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Liverpool v Manchester City: Flat City gives Roberto Mancini ammunition in battle to buy players

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Phil McNulty | 08:00 UK time, Monday, 27 August 2012

At Anfield

Roberto Mancini's tongue was rattling loudly around in his cheek when he announced he wanted between 10 and 15 new players before Friday's transfer deadline - but he was happy to make his point all the same.

Mancini makes no secret of the fact he would have liked more action in the transfer market this summer and Manchester City's Premier League champions added weight to his case with a largely flat performance in the 2-2 draw at Liverpool.

The Italian manager dismissed claims he could walk away from City if he fails to get the backing he demands in the market, but his words and actions made it clear he expects a big name arrival in the next few days.

Swansea's Scott Sinclair will arrive in a £6.2m deal in short order but he is not a title game-changer and City's reliance on two crass defensive errors from an otherwise impressive Liverpool might just have played into Mancini's hands as he seeks reinforcements of the quality of Roma's Daniele de Rossi, Athletic Bilbao's Javi Martinez and Stevan Jovetic of Fiorentina.

Brendan Rodgers & Roberto Mancini

Brendan Rodgers and Roberto Mancini watch their respective teams. Photo: Getty

Of course, there may well be the sound of muffled laughter around the Premier League - and a raised eyebrow or two in the City boardroom - when a manager as lavishly supported as Mancini pleads for more. He may well, however, hold true to the old adage that while winning the title is one thing retaining it and maintaining success is another, arguably more difficult, matter.

Mancini has watched Eden Hazard add an instant extra dimension to Chelsea for £32m and Robin van Persie arrive at Manchester United in a £24m deal. He wants a piece of that action and he wants it by Friday.

City have a wonderful squad but their lacklustre showing at Liverpool, not helped by Mancini's puzzling and somewhat defensive three-man central defensive system, suggests they would benefit from another marquee arrival, with Mario Balotelli at his wasteful worst and Edin Dzeko hardly delivering fireworks when he came on.

The next few days are unlikely to totally define City's attempt to retain the title - but Mancini clearly feels they could have a significant effect on the outcome.

So Mancini made his point. And Liverpool counterpart Brendan Rodgers made his equally forcibly on a day when the unease surrounding their opening day defeat at West Bromwich Albion disappeared, at least temporarily.

The fascination with Rodgers's creditable insistence on a passing style is understandable, although we must be careful not to insult his predecessor Kenny Dalglish, who also wanted his Liverpool team to play in a similar fashion.

Rodgers did not invent the passing game or bring it as a new gift to Anfield but it is clear the philosophy runs through his veins and there were plenty of vital signs that Liverpool's players were responding to his demands, both tactically and technically.

Joe Allen showed why Rodgers was so keen to be reunited with the youngster he had at Swansea City with a performance of tempo and passing assurance that had his manager draping some fairly lavish verbal bouquets around his neck.

It is fair to say Rodgers was impressed as he said: "I think the Liverpool supporters will enjoy watching this kid play football. He is 5ft 6ins but in terms of being a footballer he is 7ft 6ins.

"He's absolutely immense. We paid £15m for him and I said that very quickly that price would double and people probably laughed at me."

Apart from a performance that saw some of the trademarks of the Rodgers template, City under pressure high up the pitch, Liverpool playing at a high tempo and with a determination to retain possession, the manager himself showed commendable courage of his convictions.

Rodgers could be forgiven for going easy on the big selection decisions so early in his time at Anfield. Not a bit of it as 17-year-old Raheem Sterling was given his debut and responded with a performance of rare promise and vibrancy, although he tired as the game went on and suffered the odd moment of naivety inevitable in one so young.

No-one who witnessed Stewart Downing's performance - or complete absence of one - at The Hawthorns could argue with Rodgers's logic. It is an accurate indicator of the £20m signing's desperate lack of impact that it appeared such a simple decision to relegate him to the bench in favour of a rookie, albeit a highly talented one.

Rodgers also preferred Sebastian Coates to Jamie Carragher with Daniel Agger suspended, a sign that a great Liverpool servant and influential figure on and off the field is now slipping further down the pecking order.

The reward for Rodgers should have been victory, only for Liverpool to carelessly cast aside their rightful prize with shoddy defending that City, while out of sorts, were still good enough to capitalise on.

Martin Skrtel topped and tailed Liverpool's performance by putting them ahead with a violent header only to then toss away the win with a dreadful late backpass, played blind, that offered up an open invitation for Carlos Tevez to score.

In between Yaya Toure took advantage of more defensive tomfoolery mainly involving goalkeeper Pepe Reina and Martin Kelly to restore parity for City before Luis Suarez's expertly taken free-kick gave Liverpool hope of the victory that was squandered by Skrtel's error.

Indeed, Skrtel's horror moment posed one of the questions yet to be answered about Rodgers' style. He dismissed it, rather poetically, as "part of the journey" and defended Skrtel by suggesting the "easy thing" would have been to smash the ball up the pitch.
Indeed it would have been. It might also have preserved the three points.

As Liverpool's supporters trooped away from Anfield cursing the failure to secure a deserved victory, they may just have wished Skrtel had done the easy thing rather than stick to his manager's principles. It is early days, however, with players and manager still getting accustomed to each other and Rodgers was steadfast in support of his player.

