seal what would be a pivotal victory in the title race.
Coutinho concedes a free-kick rather cheaply on Zabaleta by the near corner flag but the delivery in is nodded up in the air by Johnson and Liverpool are eventually able to clear.
Suarez is flagged, again, for offside after darting in behind the City defence, who are starting to look nervy once more.
Demichelis gets up brilliantly to meet Milner's corner but his header is well kept out by Mignolet, who got down to his right to meet it and hold the ball crucially away from the cluster of players on the back post.
City begin to crank the pressure up a notch again once more as they look for the goal that would put the title race back in their hands once more. Can they force another equaliser here?
GOAL! Unbelievable, Liverpool are somehow back in front here. The chips were down for the Reds, with City largely on top, but Kompany's shocking error has just handed them a huge lifeline and it's one Coutinho takes with aplomb. There appeared little danger on at first from a throw, but Kompany's wild swing left Coutinho free on the edge and the midfielder swung his foot at the ball to bend an effort around Zabaleta and past Hart.
Yellow Card Pablo Zabaleta
How much will City go on to rue that miss this afternoon? They are playing all of the football at this point of the match.
WHAT A CHANCE! Aguero displays his worth to this City attack by rolling Skrtel's challenge and slipping the ball across goal but Silva cannot quite get his studs to the ball to turn it home at the far post.
More good defending from City sees them keep a high line and thwart Liverpool's latest attack, with Henderson also found to be offside before he can slip the ball to Suarez, who prods it into the net.
Liverpool think they have breached the City backline when a pass in behind finds Suarez but the Uruguayan is flagged for offside. Hart is able to save his effort regardless, however.
What a moment in the match this could prove to be as Aguero comes on to replace Dzeko up front for City. The Argentinian is more than capable of posing problems to this increasingly uncertain Reds defence.
WHAT A CHANCE! A sloppy pass from Henderson can only find Dzeko lurking on the edge of the area but the Bosnian chooses to go first time with his effort which is saved comfortably enough by Mignolet.
Rodgers responds to his side's setback in this second half by introducing Joe Allen to shore things up in midfield at the expense of Sturridge. Liverpool have penalty claims turned down moments later as Suarez goes down too easily under Kompany's challenge.
Own Goal Glen Johnson
GOAL! City are level! Against all the odds, the champions from two seasons ago have stepped up a gear to stun their hosts at Anfield. It's another lovely passing move from City, who get in and around the Liverpool area before Nasri slips in the effervescent Silva, whose arrowed shot across the face cannons in off Johnson and sneaks past Mignolet to silence Anfield.
Liverpool break from a City corner but Clichy does brilliantly to prevent Sturridge from finding Suarez before Zabaleta manages to get a challenge in on the striker to concede a corner.
SO CLOSE! City go within a whisker of a crucial leveller as Silva breaks clear of a number of challenges and fires across goal, but Dzeko cannot quite prod it home.
Assist James Milner
Goal David Silva
GOAL! Manchester City are right back in it here, as Silva pulls one back. The Reds failed to heed the warning and, from Fernandinho's pass Milner produces a carbon copy cross from moments earlier to the Spaniard, who does brilliantly to tuck home into the far corner.
City have the ball in the back of the net through Silva from Milner's cutback but the winger had taken the ball out of play prior to crossing for his team-mate. A close shave for the Reds.
SECOND YELLOW?! Suarez may have just got away with one there, with the Manchester City players furious as the Uruguayan striker throws himself to the floor under a challenge from Demichelis but Clattenburg refuses City's vehement protests.
Skrtel is forced into a last-gasp challenge to stop Fernandinho from breaking clear of the backline but looks like he may have hurt himself in the process. The Slovakian looks okay to continue, however.
Jesús Navas González
Sterling drives at the Manchester City rearguard but appears to be caught in two minds, lashing a shot well over the bar when a pass might have been the better option. James Milner replaces Navas for City in the meantime.
City look to build a head of steam down the right but Flanagan is in the right place to intercept and line up the latest Liverpool attack, which ends rather abruptly as a crossfield pass has too much pace on it for Johnson and sails out for a throw.
