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Manchester City steeled for title push

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Phil McNulty | 07:01 UK time, Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Manchester City's absence of Premier League title-winning pedigree means they are getting used to being asked the questions - and they continue to deliver the answers the doubters require.

The old sages say you do not prove you can take the steps towards titles when the waters are calm. The significant moves are made when you are not playing well, when you have to respond to a damaging defeat.

Roberto Mancini's side faced their initial searching examination when they suffered a first league defeat of the season at Chelsea last month. The next home game against Arsenal was the theatre for a forensic examination of their character, nerve and aspirations.

City passed the test with a narrow win, but the questions returned after a goalless draw at West Bromwich Albion and, more pointedly, following the stoppage-time defeat at Sunderland on Sunday.

Even Mancini's post-match appearance was scrutinised at Sunderland. The perfectly normal frustrated body language of a manager who has seen his side create enough chances to win three points and end with none was taken as the usually immaculate Italian looking dishevelled as a result of mounting pressure.

No matter that City could, perhaps should, have beaten Sunderland. How would they respond against Kenny Dalglish's Liverpool only two days later, with limbs still heavy and minds supposedly scarred by their failure to take advantage of closest rivals Manchester United's loss against Blackburn Rovers?

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At a storm-lashed Etihad the response was impressive enough to confirm the growing belief that even if United's ominous shadow continues to follow them, City have enough steel and talent to stay the course.

Whether they end up winning their first league title since 1967-68 remains to be seen, but the manner in which they dealt with an admittedly average Liverpool will have soothed many lingering worries among the usual dark humour of City's followers.

Mancini was infuriated by the cavalier manner in which City conceded defeat with more or less the last kick of the game at the Stadium of Light. Liverpool's visit called for maximum concentration and a return to the core values of miserly defence as a platform for more flamboyant attacking talents such as Sergio Aguero and David Silva.

City, even with Liverpool enjoying plenty of possession, exuded a steely control at the back. Indeed, they seemed content to let Dalglish's highly expensive attack have the ball safe in the knowledge that Liverpool would do nothing to hurt them with it. And so it proved.

Aguero's soft early goal, conceded cheaply by Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina, set City on their way, while Yaya Toure added a second before half-time. Even after losing Gareth Barry to a second yellow card late on, they still ended looking to add to their goal tally after James Milner scored their third from the spot.

Silva adorned the game with his usual delicate touches and Aguero was his predatory self, but it was two of the more physical forces in Mancini's squad that cemented this entire performance together.

Vincent Kompany was magnificent in central defence, leading by example and demonstrating in short order that he was not the man to give poor Andy Carroll a helping hand in his so far fruitless quest to prove he is worth anything like the £35m Dalglish paid for him.

And in central midfield, the mountainous figure of Yaya Toure ran the game. For a man with such a hulking frame, he gathers terrifying speed as he surges forward - with more than one observer making the point that he is the identikit midfield man Sir Alex Ferguson currently craves at Old Trafford.

Yaya drove City's effort with almost unstoppable force. He was certainly too much for the flimsy forces marshalled by Dalglish on Tuesday, with Charlie Adam poor and Jay Spearing anonymous in midfield.

Of course Yaya's display left Mancini to answer another question, although he admitted himself he is struggling to answer this one. How will he cope when the Toure brothers are away at the Africa Cup of Nations with the Ivory Coast?

Yaya Toure goes past Jordan Henderson

Yaya Toure (right) "is a very important player" according to City boss Roberto Mancini. Photo: Getty

Mancini confessed he is close to irreplaceable, emphasising his point by revealing his optimism that City will be in prime position to win the title should they still head the table when he returns from international duty.

He underlined January as a crucial month for City - but they all are now as the season heads into the turn and expectations mount that the great prize can be claimed.

For Liverpool, the shadow of Luis Suarez hung over the evening as they announced just before kick-off that they had decided not to appeal against his eight-match ban for being found guilty by the Football Association of racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra.

To emphasise their refusal to go quietly, Liverpool issued another incendiary statement criticising the Football Association and reiterating their support for the Uruguayan.

And Dalglish was in no mood to accept that, outside Anfield at least, public opinion is gathering against Liverpool because of their stance on the issue as he refused to budge a single centimetre in his backing for Suarez.

He will certainly know the value of Suarez after this lame effort from his team, and may have it underscored even more forcibly during the remaining seven games of his suspension.

Carroll, inevitably, was the target for the mirth of City's fans as his frustration grew. He was as unimpressive as many of his colleagues - yet it should also be stated in his defence that he was left too isolated for too long and was starved of quality service, the sort Stewart Downing was bought to provide but delivers all too rarely.

If Carroll is short on confidence, and he appears to be, his Liverpool colleagues did little to help him.

Dalglish admitted Liverpool had been given harsh lessons, especially in the clinical fashion of City's attacking play, and at least his side have the chance to prove they are quick learners as they are back here again in the Carling Cup semi-final next week.

No such worries for City as the celebrations, and the selection of celebratory tweets from Kompany, Aguero, Adam Johnson and Micah Richards, suggested they had proved a point to themselves as well as those who continue to question their credentials.

Comments

Page 1 of 11

  • Comment number 1.

    City did well considering they had 2 days rest after Sunderland match. Sunderland also won impressively after a similar rest period. Amazing athletic ability.

  • Comment number 2.

    Liverpool football club are an absolute disgrace. Their statements are childish and pathetic and i only hope their real supporters are not stupid enough to stand behind them.

    A club with a proud heritage like theirs should be looking to accept the report (which is damning) and move on instead of childishly ignoring all the evidence infront of them.

    As for City, fair play for turning it on after NY Day. Toure is a big loss it has to be said and I for one hope it really hurts their play.

  • Comment number 3.

    Been a Liverpool fan what was worse was that after the rare mistake by Reina, City just sat back content that they could get us on the counter attack and an attack which includes Carroll, Downing and Adam is never going to threaten. Sadly we have wasted a fortune on some very mediocre British players who are simply not good enough.

    With regards to Suarez, although I am disappointed that the club isn't continuing to fight this injustice I can understand why they have backed off. The issue has become political (one politician on the radio was comparing Suarez to the Stephen Lawrence case! - unbelievable!). Regardless of the rights and wrongs of the case an appeal would have no chance of been successful simply because the FA would never back down from the case which they have prosecuted, judged and juried! I think what is abundantly clear is that if this case was in a court of law (which is thankfully impartial) then it would have been thrown out a long time ago.