Despite that disappointment, Liverpool and Rodgers gave Anfield plenty to be encouraged by.

For Mancini, it would seem true encouragement will only come in the shape of some big-spending by Manchester City's owners in the next five days.


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  • Comment number 1.

    OOOH!! A new blog...what's this one about then?

  • Comment number 2.

    "Flat City gives Roberto Mancini ammunition in battle to buy players"

    Yeah because thats what Manchester City needs, more players.

  • Comment number 3.

    Liverpool got another draw at anfield thats all. No positives in a home draw even if its against Man City. Last year was a draw too so no improvement there. Plus Liverpool on scored in a set piece so i still dont see goals in them. Sterling just ran at players, everybody apart from Liverpool players have sum1 that does that. Still dont know when Liverpool will win thier first game. 1 thing i know for sure is that Liverpool always play well at Anfield no matter the opposition but if they continue drawing matches at home, its the same story like last season and i still stand by my word that Rogers would be gone by Xmas. Praise them when they win a match or when they win a decent team away from home.

  • Comment number 4.

    And Man City would still settle, they only need to buy a Defender because Rodwell is a gem, i think Yaya De jong and Rodwell is the best line up for hard away matches. And Phil Mancity's formation was not defencive at all, they had 2 strikers only 2 central midfielders with milner and kolarov at the wings and 3 defenders. Dats not defensive

  • Comment number 5.

    Carragher will follow Neville onto the pundit's circuit before long methinks...

  • Comment number 6.


  • Comment number 7.

    @No 1

    :) :)

    I hope you have your bag with toothbrush and comb in as well.

  • Comment number 8.

    Morning everyone.

    Plenty to look back at after yesterday's events at Anfield.

    Let's start with Liverpool fans. You've had your first look at Brendan Rodgers's side in Premier League action at Anfield. Are you optimistic? What did you make of Joe Allen and Fabio Borini? Will the Italian get goals in England?

    Do you agree with me that Rodgers was right to pick Sterling and how excited are you by the teenager? What are your hopes for this season?

    What sort of future do the likes of Stewart Downing and Charlie Adam have at Liverpool? Adam clearly on the way out but what did that team selection tell Downing?

    Manchester City fans - what did you make of your team's display, especially the formation?

    Mancini wants some big name signings. Do you agree, what areas would you strengthen and who would you try to bring in?

    And is Mancini right to demand more, despite being backed to such a huge extent by City's owners?

    All constructive thoughts welcome so let's have the debate here.

  • Comment number 9.

    Good game for the neutral thats for sure.

    Draw was a fair result the unfortunate back pass made amends for the somewhat
    blind ref who could not see Toure being held back by the arms leading to liver pools opener. clear fowl in the box.

    To Arsene Wenger

    I sincerely hope I am not to sit through another 0-0 borefest served up by this " new "
    team. I was prepared to give Gervinho the benefit of the doubt last season, however the more I see of him and Ramsey, all they seem to do is run about like headless chickens.

    Not impressed with Giroud either. looks to me like a Bendtner Mk 2.

  • Comment number 10.

    When you're not playing well then you need atleast luck on your side. And Man City had that in spades yesterday. Away from home, against LFC and playing poorly - yet come away with a point. ManC players and fans will be mighty relieved about that. But they'll come up against harder opposition this season who won't gift them such easy chances. Chelsea are the team to lead the charge this season and I can't wait to see them play each other. Clash of the Cash - can't wait.

  • Comment number 11.

    Nice to see progress from Liverpool.

    They gave City a tough time at Anfield - and nice to see some proper football played by both sides (for old style rubbish watch the Stoke/Arsenal game).

    Agree that Jamie Carragher may well struggle to get a game under the new regime.

  • Comment number 12.

    "All constructive thoughts welcome "

    that will rule out the majority of the liverpool contingent then.

  • Comment number 13.

    I'll go gamble all my fortunes on another borefest on sunday. Liverpool vs Arsenal would always end goaless

  • Comment number 14.

    @No.6 No need to shout, but who is Gary Cook?

  • Comment number 15.

    I thought Liverpool scored against the run of play, the reports I've read give the impression City were not in the game, that is utter nonsense. I'm not surprised we struggled though, we never do well there. It will be worrying for LFC fans that their team turns it on against the big guns but not against the Wigans & West Broms.
    The cynic in me thinks Mancini picked a side to lose yesterday.

  • Comment number 16.

    Mistakes are bound to happen though with a change of system. City have also let in 6 goals in 3 three games playing a new system.
    The loss of Lucas (couple that with the absence of Agger, Enrique on the bench) meant this was going to be a stern test and we accounted ourselves pretty well and could have won with better luck. With Agger & Enrique back for Arsenal, Skrtel switching back to RCB and Johnson to RB, I expect us to be much improved at the back.
    Sterling certainly looked good for a 17 year old making his first league start ever. Showed much more promise than Downing and I don't understand why the man u fan above is having a go at an inexperienced but talented youngster.
    Hopefully Sahin can start too next weekend. With no further injuries I'd play against Arsenal:


  • Comment number 17.

    I'm wondering when the penny will drop and people will realise that Rodgers' patient possession game with pressing high up the pitch is very similar to Benitez's 'over-cautious' tactics. What comes around goes around.