City get the ball rolling once more and they face an uphill battle to secure anything here.
45' + 3'
HALF-TIME: Liverpool 2-0 Manchester City. Anfield is rocking as their side takes a two-goal lead in at half-time after a breathtaking display of attacking football that had their stunned visitors on the ropes each time they came forward. It has been the 'SAS', but not the one you might think, that has done the damage, with Sterling showing tremendous presence of mind to score the first before Skrtel headed home number two. City, who lost Toure to injury in the first period, will have to raise their game tenfold to secure a result on Merseyside this afternoon.
45' + 1'
Yellow Card Fernandinho
45' + 1'
WHAT A SAVE! Mignolet does superbly to react to Fernandinho's powerful strike, coming from another Navas centre, and parries aside, before the Brazilian is booked for a forceful challenge on Suarez.
City register a chance of their own before the break as a flying breakaway leads to Navas crossing in and Silva's header deflecting behind for a corner. From the resulting set piece a header towards goal is somehow cleared off the line by a combination of Sterling and Johnson.
CHANCE! A brilliant opportunity for Liverpool to grab a third here as Coutinho ignores the pleas of Suarez for a pass and elects to shoot, slightly selfishly, and can only manage to drag another effort wide of goal.
City are rattled here, Liverpool are swarming over the visitors' defence time and time again and Pellegrini will be praying his side can get to half-time at least. Aguero, you sense, will be required to secure anything at Anfield.
Coutinho trips Dzeko right on the edge of the area and presents City with a free-kick in a promising position, but Silva fires it straight into the wall and Liverpool are able to clear.
City counter from a Liverpool corner and Fernandinho almost releases Dzeko with a speculative long ball through the centre of Liverpool's defence, but Johnson is quick enough to avert the danger.
PENALTY?! Manchester City look to have been denied a clear penalty here as Sakho clumsily goes to ground in his attempts to get the ball and instead scythes down Dzeko, but Clattenburg ignores the Bosnian's appeals and awards a goal kick instead to the fury of City fans.
CHANCE! Gerrard does superbly to track back and get a block in on Edin Dzeko, who has been on the periphery of the game thus far, as he shaped to shoot following Silva's astute through pass.
City come forward this time, but Liverpool look so much more comfortable at repelling the away side's attacks and Navas' flick is easily dealt with by Simon Mignolet.
Manchester City look so vulnerable to the Liverpool counter and they are nearly hit once more as Suarez plays in Sturridge, but the ball deflects behind for a corner. It has been a breathless start at Anfield.
Assist Steven Gerrard
Goal Martin Skrtel
GOAL! Martin Skrtel makes it 2-0 and Anfield has been sent into ecstasy as he heads home from a corner. Gerrard had forced a brilliant save from Joe Hart from the first set piece but the second was met by the Slovakian at the near post as he escaped Kompany and Clichy to give Liverpool a two-goal lead here. What a scintillating display.
Navas tries another cross from the right but Liverpool launch a counter attack straight away from it and Demichelis has to be on guard to deal with Sturridge's attempted flick to Suarez in the penalty area.
City forge an attack of their own, with David Silva slipping in Navas but his cross is blocked away for a corner, which ultimately comes to nothing.
Garcia goes straight into the book for a foolish challenge on Jordan Henderson and will now have to tread carefully for the rest of the game.
Yellow Card Javi García
Garcia comes on as City look to stem the tide of Liverpool attacks but the blood-thirsty Reds are looking for more goals. Dzeko is penalised for a foul with Pellegrini's side failing to get into their natural rhythm.
It has not been a good start to the day for City fans and it could be about to get worse as Toure goes down in midfield with what looks to be a groin injury. Javi Garcia will come on to replace the towering midfielder in a massive blow to their hopes of a win here.
WHAT A CHANCE! Sterling has been outstanding in this first 15 minutes and supplies a stunning cross for Sturridge, but the striker elects to go with the instep of his left foot and cuts across the ball, with his effort flying wide of target. A huge let-off for the visitors.
