The City team continued where we left off after the break. David Silva was running the game and Liverpool, particularly the increasingly peripheral Suarez got desperate. The Uruguayan dived when Demichelis made no contact yet Clattenburg issued neither a foul against us nor a card for clear cheating (the current buzzword being “simulation”). Surely it is one or the other?
Pellegrini introduced Milner for Navas just four minutes after the break and City became stronger and our play carried more conviction and Silva had someone else tune directly into his wavelength. Within 8 minutes the change paid dividends when Milner played a lovely, incisive one-two with Fernandinho down the right and crossed from the by-line for Silva who steered the ball home at the Kop End. The Liverpool fans were silenced.
Liverpool and their crowd were as groggy as a boxer who had been hit by a haymaker. Once we’d got hold of the ball, playing our intelligent, intricate football, we were almost unplayable.
Inspired by El Mago, City were rampant, cutting Liverpool to ribbons with clever, intricate passing moves and intelligent bursts forward. Silva’s shot from the inside left position was blocked but he showed speed of thought and presence of min to dart forward and his cross just evaded a lunging Dzeko. Tottering Liverpool were all over the place, the force was with us, and City equalised in the 64th minute. Silva showed lovely skill and poise to backheel to Nasri in the box and take the Frenchan’s precise return pass down the left and crossed only for Johnson to deflect the ball past Mignolet. Anfield could hardly believe it. A pregnant pause was followed by realisation, and delirium amongst every City supporter. Liverpool fans were totally silent.
City were pressing Liverpool into mistakes an Dzeko seized on Henderson’s loose pass and stung Mignolet’s gloves with a power blaster.
David Silva was the best player on the park. What a great player he truly is. If he only he was two inches taller (longer?) he may have steered Sergio Aguero’s teasing cross in rather than wide, but he probably wouldn’t be quite the player he is if were (centres of gravity etc).
City were on top, there was only going to be one winner at that stage and Liverpool were hanging on for dear life deep into the second half when they found some respite in our half.
There was no real hint of any danger when the decisive blow in this match, and possibly to our Title hopes, was struck with 13 minutes to go. A Liverpool throw in resulted in the ball landing innocuously in our box but it was mis-hit by Vincent Kompany whose clearance fell to Coutinho who buried it.
Apart from Mignolet making a fairly comfortable save from a Demichelis header at a corner, City didn’t really come close to scoring after that. Skrtel punched a free kick away but Clattenburg can be forgiven for not giving it as it was difficult to spot. There was time for Clattenburg to issue a straight red for a horror tackle by Henderson, but it wasn’t a hard decision to make. It may statistically make Clattenburg look like he was even handed but the truth was that he was not. His was at best a cowardly display, and at worst, partial.
It was such a shame that we didn’t win this game, let alone get the draw that would have effectively knocked Liverpool out of the race.
Once we’d got hold of the ball and played our game, we came back from 0-2 down to equalise. Our players showed immense character to make that comeback and there looked like there was only one winner at that point, and they didn’t play in red.