    Still I'm sure the FA are very proud about their anti-racism stance. One must wonder if they will be stick to this the next time England fans (who buy their tickets from the FA) boo other nations anthems, or songs are sung about the war etc. Will the FA back their message the next time 'sir' Alex Ferguson makes comments about 'typical Germans' or checking your pasta with regards to Italians?

    Racism is thankfully a very small problem in English football. Xenophobia however is abundant at all levels of English football.

  • Comment number 4.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 6.

    "Manchester City's absence of Premier League title-winning pedigree means they are getting used to being asked the questions - and they continue to deliver the answers the doubters require."

    you mean like 3 days ago ?

  • Comment number 7.

    wirral18: You said -
    A club with a proud heritage like theirs should be looking to accept the report (which is damning) and move on instead of childishly ignoring all the evidence infront of them.

    We do not have all the evidence in front of us, Liverpool does, but they are obliged not to disclose it. So its silly to say that Liverpool is "childish" for ignoring the evidence...that we dont know.

  • Comment number 8.

    answered their doubters?

    erm no, games like last night just allow certain journo's to jump back on the city bandwagon after quickly getting off after their last 2 games.

  • Comment number 9.

    Liverpool simply don't have the quality to compete with Manchester City. The best Liverpool can hope for is to match Tottenham, who have overtaken them as a football club and will continue to be ahead of them for the foreseeable future.

    Liverpool's squad has taken too much of a beating over the past few years, losing the likes of Torres, Luis Garcia and Xabi Alonso. These players have been replaced with players of lower quality such as Carrol, Maxi Rodriguez and Charlie Adam. While these may not be "bad" players, they're a step below the ones they replaced. With Carragher coming towards the end, Gerrard not scoring as frequently as he once did, it's not looking great at the moment.

    Liverpool have simply got to either sign a top world class striker, or get Andy Carrol on the same form as he was at Newcastle, which will be hard considering Liverpool play nothing like Newcastle did.

    I'm thinking about a striker who's going to be around the level Torres was, but there's nobody around that would consider joining Liverpool at the moment who fits that description. The worrying thing is, if things don't change, it will only get worse, and if it gets worse, what's to stop Liverpool sliding down the league? Even though Luis Suarez is an act of class, he won't replace Torres when it comes to pure goalscoring ability. Compare their records if you think otherwise.

    Torres - first season - 46 games 33 goals
    Suarez - overall Liverpool - 33 games 12 goals.

    2 totally different players.

  • Comment number 10.

    Complain about this comment (Comment number 4)
    Comment number 5.At 10:18 4th Jan 2012, wirral18 wrote:
    @3

    It seems Liverpool fans are inherently thick then. What makes you even remotely sure the Suarez case would be thrown out of court?? Are you a judge in your spare time??
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    1. The FA case was based on balance of probability. A court case is beyond reasonable doubt. Big difference.

    2. The Court would be highly unlikely to rule somebody guilty in a case that amounts to one person’s testimony against another’s. In all probability the judge would dismiss the case.

    3. The fact that it hasn't gone to court! Are you really naïve enough to think that criminal charges wouldn't be brought against Suarez (as they have been done against Terry)if there was any real evidence that he had done what he has been charged for?

    With regards to your comments about Liverpool fans been inherently thick. So you are making an assumption of a group of people based on one person's (mine) actions? Oh the irony!

  • Comment number 11.

    Liverpool were so poor, never had I seen them give the ball away so easily

  • Comment number 12.

    Why does everyone feel the need to comment about the racism row, which has passed? Case closed.

  • Comment number 13.

    too many overrated and overpaid english players in the liverpool team theres one reason no top 4 finish once again for them this season. Not much hope when there main striker is andy carroll for the nxt 7 games

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 16.

    I dont know why people are getting on Liverpools back, but because you dont understand a different culture like they do.

    I mean sticking your finger up at opposing fans is quite obviously a way of saying "Merry Christmas and a Happy New year" in south American football. Handballing off the line is just a way of complimenting the striker on a great shot, and biting someones ear is just a friendly way of getting attention.

    The bloke is just a misunderstood genius, its not like he has been playing in Europe for years now is it, how can you expect him to understand whats acceptable in European culture after only 12 months, duh!


    Free the Liverpool one!

  • Comment number 17.

    @5

    I could be wrong but I don't believe that one man's word against another without additional witnesses or evidence would be sufficient to prosecute someone in a court of law, whereas an independent panel in a civil hearing such as the Suarez / Evra case are able to reach a verdict without this.

    As a Liverpool fan I'd rather we just dropped this now and worried about football. As much as I agree with parts of the clubs argument it will look pretty sad if the matter is dragged out any longer, particularly when it could probably have been resolved so easily in the first instance.

  • Comment number 18.

    Am I the only one who thinks that with Andy Carroll leading the line, Liverpool look really badly one dimensional? The city defneders, and Kompany especially were happy to wait for a cross to come in, and easily clear it. Because of this, Liverpool looked very blunt. They were a bit better with Bellamy on, but even so 8 matches looks like a long time for Liverpool.

  • Comment number 19.

    The early goal was crucial last night and helped City to what appears to have been a comprehensive win when that isn't quite the case. Liverpool had chances and the game would have been very different if Downing stuck away his one on one. But he didn't.

    As for the case against Suarez it is true that the shift in the burden of proof was important and this would have helped in the case against him. Importantly and this appears to be the point that Liverpool and the fans cannot understand is that his defence wasn't that he didn't say it but that it wasn't meant as a racial slur.

    Now this was plainly not the case. Surely that isn't too hard to understand? Read the document on the FA website and focus on what this issues of the case and not the satellite issues that people who feel that they have wrongly been convicted look to. I know this as this is what I. It is what i am doing now and what I do at court every day and at the cop shop when I am not at court.

    The ban would have been increased on appeal, this is why they didn't appeal. Liverpool have handled this badly from the start and given their representation I am surprised.

  • Comment number 20.

