Premier League: Liverpool defeat Manchester City 3-2 to close in on title
Last Updated: 14/04/14 9:48am
Liverpool took a giant stride towards the Premier League title with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Manchester City on an emotionally-charged afternoon at Anfield.
Philippe Coutinho scored the winning goal after City had fought back from 2-0 down with a superb first-time finish from the edge of the box 12 minutes from time after a blunder from Vincent Kompany as the Reds secured their 10th win in succession.
Best of the match
- Man of the match: Raheem Sterling opened the scoring in style and was a threat to the Man City defence all afternoon with his pace and movement.
- Goal of the match: Raheem Sterling's opener showed composure beyond his years and came after a sublime pass from Luis Suarez.
- Moment of the match: The tribute to the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster prior to kick-off was hugely moving.
- Controversy of the match: Luis Suarez was booked early on and then went to ground cheaply on two occasions, but avoided further punishment from Mark Clattenburg.
- Talking points: Liverpool are now four wins away from their first title in 24 years. Can they spark a return to glory? Can City still challenge for the title?
The Merseyside club, who paid tribute to the 96 supporters who lost their lives in the Hillsborough disaster 25 years ago prior to kick-off, now have a seven-point cushion on Manuel Pellegrini's men, although the Etihad side still have two games in hand.
Liverpool roared out of the blocks and took the lead with just six minutes on the clock as Raheem Sterling was picked out by Luis Suarez's excellent pass and the youngster showed incredible composure to bamboozle both Kompany and Joe Hart before rolling home.
Hart produced a superb save to deny Steven Gerrard's free header from Coutinho's corner, but the lead was doubled from the captain's resulting kick as Martin Skrtel got away from Kompany at the near post to glance home.
City hit back in style in the second half with David Silva (57) converting James Milner's low cross, before Glen Johnson could only divert the Spain international's shot beyond Simon Mignolet at his near post, but Liverpool were not to be denied, although Jordan Henderson saw red deep into added time.
After an impeccably observed minute's silence, the volume inside Anfield was soon cranked up and a clearly fired-up Suarez was booked early for a late challenge on Martin Demichelis.
The Uruguayan's next intervention was out of the top drawer as his brilliant through-ball put Sterling through to open the scoring.
After Sterling's teasing ball had been guided wide of the far post by Daniel Sturridge, there were more good omens for the hosts when Yaya Toure was forced off with an injury apparently sustained ballooning a shot into the Anfield Road end.
If City were all over the place before he departed they were almost clueless afterwards, allowing Gerrard a free header from a Coutinho corner which Hart superbly tipped over.
It only delayed the inevitable as from the resulting Gerrard corner Skrtel easily lost Kompany, nipped in front of Gael Clichy and flicked a header over Hart and inside the far post.
The speed of Liverpool's attacks had City chasing shadows - unfamiliar territory for them - and Coutinho, Suarez and Sturridge combined to almost make it three.
Gerrard, excellent in nullifying the first-half threat of Silva, produced the perfect tackle to deny Edin Dzeko inside the area, before Mamadou Sakho managed to get away with a less precise challenge on the Bosnian.
After Sterling and Johnson both cleared from under their own crossbar and Mignolet saved Fernandinho's volley, City hit back in the second half.
James Milner's introduction for Jesus Navas five minutes after half-time produced a positive response with the England international combining to allow Silva to expertly round off an incisive passing move.
Silva, finding greater freedom, created the equaliser when he drifted left and drilled in a low cross which Johnson diverted past Mignolet.
City were now in the ascendancy and Silva should have put them in front when substitute Sergio Aguero skipped past Skrtel and crossed to him but the Spaniard guided his shot wide.
It was to prove costly as a misjudgement by Kompany presented Coutinho with a chance which he drilled past Hart.
Liverpool were reduced to 10 men as Henderson lunged in on Nasri and was shown a straight red card by referee Mark Clattenburg.
They held on and the team huddle at the end, with an emotional Gerrard offering his words of wisdom accompanied by chants of 'We're gonna win the league', certainly put a smile on the face of watching owner John W Henry.
Barclays Premier League
|4||West Ham United||9||16|
|13||West Bromwich Albion||9||10|
|19||Queens Park Rangers||9||7|
Liverpool v Man City
Jon Flanagan knows Liverpool must keep performing at the same level if they are to become Premier League champions.
Edin Dzeko expects the title race to run until the final day despite Manchester City's defeat at Liverpool.
Liverpool have won the match of the season and are full of confidence, says Jamie Redknapp.
- Dare to dream
- Gerrard: Biggest statement
- City fear Toure injury woe
- Liverpool's leader
- Rodgers ready for pressure
- Pellegrini: Aguero the best
- Jordan: We're ready for City
- Rodgers backs Liverpool model
- Kompany confident of victory
- Pellegrini relishing pressure
- Rodgers: We're not nervous
- Reds can rule
- Pellegrini: Aguero big boost
- The Lucas formula
- Liverpool's to lose
- Suarez: CL the priority
- Liverpool sweep March awards
- Rodgers - Peters will stay