Hughes finally saw his expensive side produce a display of substance after an erratic season, and it did a big favour for his former employers Manchester United. United will have relished this performance by their neighbours, which could have given the crown to the Old Trafford club.
Liverpool started the game eight points behind the champions, and this one point leaves them a seemingly impossible mountain to climb with just 12 games left. City took the lead early in the second half through former Liverpool forward Craig Bellamy, which left Liverpool with an increasingly desperate fight on their hands.
Eventually Dirk Kuyt scored his ninth goal of the season to save the club’s 14-month unbeaten home league record, but as Anfield emptied at the end, the muted response of their fans said it all. Liverpool made four changes from the side that won at Portsmouth last time out. There was still no Steven Gerrard with his hamstring injury, while Lucas, back from suspension, Fernando Torres, Dirk Kuyt and Albert Riera returned to the starting line-up in place of Ryan Babel, David Ngog, Fabio Aurelio and Daniel Agger.
City made one enforced change from the side that drew 2-2 at FC Copenhagen in the UEFA Cup on Thursday, Nigel de Jong replacing the suspended Shaun Wright-Phillips. City’s defensive frailties shown in Denmark were far from evident in this Barclays Premier League clash.
Despite being under plenty of early pressure, Shay Given was rarely called into action.
Liverpool without Alonso and Gerrard look very lame indeed and posed little or no real threat to Manchester City. The Pool seem to have gone back to their old ways of fading badly in the second half of the season, this time however, they did at least last until the end of February.....
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