    I don't think Allen is worth £15m any more than Downing is worth £20m or Henderson £16m. I don't think he's shown much more than Henderson yet – a player who came with high expectations but who has yet to prove he can do better than play the easy ball and look tidy.

    It's wrong to single out Skrtel for blame as Kelly was equally culpable for City's first.

    I don't know how Mancini can be serious in wanting more players when he didn't start Silva and he can't get Nasri and Balotelli to deliver consistently.

  • Comment number 18.

    Mancini buys BIG names to add to his squad of BIG names & then sells the BIG names that are surplus! On the back of that flat showing yesterday, they're gonna find it tougher this year! 9 years since City have won at Anfield and they didn't deserve the point they got. Two cracking goals from Skrtel & Luis even though they were from set pieces & excellent performances from Suarez, Allen & the soon-to-be BIG NAME Raheem Sterling (Oops, BIG name, hope Mancini don't come in for him). Tevez looked bright as always but they needed TWO errors for their goals that on another day, wont be forthcoming......

  • Comment number 19.

    i can't believe any liverpool fan would say that was not an improvement on last year!!! kept the ball well, played some great football and deserved the win. after losing 3-0 last week i think most people would have said you would do well to get a point.

    dominated the midfield throughout, which is where man city were so strong last year and pressed high up the pitch throughout. it would have been easy to drop deeper letting man city have the ball but that didn't happen.

    skrtels back pass was terrible but to blame rodgers is laughable, yes he wants them to pass it out but all he had to do was turn backwards and look, realise it wasn't on then clear it, to blame Rodger's ethos is completely wrong. a 12 year old in that position would always look before passing blind back to a keeper

    Rodgers will do brilliantly at Liverpool given time, his philosophy may mean some frustrating performances but i feel that he could turn there fortunes round.

  • Comment number 20.

    Yes City definitely need more players, has Adebayor signed at Spurs yet? Liverpool played ok for once, that was the problem. Chelsea are the only side looking good so far.
    And what is it with the BBC blogs, only a couple on boring stories. Can't keep up with us eh? can admit it.

  • Comment number 21.

    And nobody is talking about how joe hart was pants, couldnt set a wall. Besides it was never a free kick, Rodwell blocked the shot with his legs then it rebounded off his hand. never a freekick in a million years.

  • Comment number 22.

    Go on Phil, get the PL to hand the 2012-13 title trophy to the Jolly Rodgers and the Reds right now... No need to play any more, no need to win, the media circus has already proclaimed the new Merseyside Messiah

  • Comment number 23.

    Long time reader - First time complainer

    Gary Cook is a BBC watever that writes the premier leaugue team of the week.

  • Comment number 24.

    Pahgy Loves Manchester @21
    And nobody is talking about how joe hart was pants, couldnt set a wall. Besides it was never a free kick, Rodwell blocked the shot with his legs then it rebounded off his hand. never a freekick in a million years
    So Joe Hart is no good now!! LMAO BIG name GK wanted, all applications to RM
    The ball did come off his leg first but he was trying to reach the sky with both arms so asked for trouble......
    As for the wall - thought it was well placed & didn't move either - it was just a QUALITY strike!!

  • Comment number 25.

    I'd have to agree with the draw being the right/fair result. Although I'm a bit gutted at once again a ref giving a hand ball that clearly shouldn't have been given. This, directly leading to Liverpool's goal. Also have to agree with the holding back of Toure for Liverpool's 1st. Still Liverpool deserved a draw. City were really not at the races today. This is the worst I have seen City play since losing to Swansea away last season. Again though we show our mettle by coming from behind twice. This shows the spirit within the team and the unity. I thought Kolo did nothing wrong and was impressed with his pace. I'd forgotten that he's actually quite quick and in a couple of 1 v 1's with Sterling came out on top speed wise. As for Liverpool, already the pattern seems to be like last season. They always raise their game against the big clubs, this is partyl due to the fact that even at home they tend to sit back and counter. However, againnst the smaller clubs where they have to go out and dictate the pace and try to force the game, they get caught. I would say that the game yesterday was good for both teams in different ways.

  • Comment number 26.


    last year the difference in this match was joe hart making many saves. This year Liverpool created nothing and scored from 2 set pieces. So definately not an improvement from last year. Or did u not watch Liverpool matches against the Top 4 plus Chelsea at Anfield last year?

  • Comment number 27.


    Encouraging in many ways. Coates and Sterlings selection showed the manager isn't afraid to make a decision. Carragher is a fading legend who isn't the player he once was. The heart and passion are there, his legs have lost a yard or 2. Downing will need to ship up or be shipped out. Adam will leave, not a BR style of player.

    The ethos will take time. There will be more defeats though hopefully not as heavy as West Brom as the players are educated. 4th would be a great result this year if the team can grasp the ethos early.

    Sterling is a great talent and hopefully we can manage to protect him as well as SAF has his young players over the years.

    I believe in BR, i believed after West Brom and i believe now. Rome was not built in a day.


  • Comment number 28.

    As a City fan I too was mightily relieved at the draw..... Phil says they were "out of sorts" and it's hard not to agree. I haven't a clue how to fix it, but in talking about buying again, I think we have to bear in mind that the goalposts have moved (if you'll forgive the pun) since last season. Chelsea worry me. If Mancini can magic up an player of impact in the next few days, I won't complain.