    Liverpool have boxed clever with the Suarez suspension as 4 of the games he misses are cup games. Admittedly they probably would have liked him to play in the Carling Cup semis. I mentioned on this forum a while ago that Yaya Toure was the best box-to-box midfielder in the Prem and got little support for that view with names such as Song, Fletcher and Lampard quoted instead. Im not sure if any commenters play the game FIFA, however, there's an informal rule that if Andy Carroll scores a hat-trick against you whilst playing you must "go to your nearest store and buy something for ten times it's original value!!"

  • Comment number 21.

    Basically the FA should have banned Suarez and Evra for using insulting words against each other. At the end of the day it was politically expedient for them to prosecute one despite both changing their stories. As other posters have said it wouldn't stand in a court of law and that's why the CPS haven't got involved like they have in the John Terry incident.
    As for Man City I thought they looked tired and very reliant on Yaya Toure in midfield. Be interesting to see how they cope without him during the African cup of Nations.

  • Comment number 22.

    @Bearsridingbikes

    “215. It was accepted by both Mr Greaney and Mr McCormick in closing submissions that this is not simply a case of one person’s word against another.”

    (Mr McCormick was Suarez's representative btw)

    Hope that clears it up for you.

  • Comment number 23.

    At 12. Because when he come back after his 8 match ban, regardless of the punishment he has served, he will still be a racist. By blaming it on his culture is just like putting your head in the sand and hopes it goes away. If Evra found the word "monkey" in reference to his skin "insulting" then its plain racism regardless if the word is used in South America.

    On a different note: Ain't it great listening to all the Liverpool and Arsenal fans who think they will beat Spurs to 4th. They are so deluded - esp the Liverpool fans who think they can reach the CL. The only team (s) who are choking are them and Arsenal :-)

  • Comment number 24.

    Forgot to add. Spurs to finish 3rd

  • Comment number 25.

    @17 Bearsridingbikes

    Think it was two mens word ... Evra and Suarez himself said he used the word - talk about shooting yourself in the foot - the lad done well.

  • Comment number 26.

    Once again the Suarez/Evra case has overtaken the topic at hand!! However right or wrong the judgement made on Suarez is, it's done and that's that. Liverpool have dropped their appeal and are now looking to bring in some new faces to re-ignite the spark they, not so long ago, played with week in, week out! I'm not a Liverpool fan myself but I do hope they get the tallent they need sooner rather than later before they innevitably start to drop off the top 6 and eventually out the top 10!

  • Comment number 27.

    Nobody wins the Title in January, end of.

    Liverpool were insipid opposition,unlike Citeh's previous two games,but they were still worth a well-earned 3-0. For Citeh, the crucial players to keep fit-Kompany,Milner & Hart.

    As for Liverpool's attitude on Suarez,wonder if the FA will have the guts to charge them with bringing the game into disrepute with both their statements & the T-shirt fiasco, and they still haven't even had the common decency to apologise to Evra or Utd.

    Even the rightly much-revilled Sun at least partly apologised for its' disgusting lies about Hillsborough, so LFC need to start realising just how far into the gutter they are sinking.

    And yes, I HAVE read the entire report-the commission bent over backwards to examine every possibility that Evra was mistaken or lying and every possibility that Suarez had simply been misunderstood.

    And, if you read it, you will quite clearly see Comonoli's statement & Kuyt's saying that Suarez told THEM in Spanish & Dutch respectively he had said to Evra when asked why he kicked him "BECAUSE YOU ARE BLACK".

    That's from his side,so if it did go to court,it might just be found to be beyond reasonable doubt.

  • Comment number 28.

    @18

    Comepletely agree and I think Carroll will benefit from a different tactical approach that I suspect Dalglish felt would have been too much of a risk against the leaders. We had 3 central midfielders, none of whom are renowned for their attacking prowess, and Kuyt on the right who isn't going to be pinging crosses in.

    Ideally we will swap one of the midfielders for Gerrard and play Maxi and/or Bellamy for more attacking impetus in future. I also think there is an argument for signing a decent striker in the window.

  • Comment number 29.

    Same old nonsense with this whole Suarez/Evra issue. People read a snippet in a paper here, hear a quote from a pundit there, take opinions offered by one side as fact etc. But fundamentally misunderstand what the FA hearing was ACTUALLY considering!

    The issue with Suarez never really was "one person's word against another". What people have rather naively done is listen to exerts of Liverpool's statement regarding this decision and taken some of their comments as fact.

    The issue with Suarez Vs Evra was never really one of whether he did or didn't say what Evra accused him of, it was whether what he said was racist.

    Suarez used an expression to mock Evra. This was taken as a racist insult by Evra. Suarez admitted saying what he was accused of, but argued strenuously that it was not intended to be insulting on the grounds of race, and was, in his native language, a perfectly normal/acceptable term to use with a black person. Therefore the question the FA had to answer was one of CONTEXT... NOT one of "who was telling the truth".

    I make no comment on the FA verdict, it was clearly a debatable, complicated case and there is merit on both sides. However to summarise their decision, it was that Suarez used an expression that The FA decided was not acceptable, even if he, or the people of Uruguay disagree. This verdict did not automatically rule that Suarez was a racist or that ANYONE was a liar.

    Disagree with the decision if you wish, but don't misrepresent what actually happened.

  • Comment number 30.

    I agree with #12, rightly or wrongly, the case is closed, and that wasn't what the article is about.

    I THINK the article was supposed to be about City's resilience in the face of adversity, but I think that is being a little to kind on the blue half of Manchester......Liverpool were dire. Agreed, it is great to bounce back after a loss, and credit to City for doing so, you can only beat what is front of you, which they did convincingly. However, you have to now question whether or not Liverpool can seriously consider themselves to be one of the top clubs in England any more? Yes, they are a BIG club, but so were Blackpool once upon a time (no disrespect to Blackpool, that is my home town and I think they play much more entertaining football then Liverpool, I was merely making a point), but how much longer can they hope to be taking seriously as a 'contender'.

    Even my die hard Liverpool friends are questioning the current team, and also, as much many of the fans are pained to admit it, you have to question the decisions being made by Kenny Dalglish as manager. He is persisting with ineffective players who just aren't performing, I was genuinely baffled by the starting line up last night. Why you wouldn't start arguably Liverpool's most consistent performers when given the chance, Bellamy and Maxi, I have no clue.....and somehow Henderson and Downing last the full 90 minutes????! Can anyone explain?

