Yesterday, a thrilling goalless draw away for Liverpool. Disappointing, but a great ninety minutes for football fans of any type.
These were two very evenly matched sides. Only one point separates them in the table, and I don’t think you could get any closer in terms of play on the field. Liverpool seemed both the weaker team (on defense) as well as the stronger team (on offense), whereas Man City was more consistent at both ends of the pitch.
The play was aggressive but civil, and the referee Uriah Renne wisely allowed play to flow, electing not to call several fouls that a more literally-minded man might have flagged. I believe the only card was for a stomp by Fernando Torres, and I’m guessing that the only reason Renne pulled the yellow was the exuberant anger displayed by Micah Richards.
The man of the match was Richard Dunne, and he deserved it with several spectacular blocks in the six-yard box, as well as a game-saving clearance from just outside the goal line with minutes remaining.
Most curious for me as a Liverpool fan was how slowly the side played for most of the first half — lots of possession, passes in their own half, not pressing forward. Perhaps they were worried about Man City’s counterattack? With only Darius Vassell up front for City, it seemed an abundance of caution.
As time goes on this season, I’m convinced more and more that Liverpool will not press Arsenal and Manure for the league title. I can’t put my finger on the specific missing elements, but I look forward to the January transfer window to see what changes Rafa Benitez might make.