Liverpool profited from three errors from Vincent Kompany as they extended their lead at the top to five points, prior to Chelsea's game with Swansea, thanks to a stunning 3-2 home win over Manchester City.
Philippe Coutinho scored the winner in the 78th minute after a howler from Kompany. Manchester City had spent the preceding days fretting over their captain's fitness, and were relieved when he was available for selection.
Yet it was his wild swing at the ball which presented Coutinho with his chance from the edge of the box. The Liverpool player made no similar mistake, rifling home with power and accuracy past Joe Hart.
Raheem Sterling opened the scoring after only six minutes, picking up on Luis Suarez’s pass and deceiving Kompany before slotting Joe Hart. The lead was doubled by Martin Skrtel with a great glancing header from a Steven Gerrard corner after 26 minutes.
Manchester City were dealt an additional blow early on as Yaya Toure limped off, having incurred an injury to his left knee with an optimistic strike from range. But they came out roaring in the second half, with James Milner, a 50th-minute substitute replacing Jesus Navas, setting up David Silva’s lofted shot into the net over the onrushing Liverpool defence.
Five minutes later, Silva tried to take credit for the equaliser, an acute attempt from the left, but it was Glen Johnson’s deflection that really tricked Simon Mignolet at the near post.
The game ended on a negative note for Liverpool, with Jordan Henderson sent off in additional time for a very nasty challenge on Samir Nasri. The fans would not let it put a dampener on their celebrations, though, applauding him off, and then giving the whole team a similar ovation just a few seconds afterwards.
6' - GOAL! What a start! Suarez plays Sterling through, and as the Manchester City defence moves across to close him down, he takes his time, moves round Kompany and fires past Joe Hart.
26' - CHANCE! Liverpool launch a counter-attack. Another corner to them, taken by Coutinho, and Gerrard is left utterly alone in the centre of the box, and he gets his head firmly to it. Great save from Hart.
26' - GOAL! Gerrard takes the corner, and Skrtel makes no mistake at the near post. He glances it over Joe Hart and into the far corner.
52' - FLASHPOINT! Demichelis is furious with Luis Suarez, who hits the deck on the edge of the box. The defender reckons he never made contact, and the replay certainly does look that way.
57' - GOAL! Nicely built from City. James Milner does the hard work, and David Silva meets it in the middle, lofting it over the challenges from the Liverpool defence.
62' - GOAL! What a kerfuffle, and what drama! Silva moves in on the left, and Mignolet is utterly deceived at the near post as the cross takes a big touch off Johnson for an own goal.
78' - GOAL! Well, would you believe it? Vincent Kompany, who Manchester City were so fretful about before the match, swings a leg and slices it as far as Coutinho, who rifles home to restore a slender lead.
90'+3 RED CARD! Jordan Henderson is sent off for a very nasty challenge on Nasri. He's applauded off by the Liverpool fans.
Manchester City are the first opponent Coutinho has scored more than one Premier League goal against.
Liverpool's tally of 93 Premier League goals this season is more than they have scored in an entire top flight campaign. Their previous best was 92 in the old Division One in 1963/64.
This was Liverpool’s 10th consecutive Premier League win, their best winning run since October to December 2005.
Liverpool are now unbeaten in all 15 Premier League matches of 2014, their longest unbeaten top flight start to a calendar year since 1983 (also 15 matches). That run helped them to the 1982/83 old Division One title.
Should Suarez have been off? You’d expect Luis Suarez to be involved in most moments of controversy. He shouted for penalties multiple times, and referee Mark Clattenburg was uninterested in every single claim. That little incident with Demichelis, though, on 52 minutes was a flashpoint – if it wasn’t a foul from the Manchester City defender, should Suarez have received a second yellow card? The game might have been very different.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool): Busy throughout, creative and consistent, and got that vital winner.
Liverpool: Mignolet 7, Johnson 7, Flanagan 7, Sakho 7, Skrtel 7, Gerrard 7, Henderson 7 , Coutinho 8, Sterling 7, Suarez 7, Sturridge 7. Subs: Moses N/A, Allen 7, Lucas N/A.
Manchester City: Hart 7, Zabaleta 7, Kompany 6, Demichelis 6, Clichy 7, Toure 6, Fernandinho 7, Navas 7, Nasri 7, Silva 8, Dzeko 7. Subs: Garcia 7, Milner 8, Aguero 7.
THE MATCH IN A TWEET
#LFC 3-2 #MCFC: Liverpool’s 24 years of title hurt surely destined to end this season as catastrophic Kompany goes bust at Anfield.
- Sports & Recreation
- Manchester City
- Vincent Kompany
- Philippe Coutinho
- Luis Suarez
- James Milner
- Joe Hart
- Steven Gerrard