    As for #9 comment "The best Liverpool can hope for is to match Tottenham" - Spurs are already streets ahead

  • Comment number 31.

    The long and short of it, is that Suarez admitted to using the language that he's been accused of. That's why the FA have taken action. Rightly so too, in my book.

    The liverpool fans have seemingly left out this little snippet of admission in order to defend their victimisation claims.

  • Comment number 32.

    3-0 flattered City. Reina's error, a goal from a corner, a penalty... these three brief moments was really all that separated them.

    City will need to play better if they're to beat Man Utd on Sunday. There were glimpses of their best, but nothing more than this.

    Liverpool lost because they were missing a cutting edge - Suarez.

  • Comment number 33.

    Liverpool team is a disgrace. Apart from the fact that they can't really threaten City defense, they are not even conservative enough not too concede 3 goals. Dalgish has a lot to do.

  • Comment number 34.

    Also, if apparently, what Suarez said isn't meant to offensive, then why say it in a heated argument? He's undoubtedly used a racial slur in order to rile Evra

  • Comment number 35.

    What City haven't had to deal with this year unlike every other team in the top 4 is injuries to key players.

    Their backbone has barely changed from one week to the next

    Company, Lescott, Toure, Silva and Aguero have barely missed more than a handful of games this season.

    Chelsea, Spurs and Arsenal have all had to deal with injuries to key positons and our injury list (United's) is the worst i have ever seen. It will be remarkable if they manage to go through the season without these injuries or suspensions coming in and when they do finally come it will be the biggest test for City to deal with.

  • Comment number 36.

    I have to say I have a huge amount of sympathy for Carroll. When your entire game is based on being strong in the air - playing in a team which doesn't actually cross the ball isn't actually going to make you look that great.

    As I understood it the signings of both Downing and Adams were supposed to be all about providing service to Carroll and yet the service from both this season has been shocking - Downing almost always plays on the right so spends the entire game coming inside and Adams' set pieces this season have been dreadful

    Even when on one of those rare occasions someone does attempt to cross the ball, they can't clear the first man who knocks it away.

    Until Liverpool get some genuine ability on the wings to give the service Carroll thrives on, Carroll isn't going to score and Liverpool are not going to win.

  • Comment number 37.

    Roberto Mancini's side faced their initial searching examination when they suffered a first league defeat of the season at Chelsea last month. The next home game against Arsenal was the theatre for a forensic examination of their character, nerve and aspirations.
    -------------------------
    Get some grip on your thoughts. Chelsea has had a indifferent home form this season. So that defeat against Chelsea is not so much of a surprise. And then Arsenal, well they are Arsenal... not given much of hope from the beginning. So again City's slender 1-0 win against Arsenal means nothing. From years of watching PL, an occasional slump of form or defeat against rival team, dropping points at difficult places like Stoke, Everton should be considered as "normal" even for club of Manchester City's stature. They have "bought" a good enough squad which is capable of winning the PL this season. It is their title to lose... so I dont think we need a reminder every week whenever City beat a top 6 team that they have "Champions" qualities and vice-versa when they lose that they are succumbing to pressure applied from cross town rivals in Manchester United.

  • Comment number 38.

    Well I few posts in and I've already read some amusing comments,
    "A rare mistake from reina" - Whilst he's a good keeper, he's very much prone to a lapse in concentration. I can think of a few just this season.
    "losing the likes of Torres, Luis Garcia and Xabi Alonso. These players have been replaced with players of lower quality such as Carrol, Maxi Rodriguez and Charlie Adam." - Can agree with torres and alonso, but is luis garcia that much better than maxi rodriguez?
    I was awaiting Phil's blog and his inevitable, city showed passion and heart of champions etc etc. What he failed to mention was how devoid of ideas Liverpool were, even when they had a man advantage! On this form, roll on Feb 11th and even man utd's make shift team will look like a team of superstars if liverpool pull out a similar abject performance.
    City played well, liverpool were awful. It will be a case of who drops the least points...

  • Comment number 39.

    I'm not a Liverpool fan, so I will openly admit to not being an avid follower of what goes on within their club, but in other's perhaps more educacted opinion; what exactly has Dalglish achieved at Liverpool since he's returned to the club?

    Liverpool dont seem to have improved at all. A few bright performances here and there but they are comfortably outweighed by the mediocre and poor.

    I'm not suggesting Dalglish doesnt have the pedigree or knowledge but do Liverpool fans (the ones not wearing 'King Kenny' shaped, rose tinted glasses) genuinely believe he's been a sucess or that he will bring glory back to the club?

  • Comment number 40.

    Man City are in pole position in all respects and I would be surprised if they didn't win the league.

    I do wonder why Liverpool bought, and paid so much for, Downing. Time and again he tore down the left but his final ball was next to useless. Seems nothing much has changed since his 'Boro days really.

    And yes, Kompany is fast becoming player of the season isn't he?

  • Comment number 41.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 42.

    p.s. As for Suarez, there are those that defend him because presumably they believe that whilst he clearly insulted Evra, he didn't go out to racially abuse him.

    People are quick to judge and throw mud partly, I suspect, because they fear being labelled with the stigma of being called a racist themselves if they don't condemn him.

    However, I think that it is not as black and white as that. (Pun intended.)

  • Comment number 43.

    Don't think there is any question that City will take the title this year, they can be quite entertaining to watch. Yaya Tource, Silva and Kompany have all had an outstanding season thus far but of course it is the overall squad strength that
    will see them through. The two Manchester teams will take the top two places with Spurs and Arsenal vieing for 3rd and 4th. Liverpool rather than accept the Suarez ban and move on seem to have gotten themselves into a terrible stew about it which is affectng them badly so they will end up somewhere in the top 6. Don't think this will go down as a memorable season tho....

  • Comment number 44.

    @40

    Unless RVP single handedly brings champions league football to Arsenal next year.

  • Comment number 45.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 46.

    To add to the previous comment we might see the title race going down to wire and so will the race for 4th place. United and City will keep exchanging the top 2 places and continue to be locked on points till they face each other. Ditto for Chelsea and Arsenal.. the 4th place will swap hands very often in next 2 months. Spurs can relax for a while.

    Stop sensationalizing with every win and writing off the chances after every loss.

  • Comment number 47.