  • Comment number 29.


    Not saying Joe Hart is a bad keeper but he has started the season poorly and needs to be critisized. No saves of note and the only goal he didnt have a chance was the Skrtl header.

  • Comment number 30.


    4th is a dream, try 8th or 10th. Liverpool played better than this last year. Sahin is a great addition but Liverpool are already strong there. Its the goals that are the issue not the Midfield. Borini isnt a top 6 player, Allen is ok. Liverpool still wont win a game for a while. Top 4 is impossible, top 6 is unlikely. Top 8 is reasonable.

  • Comment number 31.

    as a gunner i'm disappointed about the 2 results we have had,but what can you do,we dominated both matches and failed to convert or capitalize on the possession but this has been a major issue for us since 2007 onwards so nothing new then but i think we can still finish in the top 4(I'd rather the title) Chelsea with a fully confident Torres look unstoppable with hazard causing havoc they look the team to beat with city a close 2nd.great goal from van persie he looks like the guy who is going to drag man u up the table this season.

    why are city wasting their money on a player as average as Sinclair,wasn't this guy a Chelsea reject,had a few decent games for Swansea last year,the man is neither a money,fame obsessed wannabe or has no ambition to be a good footballer and hoping to cash in on a few trophies while being rock bottom of the pecking order

  • Comment number 32.

    @23 Pahgy Loves Manchester,

    I think what Long time reader - First time complainer was trying to get at is that his name is Garth CRook not Gary Cook

  • Comment number 33.

    Pahgy Loves Manchester

    you cannot judge last season on one or two games against the top four, indeed i may be jumping the gun (as i said i think it will take time for Rodger's to get the team to where he wants it) and this may be a one off performance but i would say that there is evidence of progress. indeed i'm sure we will see how far they have come in the coming weeks as they have some tough fixtures.

    you mention the performances against the top 4, what about the results at Norwich, Fulham x2, Blackburn, Bolton, Sunderland, QPR and WBA?

    i will confess to not being able to watch all games as i work most sundays but the performance level at Liverpool last year was not good enough for a club of your size.

    maybe it is a mental problem against smaller teams?

    on another note what do you make about Rodgers' team selections so far?

  • Comment number 34.

    We learned two things yesterday. Firstly, City aren't a certainty for the league as many had been saying, and secondly, Liverpool are a lot better than people had been saying and are not a certainty to finsh outside the top 4. Looking at the general play, not the results exclusively, of City, Utd, Chelsea, Liverpool, Spurs and Arsenal, only Chelsea look at all convincing.

  • Comment number 35.

    City must take this result as a plus. Normally we get a dubious penalty awarded against us or an even more dubious sending off when playing Liverpool. At least this time it was just a ridiculous handball decision against Rodwell. As for Liverpool, keep on dreaming!

  • Comment number 36.

    At 09:31 27th Aug 2012, Pahgy Loves Manchester wrote:

    last year the difference in this match was joe hart making many saves. This year Liverpool created nothing and scored from 2 set pieces. So definately not an improvement from last year. Or did u not watch Liverpool matches against the Top 4 plus Chelsea at Anfield last year?
    On the contrary, that was typical of last season where chance after chance was created with, for the most part, no goal to show for it!
    Yesterday was more 'Quality' than 'Quantity' with Hart having no chance with either goal!
    City can argue about the ref & the awarding of the free kick but throughout the game he was very lenient towards City and gave little protection to the kid 'Raheem' whilst giving Mario the benefit of the doubt each minute he fell over. Difference was, City were wasteful with their deadball opportunities.......

  • Comment number 37.

    Thought a draw was probably fair, although I haven't seen City that bad for a while. Can't decide if that's a credit to Liverpool for making them look bad or whether City just wern't at their best. A good weekend for Chelsea fans, City, Liverpool, Spurs and Arsenal dropping points, and Newcastle looked as nonthreatening as I have seen them for a while. May have more to do with the Chelsea defence than anything, they have only conceded a wonder goal from Pogrebniak and a silly goalkeeping mistake, which you can do nothing about.

    Still think it's far too early to judge who will be up there at the end of the season, though I would certainly rather be in the lead than catching up!

    Rodgers would do well at Liverpool if he was given enough time, I just don't think he will get long enough to do it. Keeping possession is something easy to control when you have the level of quality that Liverpool have. Most teams will be happy to surrender possession against them this year, but its creating chances in a completely different way that will take time. Breaking a team down is very difficult and although Suarez could do that for them, it will take some time to get used to. Liverpool fans need patience, although to be fair it doesn't matter, if Rodgers can convince the board thigns are going better then he will keep his job.

  • Comment number 38.

