A superb first-half performance sealed the win for Liverpool tonight. A mature, patient second-half followed, but the game seemed to be comfortably over. During the first forty-five minutes, our fans had relished an exuberantly fast-paced, energetic brand of distinctively Liverpudlian football which blasted its way through City’s expensive defence on three occasions. In truth, City never threatened us in an attacking sense – the debutant right-back John Flanagan was comfortable and untroubled throughout – whereas we looked like scoring whenever we went forward.
It’s great to have a game-plan which can work so effectively. Lucas and the excellent Spearing found the feet of Suarez time and time again who, although slightly shy of his best form, scared Lescott and Kompany when he turned and ran at them. And long balls to Carroll never look aimless – his hold-up and link-up play was absolutely superb, and he was rewarded with two goals. He scored his first goal for Liverpool – a 25-yard blast – in euphoric style, and sheer determination and brute force saw him direct Meireles’ deep cross beyond Joe Hart, against the odds, for his second.
There is little more to add, except to pay testament to the incredible energy and desire of the team – especially Spearing, who seemed to account for Gerrard’s absence quite superbly. Kuyt, too, was absolutely fantastic, grabbing a goal but also tackling and harrying the opposition to great effect. Flanagan should thank him for making his job at right-back a hell of a lot easier, both in terms of the Dutchman’s defensive work, and his effort in making passing angles for the Scouse debutant.