    Will be interesting to see how the Man City squad cope after toure goes to ACN and if they get a few injuries. As a few have pointed out, city have had the benefit of fielding a settled team with very few injuries, compared to the problems that have faced arsenal and man utd.
    Also I think the suarez / evra thing has been argued to death. he's been charged (rightly or wrongly), liverpool have decided not to appeal and he will miss 8 games. Let's move on!

  • Comment number 48.

    Don't know why my post was sent to moderation, was it because I upset a poor little Man U fan who just came on here to slag LFC off and whose comments on the Suarez situation go on and on and on and on and on and on and on?

    Anyway, the Suarez saga is over as far as I'm concerned, I wish my club would just accept the decision now and move on. As far as last nights game - we had no cutting edge again, poor display. City deserved the win.

  • Comment number 49.

    44.At 11:13 4th Jan 2012, wirral18 wrote:
    @40

    Unless RVP single handedly brings champions league football to Arsenal next year.
    __________

    You mean "the treble"? ;)

  • Comment number 50.

    Race row is over Liverpool has wisely decided not to appeal against the decision But I can't understand why some Liverpool fans are backing Mr Suarez here he found guilty of racially abusing a fellow footballer who has a much better carrier club and country wise.
    As per last night game Dezko was really poor oh my God

  • Comment number 51.

    Suarez was arguing for cultural relativism in a belief (obviously a lie) that if its ok there, it just a mistake here. Well its not ok to drink and drive here because its ok somewhere else. Suarez admitted his charge so can have no argument.

    Liverpool are running the 1980s 'us vs them' argument saying they've been misunderstood and picked on etc. Barton uses the same one. time to move on.

  • Comment number 52.

    Oh, I forgot to that Liverpool were dire last year- I left the room to use the toilet at 2-0, came back and saw City had scored again while I was out, and didn't even notice that they were playing with 10 men until Sky replayed the red card at full time!
    Although it's understandable why a team might accept defeat at 3-0, nobody wants what happened to United, who couldn't accept losing with 10 men 3-1, so risked it all and conceded 3(!) in injury time.

  • Comment number 53.

    Liverpool were and are poor, they were taken apart last night and didnt offer much hope that Kenny can take them any higher than those who have tried in the last 20 years. I know players have potential but what does Henderson really offer? He reminds me of Jenas, got into a team young so everyone assumed that 'if he is that good at 19 how good will he be when he is 23', he offers no goal threat or defensive threat, £20million for that, bizarre.

    Kenny looked a bot lost in his post match interview, the strain already looks like it is beginning to show, shame but he is out of his depth. The Suarez issue has become an embarrassment for a once great club, I still believe he will look for the exit door as the abuse he will now take will be extreme.

    Man City should win the league as it is a poor standard this year, however with the money they have spent they are still relient on 3 players, Silva, Toure & Kompany. Players like Barry, Milner, Dzecko, Johnson, Kolarov etc look average at best, hardly a great side. Nasri looks a shadow of the player he was at Arsenal & Adam Johnson seems content to waste his career.

    Got to love the hype though, Jamie 'no clue' Redknapp claimed Hart to be not only the best in the Prem but also in the world!! Apparently it was all based on the fact that Casillas couldnt hack it in the Prem, he is sounding more like Andy 'Messi couldnt do it against Stoke' Gray each week. Nevermind the fact Redknapp watches only one league and couldnt name any 'keeper for most sides in Europe, what a clown.

    It was the same when Utd were linked to Neuer, he went from being a no-one to the best since Schmeical to average once they didnt get him.

  • Comment number 54.

    eduard_streltsov_ghost & wirral18

    Rightly or wrongly, I think the player of the season usually goes to a player that has won something.

    Also, I think it is always a nice change if it goes to someone other than an attacker. It's almost too easy just to give it to the top scorer, or similar.

  • Comment number 55.

    On a slightly unrelated manner, am I alone in thinking top Premiership managers should start to 'man the @!!#!*up' a bit? Even our own Roberto Mancini has joined the list of Premier league whingers, foremost amongst which are Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, for whom every defeat is an injustice attributable to incompetent officials, a conspiratorial FA, opponents' lack of fair play, you name it. With the notable exception seemingly of Harry Rednapp, I cannot recall a post match interview in which one of these guys had the decency to acknowledge that their opponents on the day were better. Our game against Sunderland is a case in point: it was not bad luck we didn't score, it was a combination of great organization and defending by our opponents combined with the inability of City's players to be sufficiently clinical in front of goal. I would hate to think Mancini was becoming another Wenger, a man for whom the word 'sour' was invented!

  • Comment number 56.

    Re the timing of Suarez's ban... the conspiracy theorists among us would suggest that maybe Liverpool were more prepared to weaken themselves for last night's match than the one at OT which he'll now play in.

    Not me of course.

  • Comment number 57.

    #53 sirHellsBells

    Man City should win the league as it is a poor standard this year
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Is it poor or is it just that the lower teams are taking points off of the bigger teams more often? That is a sign of competitiveness isn't it rather than a lack of quality?

    Conversely, is one team ripping everyone to shreds a sign of quality of a sign of a lack of competitiveness?

    Man City are playing and doing well. Likewise Spurs. Arsenal have recovered well from a poor start. Chelsea are in transition and Liverpool don't really seem to be coming or going.

    The mid table teams are the mid table teams, i.e. lacking any sort of consistency, and there are a couple of teams down the bottom that might be referred to as small clubs anyway.

    All in all, is there much change between this and any other season?

  • Comment number 58.

    53.At 11:20 4th Jan 2012, sirHellsBells wrote:
    Got to love the hype though, Jamie 'no clue' Redknapp claimed Hart to be not only the best in the Prem but also in the world!! Apparently it was all based on the fact that Casillas couldnt hack it in the Prem, he is sounding more like Andy 'Messi couldnt do it against Stoke' Gray each week. Nevermind the fact Redknapp watches only one league and couldnt name any 'keeper for most sides in Europe, what a clown.
    ________
    Lol - Redknapp's knowledge of the game is unparalleled!! Could probably and safely name 5 keepers better than hart. I think those guys are too affectionate to the prem, but like most of us, their opinions are taken with a vast pinch of salt.
    You're right that they're reliant on about 3-4 players, but you could say that about any team, even barca!
    I think it is intersting what a poor standard the league is though, the top two dumped out of europe, but shades ahead of everybody else. Competitive? yes, good standard? no

  • Comment number 59.