    First of all let me say it was an entertaining match played at a good pace which accounted for some errors/misplaced passes.One of those passes turning out to be critical in overall scheme of things.Starting with Liverpool,kudos to Rodgers to take some bold decisions ;firstly starting with Sterling & Coates-Carragher is past his prime now for sometime.Borini doesn't look to promising but too early in a season to judge him,may be we can suspend the judgement on him until Christmas.They have got Sahin who if stays fit will be a quality addition but that leaves me wondering where will Gerrard fit in this system because I can see Lucas,Sahin & Allen in midfield.Also why is Enrique not starting?..Glen Johnson when plays as LB can't cross with his left foot,so no point him having there when Enrique is fit.But,Liv definetly need a striker who can score,yesterday also both goals were from set pieces,they can't rely on Suarez.Whether Caroll is the man to provide goals is yet to be seen,but Rodgers seems to have no confidence in him.
    Coming to Mancity,i don't know how many new players they want but one thing is pretty evident,they are too dependent on Yaya Toure in big matches,if something happens to him injury etc..then I don't think city can cope up at all.He is the lynchpin and the guy can do two roles in Midfield as DM /CAM & is very difficult to stop on his day.
    P.S.-As a ManUtd supporter the draw was the perfect result for me:):)

  • Comment number 39.

    Yeah, big name players like Yaya, Aguero, Dzeko or Balotelli is exactly what Mancini needs to sign now.

    Mancini pls just give any [or all] of these chaps a contract extension and a new shirt number then you would have had a 'big name signing' or better still, sign Messi or Ronaldo and be sure to resign if the sheikh doesn't cave in.

  • Comment number 40.

    kkkk Garth Crooks got it

  • Comment number 41.

    Thoughts on the game.

    Apart from the opening 25 minute Liverpool, on the whole, controlled the game. Loosing Lucas so early on may explain the initial problems, but the team soon re-organised.
    Allen had a really good game. Some may struggle to remember what he did. This is not strange as his job was to break up play and keep the ball moving. 46 passes 93% completion and only 10% 'safe' backwards passes.
    Although Man City had more of the possession Liverpool attempted 154 passes in the final third were as Man City attempted 124. This would maybe show that Liverpool wer the most threatening. Liverpool had more shots. 12 compared to 8 and each had 3 on target. Considering that Liverpool players had assists for the two goals it could be argued that Man City only created one shot on target themselves.

    Considering this was the youngest side Liverpool had played for some nine years and had a 17 year old in the side. These are not bad stats.

    There are the arguments over the free kicks. This doesn't take away from the fact that a team still has to defend them. The same argument couldmp be levelled at those fouls that were not awarded free kicks. How many chances were taken away because of refereeing decisions. The decisions were made the chance created they were not defended. Live with it.

    City had a poor game. Was this of their own making or did the tactics of the opposition make them less effective. Yaya Toure said after the game it was the toughest game he had played in in this country. Does this not go some way towards explaining things.

    It is very early in the season. One defeat does not make the tactics wrong. One good game does not make them wholly right. The game on Sunday showed early buds of promise. We need the whole season to see if Rodgers is taking the team forward. From what the owners have said he will be given it.

    By the way Pahgy Loves Manchester I think you protest too much and that, maybe, betrays more than what you actually say.

  • Comment number 42.

    Thanks for a fairly well balanced summary. As a Utd fan you are probably best placed to call a Liverepool City game. Maybe I'll have a go at the next Utd Everton game for you. :-)

  • Comment number 43.

    Phil you get a lot of stick for your blogs. This lazy, sensationalist post does nothing to indicate you deserve better. That you appeal for 'constructive' comments is thoroughly disingenuous.

  • Comment number 44.

    The BBC should change it's name to MML.

    As Manchester and Liverpool are the only teams they *ever* talk about.

  • Comment number 45.

    Rolf McHarris

    You are correct. No blog on Swansea or Eveton, but a blog on Liverpool even though the 2 teams are likely to finish 1 place below and 2 places above Liverpool respectively.

  • Comment number 46.

    Sorry phil but you have completly ignored what a poor game this was. While I admire any side who have the character and tenacity to come from behind twice I was really shocked by how bad city were. Mancini desperately tried to deflect attention from this afterwards, instead concentrating on moaning about the free kick award that led to the liverpool goal as well as, bissarely, a penalty incident from last season!

    Liverpool were also poor but this was less of a shock. Their opener came after 25 minutes of football during which the liklihood of a goal from either side seemed remote! Their second, while excellently taken by the otherwise out of sorts Suarez, was as result of a staggering error from Hart when placing his wall. Both goals from set pieces - hardly the sign of a footballing revolution. Indeed they created very little from open play.

  • Comment number 47.

    @Roger_Horrobin...yes looking forward to your review on Utd vs Everton next game... results of last 2 games between were not as per liking:)..
    btw what are your thoughts regarding Adam,Downing?..
    Where do you see Gerrard fit in this 4-3-4 system because I can see Lucas,Sahin & Allen in midfield?..and what about Carroll..does he have a future at your club?..

  • Comment number 48.

    If mancini is not satisfied with a squad of 22 world class players then may be he should be considering his position. If he doesn't think he can win big things with that group of players, then that calls into question his abilities as a manager - technically, tactically, and as a man motivator. It is completely absurd that he believes he needs more players, when he has that embarrassment of riches at his disposal.

  • Comment number 49.

    sorry I meant 4-3-3...

  • Comment number 50.

    Phil -As you say, it may seem laughable that Mancini wants more, but surely thats what the 'Mansoor project' is all about? City, with the backing of the Shiekh's wealth, have come from nowhere to win silverware, first the FA Cup, then the PL and now presumably their backers want them to go on winning at CL level etc.

