Liverpool were held to their sixth home draw of the season, the day after Man United had stretched their lead at the top of the table. The current Champions are now seven points clear of Liverpool with the same games played.
Dirk Kuyt rescued a point for the hosts, cancelling out former Red Craig Bellamy’s deflected effort. Yossi Benayoun went close late-on but was denied by Shay Given.
Without Gerrard and Alonso, Liverpool lacked creativity from midfield, and the Lucas-Mascherano partnership, which was also in use in the draws with Fulham (h), Stoke (a) failed to create any spark. Sometimes it’s not realising what doesn’t work which frustrates the most and many supporters will be left angry at Rafa Benitez.
Fair enough, this result alone might not be what has, or will, ultimately ended our title hopes, but it’s the previous draws which have (Stoke x 2, Wigan, Fulham, Hull, West Ham, Everton, Man City). I previously wrote how these draws will come back to bite us and now, quite clearly, they are.
Today when we we’re at 1-1 Rafa sacrificed Mascherano for Babel – if only he’d had the same attacking intent in the draws with Hull, Fulham and West Ham. Fair enough, Babel was – again, bloody awful, but at least it was a sign of going back to early on in the season when we went for the win (Boro home comes to mind). If we’d had that same winning mentality in other games this season, today’s draw wouldn’t be so damaging.
Liverpool must now beat Middlesbrough and Sunderland in their next two league matches before they travel to Old Trafford on March 14th. Three wins from three and the title race might still be on – anything less and you can call it 18 league titles each.
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Skrtel, Dossena (Aurelio 76), Benayoun, Mascherano (Babel 83), Lucas, Riera (El Zhar 63), Torres, Kuyt
Subs Not Used: Cavalieri, Hyypia, Ngog, Spearing
Booked: El Zhar
Goals: Kuyt 78
Man City: Given, Richards, Dunne, Onuoha, Bridge, Zabaleta, De Jong, Kompany, Ireland, Bellamy, Robinho (Caicedo 88)
Subs Not Used: Hart, Garrido, Vassell, Evans, Elano, Weiss
Booked: Dunne, Kompany
Goals: Arbeloa 51 og
Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)