    Well, we lost! Agreed we played badly (Reina, Kyut, Downing, Adam etc) but lets not get started with all the mediocre British players. Comparing Torres to Suarez and Adam to Alonso only to moan about how we have degraded our team would lead us nowhere. Its just one of those days wherein the results did not reflect the standard of the game. Yes we lost the game but so did Man City a couple of days earlier so as Man U against the bottom club.
    We are creating enough chances but couldnt convert them. With Aresnal, Chelsea also vying for Europe, I am still optimistic that we can get that 4th spot. Its about getting behind the team rather than blaming the squad. We have a good squad to be capable of playing in Europe and come May, we'd be in top 4!
    We are the mighty Reds.. we are Liverpool football club!
    YNWA

  • Comment number 60.

    54.At 11:21 4th Jan 2012, MrBlueBurns wrote:
    ________
    Lol answered your question in the post #57.

    "Rightly or wrongly, I think the player of the season usually goes to a player that has won something.
    Also, I think it is always a nice change if it goes to someone other than an attacker. It's almost too easy just to give it to the top scorer, or similar."

    Scott Parker last year? Vidic?
    Who would you suggest? I'd say the best two players atm have been silva and rvp. Kompany has been good as well, and yaya, but I don't think they would be missed as much as the other two.

  • Comment number 61.

    *ahem* Anyone else think Liverpool rolled over a bit just to get back at United? Or were they simply poor?

  • Comment number 62.

    @58

    I think what the prem is missing is superstars. People tend to arte leagues on the number of big names they have.

    There was the year a couple of seasons ago when we had Ronaldo, Drogba, Torres and Fabregas all in blistering form.

    Since the departure of 2 of them, the age of one of them and the collapse in form of the other the league has no real superstars anymore.

    That is why i believe people knock the prem this season, not because the standard is worse but because we are missing the top 3-5 players in the world.

  • Comment number 63.

    Seems the Suarez issues is main point again.

    Liverpool are doing themselves no favours, all that had to be done was for Suarez to apologise that what he said was wrong and not intended to be racist. It may be acceptable in his country, but it is not in England, and Evra is not from Uruguay so it would not be acceptable to him either.
    How Dalglish and co can say Suarez is not in the wrong is beyond me, he's probably not racist and did not mean it as racial abuse, but he was still in the wrong.

    City may lose Toure to African Cup of Nations, but they will still have the rest of the mainstay of their team...Hart, Kompany, Richards, Silva, Aguero, not to mention all those players that can come into his position.
    City cannot use that as a possible excuse, when they have spent so much money to get top players for every position

  • Comment number 64.

    At the time I was incredibly uncomfortable with the 'Suarez t-shirt' saga and so it has proved a very unwise and embarrassing step. Liverpool need to put this behind them... hiding behind Suarez's naivety was poor - he's been playing in Europe since 2006 so his actions are indefensible unless he has only watched Uruguayan TV in this time! Poor, Liverpool, poor.

  • Comment number 65.

    As less than half of the comments so far are actually about this blog and the BBC have stopped 606 I thought I'd open up another stream!

    Joey Barton's sending off. I've not seen it but it does seem that a lot who have, reckon that there was at most minimal contact and that his head didn't move forward. If we accept that as the case then the referee and his assistant got it wrong. Why did they get it wrong? Because a fellow professional of Barton's cheated in an effort to get him sent off. There seems to be no mention of punishing this player for "simulation" (aka cheating) but widespread condemnation of the ref.

    We all know of players diving and play-acting but the FA, UEFA & FIFA, when given the opportunity, don't seem to do anything about it. Was it Fulham v some-one in the Europa League group stage where a Fulham player was sent off for hitting an opponent in the face, only for all the cameras to show a tap on the shoulder? What did UEFA do about that?

    Yes referees make mistakes, as do players, as do managers, as do pundits. Sometimes though it must be hard not to.

  • Comment number 66.

    Liverpool should have point deducted for the way they have behaved. How can they back a player who racially abuses another player, then says he's done nothing wrong!!!

  • Comment number 67.

    The BBC Chief Football Writer thinks Man City who have spent over £200m on players in an effort to buy the league have the ability to go on and win it.

    Groundbreaking journalism.

  • Comment number 68.

    I am wondering if i watched the same game as everyone else last night as some of the comments surprise me.

    I am a Liverpool fan and don't get on my back because of it but I was actually really disappointed with City's performance last night, should they go on to win the title. Their passing was off and they looked just as blunt upfront as our carthorse that is Caroll and the most ineffective winger in the PL, Downing. Always going backwards, can't beat a man and his delivery is awful. No wonder Caroll is struggling as the service to him is abysmal.

    Liverpool lack a cutting edge and I was very disappointed with our lack of edge but we had 19 shots and 64% possession last night against a team that is expected to win the title as they have assembled a ridiculously talented squad.

    What I think needs to be looked at is that we controlled the game, let in a soft first goal from the ever reliable Reina (guess not!), were poor for the 2nd but the 3rd was soft and we had ample opportunities, minus the finished article.

    I really think we have a lot to be optimistic about.

    As for City and everyone in the PL, I think that whoever is crowned champions will be the worst for some time.

    Personally I hope Spurs take the title. They are the most exciting to watch and I really hope they push on!

  • Comment number 69.

    Another article about the Big 4 Phil? As 67 said, Groundbreaking Journalism. You need to have a chat with Vickery, who time and time again writes something original and unearths something interesting about the young talent of South America. All you write and tweet about is United, City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool

  • Comment number 70.

    @32

    "City will need to play better if they're to beat Man Utd on Sunday. There were glimpses of their best, but nothing more than this."

    Really?!? This after you got deservedly beaten at home by the team at the bottom of the league.

    Its a shame the FA Cup game against United wasn't played before xmas. That way United could have released their "Best of Season 2011/2012" DVD in time for Chritsmas!

  • Comment number 71.

    City obviously deserved to win last night, albeit against a very poor Liverpool. The game certainly changed after Reina's comical gaffe as it meant City could sit back against Liverpool's powder puff attack and hit them on the break which is how it panned out. Honestly Liverpool fans, can you really believe 'King Kenny' has wasted £75 million on Carroll, Downing and Henderson? I know he's completely above any criticism in your eyes but just think what £75 million could get you if he hadn't spent it on donkeys.