    Last year City won the PL by a 'whisker' from a Man United squad, supposedly the weakest SAF has ever managed, but that has now been strengthed and also Chelsea have added to their squad, so Mancini's right, nows the time for the Shiekh to continue "putting his money......etc" It is true that City will need to 'off load' some of the playing staff acquired previously; however for the most part these were not players brought in by Mancini and as the Italian has pointed out, he identifies the players he wants and some one else goes out and buys them, similarly if he identifies the ones he doesn't want, someone else needs to get rid!

    I am not a City fan , but have to admit Mancini is right, the strategy City have pursued involves out spending everyone else to get the best players to the Club, in order to keep winning. Perhaps the political changes taking place in the middle east are causing the Shiekh to think again about where he puts his spare cash?

  • Comment number 51.

    Another blog on Liverpool. I mean, really? I'm all for blogs on the mid table teams but the only mid table team ever getting blogs is Liverpool. If we're going to write blogs on former glory teams, why not one on Nottingham Forest?

  • Comment number 52.

    Progress from Liverpool & the future looks reasonably good for a manager willing to take chances on youth. Kelly, Coates, Shelvey, Allen & Sterling are all under 23 years of age & with Suso, Andre Wisdom, Steven Sama, Jack Robinson, Jon Flanagan, Daniel Pacheco, Conor Coady & Adam Morgan to come, I think we can have a very exciting season. Jamie Carragher's days as a player are numbered but I'm sure Brendan will offer him a coaching role at the club - future manager in the making. Adam, Spearing & Downing should be on their way out soon - either sold or loaned, but definately out. The game against Arsenal next Sunday will provide a better pointer as to how well we'll perform this season but it certainly isn't doom & gloom at the moment

  • Comment number 53.

    Thought city looked well under par yesterday and will be chuffed with the draw. Liverpool at times looked very classy- but did invite man c into the game once they were 1-nil up which is fatal. LFC still lack that quality striker - one that can take chances and above all finish. Can see why mancini wants new blood- Man U and Chlesea have got closer to them with their big signings. Interesting times ahead.

  • Comment number 54.

    @51 - hardly a mid table team, when will people realise Liverpool at still a big club

  • Comment number 55.

    It's hard to take this Paghy seriously when he can't even get Garth Crooks name even close and his comments are laughable at best. My guess is that he doesn't live in this country and has never been to an English football game.

  • Comment number 56.

    @54 - hahahaha, funny man, hahahaha. Wait, are you serious?

  • Comment number 57.

    51. At 10:50 27th Aug 2012, James

    I think you'll find Liverpool were playing the current league champions, hence maybe the reason for the blog.

    46. At 10:42 27th Aug 2012, DUBLINVIEW wrote:

    I think you are being a bit over critical. I know you would have preferred to see the board keep faith with Dalglish but Rodgers deserves a fair crack now that he is in place.

  • Comment number 58.

    Very encouraging for Liverpool so early in the season - the way they played is very promising and I've every confidence they will make top three.

  • Comment number 59.

    Liverpool: A great display, yet not much different than the game against united last year and not much if any improvement. The test will be whether they can produce that passion week in week out, and not just against the so called big boys.

    City: a good point for them considering they didn't play well. But buy more big names? It'll cost them in financially in the short term and longer term in with of FFP. They'll be up there, it's more likely that Mancini under estimated Liverpool.

  • Comment number 60.

    If Liverpool improve as much before their next game as they have since their first, they'll be unstoppable! Seriously though, both sides seemed to lack any ideas about how they were going to score. Two set-pieces and two errors tells its own story. Liverpool were better, starting from a very low base; City were below average.

    And about the blog, I would say that what's happening at Swansea and Everton is much more interesting and certainly more entertaining. Everton look a top six side this season. Swansea, Reading and Fulham will all cause problems for last season's top six sides.

    Chelsea look tremendous when you think about the short time Hazard has been there.

  • Comment number 61.


    Best comment today

  • Comment number 62.

    Oh and BTW Phil, any chance of a blog about Swansea, West Ham, Stoke, Reading, Saints or anyone else apart from LFC, City or Utd

  • Comment number 63.

    Didn't Chelsea win their first 6 or 7 games a couple of years ago 6-0 before completely imploding? City got the same result as they did last year at Anfield. That without first choice players like Silva, Aguero, Lescott, Barry etc and a dodgey formation.

    Remember: ye who make predictions based on 2 games are liable to look foolish.

  • Comment number 64.

    Man City need more players? What they need is a decent manager.

  • Comment number 65.

    Oh and P.S. the BBC really needs to stop with the bias towards Liverpool and get some IMPARTIAL pundits to look at matches with a proper eye.

  • Comment number 66.

    @56 - one bad season makes LFC mid table, get a life. LFC are still a big club due to history, recent trophy win, huge global following and world class players.

  • Comment number 67.

    A cracking match for the neutral to watch with some excellent goals. In many respects Man City were lucky to come away from the game with a point. The second City goal was obviously the result of an absolute howler from Skrtel but generally he looks very solid in defence.

    I like the way Allen plays. I guess it could be best described as neat and effective but it's amazing how many players are unable to do the simple things well. Whether he is worth £15m is a moot point but he is clearly miles better than Adam, Henderson or Spearing.