City are left furious after Yaya Toure dances past two challenges, following a storming run, but is penalised for a foul on Glen Johnson by Clattenburg.
A breathtaking move involving Steven Gerrard, Sterling and Sturridge ends with a dinked cross which Clichy has to meet before Suarez can head home.
Jesus Navas briefly escapes Jon Flanagan with a clever turn of pace but Sakho comes across well to nod the ball out of play before Liverpool recover possession.
Sturridge finds room in the right-hand channel and looks to get at Clichy, forcing a corner off the Frenchman. Dzeko has to be alert to deal with the ball in, flicking away before Sakho could meet it.
Assist Luis Suárez
Goal Raheem Sterling
GOAL! Liverpool are off to the perfect start as Raheem Sterling hands the Reds an early lead. Suarez did brilliantly in the build-up to fend off Clichy, who was weak in the challenge before threading a ball through to Sterling, who showed remarkable composure to turn Kompany twice before slotting past Joe Hart.
Yellow Card Luis Suárez
Martin Demichelis does well to get out and nullify the threat of Coutinho, who lined up a shot just outside the area but dragged it well wide. Moments later the Argentine is swiped down by Suarez, who receives a yellow card for his late challenge.
It has been an electric start to this game, with the pace ebbing and flowing but neither side has offered any sort of tangible threat in the attacking third.
Mark Clattenburg blows his whistle and we are underway here at Anfield, with Liverpool getting the ball rolling.
STAT: Manchester City's win last week over Southampton was the 16th time they have scored four or more in a game this season.
STAT: Liverpool are currently on a run of nine Premier League wins in a row and 14 unbeaten - scoring 46 goals along the way.
We will have a minute's silence, and a very emotional one for everyone inside Anfield this afternoon, prior to kick off here.
As we get ready for kick off, the Kop are in full voice to the club's anthem You'll Never Walk Alone. It is a rather stunning spectacle we are witnessing here at Anfield.
The match, just like every other this weekend, will kick off seven minutes later than normal to commemorate the Hillsborough disaster and the magnitude of this contest ensures we have a great game on our hands. A win for Liverpool would put them firmly in the driving seat for a first-ever Premier League crown while any positive result for City will help them to secure their second in the final reckoning.
Of course, today's match rather fittingly coincides with the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster to make it a poignant afternoon on Merseyside as Liverpool fans remember the 96 who tragically lost their lives in 1989. The atmosphere around the stadium is one of expectation and pride as the hosts bid for a victory which could be paramount towards their title aspirations.
The Liverpool manager also refuses to compromise his side's attacking lineup as Philippe Coutinho is preferred to Joe Allen but the standout team news comes with the visitors as Vincent Kompany is passed fit to start. Sergio Aguero also returns from a hamstring injury but is only fit enough for a place on the bench.
Rodgers resists the urge to draft in Daniel Agger after his return from a knee problem with Mamadou Sakho's impressive performance during last weekend's 2-1 win over West Ham United meaning the Dane has to settle for a place on the bench.
Manchester City substitutes: Pantilimon, Lescott, Milner, Negredo, Kolarov, Javi Garcia, Aguero.
Manchester City: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Clichy; Yaya Toure, Fernandinho; Navas, Silva, Nasri; Dzeko.
Liverpool substitutes: Jones, Toure, Agger, Aspas, Moses, Lucas, Allen.
Here are the teams in full, starting with Liverpool: Mignolet; Johnson, Skrtel, Sakho, Flanagan; Gerrard, Henderson; Coutinho; Sterling, Sturridge, Suarez.
The team news is in and both Brendan Rodgers and Manuel Pellegrini have refused to make wholesale changes to their respective sides, with the home side unchanged. Manchester City making just the one alteration from the side that beat Southampton 4-1 last weekend as Gael Clichy comes in for Aleksandar Kolarov.
Good afternoon and welcome to this LIVE commentary of a match that has been billed as one that will shape the destiny of the title race as Liverpool take on Manchester City at Anfield in a crunch clash. My name is Tom Marshall-Bailey and I will be bringing you the latest developments from the home of the Reds.
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