  • Comment number 72.

    Article is written sitting on the fence, had Phil had to write it 2 days previous it would have had a hugely different tone, such is the reactionary nature of the media. Nothing was really surprising yesterday: City are very good at home, Liverpool look a bit impotent.

    Also a bit ridiculous that Liverpool got 4 days rest instead of City's 2, looking at the surprising results in general it clearly takes its toll on clubs. It's true that you have to deal with hectic fixture congestion if you want to compete with the big boys but so many games in such a short space can end up undoing 2 months' good work with a bit of bad luck. The least the FA could do is have everybody playing on the same day so there's no advantages.

    Some people could really benefit from reading the publication of the case. Despite a comprehensive 115-page report by the Independent Regulatory Commission people still don't realise that the majority of the evidence given by Evra was not contested by Suarez, he's obviously not "lying".

    I wish Dalglish could enlighten us at to what he knows makes Suarez's comments not racist despite directing it on multiple occasions and replying "because you're black", outside the 115-page report. The way in which Liverpool and their representatives have conducted themselves particularly after the judgment is nothing short of disgraceful. Needless to say it falls infinitely short of what one would expect from a club that prides themselves on their reputation and history.

  • Comment number 73.

    Is it just me or does Andy Carroll look completely unfit? His general approach play is so laboured. Granted the service he got wasn't great but he was losing out on headers to Clichy at one point. Quite possibly the worst buy in world football history.

  • Comment number 74.

    Chelsea fans are already washing their shirts in 90 degrees for the fade effect in preparation for becoming Man City fans at the end of the season.

  • Comment number 75.

    62.At 11:35 4th Jan 2012, wirral18 wrote:
    ____________

    I think there's less "foreign" or english ballon d'or nominees nowadays. But I'd still argue that there's a drop in class.....

    I mean granted chelsea & arsenal are in the CL knockout, but I would hazard a guess only one of the two will make it to quarters and then knocked out.

    I just think comparatively to other continental sides, we're a little weaker than previous years.

    Hopefully if the likes of hazard, gaitan, shaqiri, de rossi, dzagoev etc come over, it may start a renaissance....

  • Comment number 76.

    @swintondude

    How do you think City would cope against a physical team with Gareth Barry (holding mid) and Stefan Savic (4th choice CB) in the centre of defence, and Adam Johnson (winger) at fullback?

  • Comment number 77.

    #60 eduard_streltsov_ghost

    Well, there's PFA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PFA_Players'_Player_of_the_Year) and FWA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FWA_Footballer_of_the_Year) player of the year.

    The awards are mostly won by what you could call goal scorers. In fact, I think you're right about Vidic but I can't see him so the only defender to win either in years is Terry.

  • Comment number 78.

    @65

    It's not the first time a Norwich player has feigned contact to get a player sent off this season. It happened to Klasnic after he approached Tierney. Both players squared up and Tierney went down clutching his face. All the Norwich players and their bench all went straight to the ref. Not one of them was interested in the welfare of their supposedly injured players

  • Comment number 79.

    " ..And Dalglish was in no mood to accept that, outside Anfield at least, public opinion is gathering against Liverpool because of their stance on the issue as he refused to budge a single centimetre in his backing for Suarez...."
    ...............................................................................................................

    Phil- Kenny Dalglish continues to defy the first law of 'hole-digging'... when you find yourself in a hole..... stop digging! Whatever Dalglish says publically about the FA's guilty verdict on Suarez, his team's performance last night showed the truth of it, they are in a 'hole' of their own making and seem incapable of even recognising it! Sad but true!

  • Comment number 80.

    I don't see the point of comments claiming that it last night's match would have been an entirely different game had Downing put his early chance away. I could say that had Man City converted half of their chances against Sunderland, they'd have won 6-0!!!

    Had Liverpool scored first last night, City probably would have reacted by going on the rampage, which they were clearly capable of doing as they demonstrated with their second goal immediately after forcing a fine save from Reina… and despite Dzeko being on poor form.

    My point is, that it's been a funny old season so far, with all the top teams having blips – some more than others – but the table tells no lies and Manchester City has been the most consistent team so far.

    I also believe that City has a squad strong enough to survive the Toure brothers' absence, with Wigan, Spurs, Fulham, Blackburn and Bolton to play at home and Everton plus Villa away, taking us through to early March. Yaya is not indespensible and City have won even when he hasn't played particularly well.

    What was telling last night was that Manchester City beat Liverpool whilst being far from their best and I'm sure the victory, however earned, helped the team's confidence no-end. Thanks to this win, they are quite capable of hitting their early season peak again in the belief they really can edge the Premiership this season.

  • Comment number 81.

    Hey, leave off Jamie Redknapp.

    He may not be the greatest pundit, but his attempts each week to completely undermine the host of the show by asking all the questions to the other pundits makes me laugh.

  • Comment number 82.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 83.

    Some people could really benefit from reading the publication of the case. Despite a comprehensive 115-page report by the Independent Regulatory Commission people still don't realise that the majority of the evidence given by Evra was not contested by Suarez, he's obviously not "lying".

    I wish Dalglish could enlighten us at to what he knows makes Suarez's comments not racist despite directing it on multiple occasions and replying "because you're black", outside the 115-page report. The way in which Liverpool and their representatives have conducted themselves particularly after the judgment is nothing short of disgraceful. Needless to say it falls infinitely short of what one would expect from a club that prides themselves on their reputation and history.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    It does seem they are trying to defend the indefensible. If there really is more to it then what exactly does Dalglish have to lose in going public with it?

    Makes me think that there isn't anything else and the club are desperately trying to avoid an embarassing back-track over their initial cringe worthy remarks.

  • Comment number 84.

    It is trully staggering how many people have misunderstood the Suarez/ Evra situation. Even those seeking to clarify in this thread have misunderstood other aspects.

    Liverpool have possibly been distracted by this. Held at home by Blackburn and comprehensively beaten by Man City. The schadenfreude in me is quite enjoying watching them suffer under King Kenny. The fact I don't support a PL team makes me want Man City, Spurs or Liverpool to win it - a different team would be great.

  • Comment number 85.