    Sterling looks promising with pace to worry defenders but the same thing could have been said of Walcott a few years ago. Too soon to judge in my opinion.

  • Comment number 68.

    Phil - I think Liverpool fans have something to look forward to with Allen and Sterling; IMO the latter in particular has the potential to become a real 'game-changer', which is something thats been missing from the Liverpool line up, since Steven Gerrard burst on to the scene.

    However the time required for Brendan Rogers to make the changes required 'stick' and then to make them productive in terms of achieving PL success, seems nigh impossible. Even if the Clubs owners and perhaps more importantly the fans, are prepared to give him the time needed, the relentless increase in the competitiveness of the PL will not allow him time. Even SAF admits that if he were to be entering PL management at this time he would not get the time was given at United. Brendan Rogers will have to pull off some of the best transfer deals ever and have something of a minor miracle in training methods, if he is to survive as Liverpool Manager. The fact is though that without the availability of resources, of say City /Chelsea etc, he's is probably the best bet Liverpool have of staying in the top six, let alone top four!

  • Comment number 69.

    @66 - Nottingham Forest have history, are they a big club? World class players, who? I cry when I see the Chelsea reject Borini miss every opportunity to score. Oh no, don't unleash Hendersen

  • Comment number 70.

    @69 - Forest don't have a huge global following do they, Forest haven't been at the top for some years now. Suarez, Agger & Gerrard to name a few. If Liverpool put any of these up for sale, every big club would be submitting bids

  • Comment number 71.

    At 11:13 27th Aug 2012, dogeared wrote:

    Very encouraging for Liverpool so early in the season - the way they played is very promising and I've every confidence they will make top three.

    That is extremely optimistic. Finishing 6th would be an achievement in my opinion.

  • Comment number 72.

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

  • Comment number 73.

    @70 - yet the champions City were interested in Agger, your comments are laughable. Read the FA report about Suarez. Gerrard captain of England, Lamps got to play with the kids the other week...go figure!

  • Comment number 74.

    @73 - The same city that are replacing Adam Johnson with Scott Sinclair? Seems they'll buy anyone. Being captain of England means nothing these days, Rio Ferdinand was captain of England not so long ago, and let's be honest, he can barely write.

  • Comment number 75.

    @72 even

  • Comment number 76.

    @74 - probably because Johnson didn't want to fight for his place. Most of lampards goals are pens or deflections. I see you haven't read the FA report!

  • Comment number 77.

    To answer your points, Phil, I think Raheem Sterling has more promise than any English youth I've seen since Gascoigne. He can be as good as he wants to be. He's only 17 and just got his full league debut against Man C, which shows the manager trusts him too.

    Adam and Downing are as good as gone. In both cases Liverpool have signed players to cover their positions, people like Sahin and Assaidi. It's just a question of finding someone who'll pay for them, easier to do for Adam I think.

    I'm hopeful for Liverpool. We haven't been a well run club for 20 years at boardroom level, but FSG seem to have their heads on right. We have a good manager, and a LOT of promising youngsters - not only Sterling, but also Suso, Morgan, Wisdom and one or two others. And that's on top of having a starting 11 on Sunday with an average age of under 24. The future, finally, looks bright.

  • Comment number 78.

    It's certainly been an interesting start to the season.

    Each of the three teams that could challenge for the title look to have some issues or areas of weakness.

    Chelsea - Seem to have spent wisely this summer (altough i'm not sure about Moses - I think he will be warming the bench a lot this year) to challenge for the title. I'm not sure if they have enough strength in depth up front though, especially if Torres gets injured or has a bad run of form.

    Man City - Too many average players in the squad and buying Sinclair is not going to alter that balance. They will be reliant on Aguero, Toure, Silva and although it seems strange after last season Tevez. The ironic thing about Tevez is when he is on the pitch he is a proper team player, it just seems off the pitch that his ego becomes huge.

    Man Utd - Will score lots of goals this season. The big question mark for me is the defence. I think they have too many mediocre or injury prone defenders which could be costly in the big matches this season.

  • Comment number 79.

    Liverpool took apart a side that has spent an abominable amount of money to get to the top.

    Shame about the two cock-ups but only the fiercest anti-LFC could knock the performance.

    No doubt they will though. In spades.

  • Comment number 80.

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

  • Comment number 81.


    I don't think so.

    Liverpool have strengthened and already showing signs of being a very powerful force this season.

    Spurs and Arsenal have both weakened, and to be honest Arsenal seem like a club that has completely lost it's way.

    Chelsea and City will battle it out for the title, and United look a bit vulnerable.

  • Comment number 82.


    Grow up, you pathetic little 'man'.

  • Comment number 83.

    pahgy - what a muppet.

    At least get the mans name right if your going to abuse him - it's Garth Crooks!

    Any true football fan would know this.

  • Comment number 84.

    @80 - Liverpool fan?

  • Comment number 85.



  • Comment number 86.

    Chelsea need another striker, they're looking at Cavani apparently. Not a blues fan, but if Torres gets his mojo back, then good luck to everyone else. Hazard is an assist machine.

  • Comment number 87.