    As I have said previously in other Blogs, Dalglish gives the impression of a man who would defend his players if they did just about anything. It is quite clear that Suarez has admitted to kicking Evra "Because you are black". Regardless of anything else he or Liverpool say on this subject, that is clearly racist. So the T-shirts, the protestations from Dalglish, the ridiculous statements issued by Saurez and Liverpool all look silly becuase of this admitted statement.

    There is clearly a new order in the PL now with Spurs and Man City 2 of the 3 title race challengers..............who would have said that 3 years ago !

  • Comment number 86.

    City fan here. Pleased with the result last night, but in terms of the PL title, we really don't know anthing yet, and we won't until April probably. For now, I hope they go on a big winning streak. Citys home fixtures will be in their favour.

    I've seen United fans on here defending Liverpools performance to imply that City didn't really merit 3-0. Whether that's the case or not, the fact that a United fan is doing that shows you just who they are most fearful of.

    Some have also made a big thing of Suarez being missing. No doubt it had an impact, he's a good player. But City were without Nasri and Balotelli through injury. No mention of that. Think Balotellis tally is a lot bigger than Suarez this season.

  • Comment number 87.

    #58 eduard_streltsov_ghost

    Lol - Redknapp's knowledge of the game is unparalleled!! Could probably and safely name 5 keepers better than hart. I think those guys are too affectionate to the prem, but like most of us, their opinions are taken with a vast pinch of salt.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    If I was getting paid the same as Redknapp for coming up with lame ass opinions, I wouldn't mind so much! :-D

  • Comment number 88.

    Liverpool and their fans are really thick people, even the noise they make at their ground screaming for everything confirms that. Trying to defend suarez has got to be plain daft, one can tell they don't have anything more to offer to this argument so they will just say we don't want to get into trouble so won't say more. I've never in my life till now heard anybody say I've been falsely accused of this crime, but because I don't want to get into more trouble, I'll serve the sentence. That's utter rubbish.

    Suarez isn't denying having said what he's accused of saying to evra. Instead he argues he said it in a conciliatory way. But to suggest you can address someone by their skin color and pinch them to diffuse a potentially explosive situation when they are threatening to punch you is utterly shocking. This guy is a disgrace, and should just crawl away quietly. If what he said is acceptable where he comes from then its fair to say not a lot of people will be queueing up to apply for visas to visit Uruguay anytime soon. I wonder what the tourism board in his home country makes of his antics. Liverpool need to draw a line and accept they were wrong, do the right thing and apologise to evra, united, and all the black people they offended, or they are not doing a good job of dragging their reputation out of the gutter where it firmly is right now.

    As for last night's match City were well deserved winners.

  • Comment number 89.

    Liverpool could have done a lot worse than signing someone like Falcao to take the chances they're creating. A player like Hulk would also fit the bill, but sadly, he's out over Liverpool's league just like a lot of big European names. How can they hope to attract these names in the future if the squad they have isn't capable of finishing in the yop 5?

  • Comment number 90.

    @85

    "As I have said previously in other Blogs, Dalglish gives the impression of a man who would defend his players if they did just about anything. It is quite clear that Suarez has admitted to kicking Evra "Because you are black". Regardless of anything else he or Liverpool say on this subject, that is clearly racist. So the T-shirts, the protestations from Dalglish, the ridiculous statements issued by Saurez and Liverpool all look silly becuase of this admitted statement."


    In South America they kick people as a sign of affection and recognition of their skill.

  • Comment number 91.

    77.At 11:48 4th Jan 2012, MrBlueBurns wrote:
    ______________

    I thought vidic did win it, but I may have imagined it! But I think ultimately it's easier to spot a good performance when somebody scores a hat trick etc rather than a solid defensive display.
    Cannavaro won the ballon d'or, but I think keepers get a bad deal with all this!

  • Comment number 92.

    @MrBlueBurns

    Ah, but are you as dishy as Jamie Redknapp? I reckon on his wage breakdown, most of it is for having a nice face rather than coherent opinions.

    Gary Neville works the other way round.

  • Comment number 93.

    HAHA! @kanchelskis_legend

    Yuo must be the only person to date to refer to Gary Neville as 'coherent'

  • Comment number 94.

    I'm not suggesting Dalglish doesnt have the pedigree or knowledge but do Liverpool fans (the ones not wearing 'King Kenny' shaped, rose tinted glasses) genuinely believe he's been a sucess or that he will bring glory back to the club?

  • Comment number 95.

    89.At 11:56 4th Jan 2012, Heskeys_wonderful_stepovers wrote:
    _______________

    But there are plenty of better players than who they have that are in their league and price range. Obviously they have some strategy of "buying british". I could name about 5 better players for each of the signings they have made that would be in the same price range....

  • Comment number 96.

    #92 kanchelskis_legend

    Meet me in All Bar One in Covent garden midday Sunday and you can judge for yourself sweetcheeks!

    Anyway, much against my better judgement, I think Neville is fast becoming Sky's best pundit.

  • Comment number 97.

    @woodsforthetrees

    Guessing you're not a Sky Sports subscriber then.

    Even the most die-hard Liverpool fans I know have been forced to admit that he's probably the best pundit Sky have on their books at the moment.

  • Comment number 98.

    87.At 11:54 4th Jan 2012, MrBlueBurns wrote:
    ____________

    It's just a stark contrast that you have jamie redknapp talking blurb and then gary neville who provides a coherent and intelligent analysis of the game with inciteful observations.

  • Comment number 99.

    91 eduard_streltsov_ghost

    Um, all of which rather reinforces the point I made originally.......

  • Comment number 100.

    Reporter: "Will there be an apology for saying 'negro'?"

    Dalglish: “I would have thought that if you pronounced the word properly, you maybe understand it better. I think it was Spanish he was speaking and I don’t think you were speaking Spanish there.

    Reporter: "OK, if a player calls someone 'negro' [Spanish pronunciation], surely the player who takes offence deserves an apology?"

    Dalglish: “If you get into asking a linguistic expert, which certainly I am not, they will tell you that the part of the country in Uruguay where he comes from, it is perfectly acceptable. His wife calls him that and I don’t think he is offended by her. We have made a statement and I think it is there for everybody to read. Luis has made a brilliant statement and we will stand by him."

    Dalglish and his sarcastic comebacks. The wee man has well and truly lost the plot.

 

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