    @85 - I see, you need to resort to personal jibes when I was merely debating how average Liverpool are these days. To be honest it's ridiculous you need to call someone 'bent' as if being 'bent' is some kind of massive problem. 21st century fella. Grow up.

  • Comment number 88.

    80 - so you didn't read the report yet you comment on something you know nothing about, now you just look silly.
    I'm guessing your defender of Lampard means your a Chelsea fan, I'm not surprised your making yourself look stupid with your Suarez comments.

  • Comment number 89.

    @88 - he was banned for 8 games for racist comments? my comments are justified

  • Comment number 90.


    So what is the point of TV cameras if you have to be in the stadium or live in england before commenting? Didnt know we still had people that aint Civilized in the UK.

  • Comment number 91.

    "The Italian manager dismissed claims he could walk away from City if he fails to get the backing he demands in the market, but his words and actions made it clear he expects a big name arrival in the next few days"

    What were his words and actions? You managed to quote Rodgers but not even back up your statement on Mancini with a quote from him specifically one syaing " I want more players".

    This site gets worse and worse with shoddy journalism. It's fair to say everything you said about Mancini was made up to create a story.

  • Comment number 92.

    #68 georgiesthebest7

    "Even SAF admits that if he were to be entering PL management at this time he would not get the time was given at United."

    SAF meant that 'these days' he would not get he time, because of the competitiveness of the PL.......... not because it was at United.

    I agree, that the ever increasing competitiveness of the PL it is the biggest problem facing all the new managers; Rogers; AVB; Lambert, etc who are at clubs who do not have unlimited finance.

    Maybe the new 'fair play' rules will make a difference, but if Man City can get away with selling the naming rights to a stadium they don't even own, and can call this legitimate business income, then I don't hold out much hope... do you?

    The PL is and always was set up to be a 'money-making/cash cow' business and even UEFA are not daft enough to kill the golden -goose, so new managers like Rogers will have to achieve success in double-quick time, or face the long walk........!

  • Comment number 93.


    7th, 6th,8th
    Thats 3 bad seasons not one bad season

  • Comment number 94.

    @89 - yep by an FA witch hunt, yet Rio condones and repeats a racist remark gets a small fine. Not justified at all.

  • Comment number 95.

    @93 - try going to a game someday! Like I said anyone who can't get a name right when it's on the BBC site really can't make a comment without it being laughed at.

  • Comment number 96.

    @81 dogeared

    I would agree with everything you have said in that post apart from Liverpool "showing signs of being a very powerful force this season".

    Having said that it wont change my opinion that Liverpool would do well to finish 6th this season.

    Arsenal are already missing Van Persie and his goals. However, they were still finishing 3rd or 4th when he wasn't firing them in and Wenger seems to focus solely on finishing in the top 4 so it would not be a surprise if they finished 4th this season.

    Spurs are definitely weaker and with AVB at the helm I can't see them finishing anywhere near 4th this season.

    Everton have started really well and usually finish the season strongly so they could be in the mix for 4th or 5th too.

  • Comment number 97.

    Agree with the comments that Liverpool still need a 'goalscorer' & personally, i'd love to see Dempsey come in. It is muted that Newcastle are lining up another bid in the region of £17m for Carroll who, along with Spearing & Adam won't be at the club this time next week IMO. If that happens, that should leave us with £25m [Carroll 17m, Adam £5m, Spearing 3m] to go get Dempsey & Sturridge who is unhappy at Chelsea & by the looks of things, will get even less game time this year!!
    With Assaidi & Sahin yet to kick a ball & Allen already doing his 'thang' & the aforementioned strikers on board i think top 5 is realistic.......

  • Comment number 98.

    @96 - how can you say Everton have started well after 2 easy games?

  • Comment number 99.

    Why do people always complain about there not being a blog about other teams? I remember when 606 was up and running and anyone could start a blog on their respective clubs current progress/predicament and there were hardly any blogs on the clubs outside of the then top 4. Then, as in now, the blogs that get the most hits are the ones on Arsenal, City & Utd, with the Liverpool blogs scoring more hits, if for no other reason than for other teams fans to badger them, than a blog with the rest of the Premiership teams unless a comedy unfolds a la Newcastle a couple of seasons ago.
    This doesn't mean that there are any less interesting stories unfolding at other clubs, it's just that they would get less reaction and more often than not end up forking into debates on the top 3 as these subjects pique the general interest more due to there being more fans of these clubs especially worldwide to which this site is obviously available.
    For this reason, there's always going to be more blogs on Utd, City, Arsenal & Liverpool due to the size of the following and the general amount of reaction these blogs/debates trigger. It may not be fair, but that's life I'm afraid.

    To LFC: I think Rodges is doing a Fergie when he came to Utd in that he seems to have an idea what he wants and has a long-term vision and is not afraid to bruise a few egos of "legends" along the way. The fact is that Liverpool need to replace Carragher and also Gerrard soon enough and he's bringing in players that adhere to his long-term plan of which these players won't be as they're simply getting too old. Liverpool fans will have to be patient and I hope he doesn't succeed as I'm enjoying looking at the beached whale that is Liverpool at the moment, but if he is given the time he may just turn them around.
    Meanwhile, let the badgering continue...!

  • Comment number 100.

    City dont have the strength in depth to compete with united and were very lucy last year with injuries. but to buy more players they need to sell. simples


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