Monday, May 5, 2008

Liverpool 1-0 Man City

Fernando Torres took his tally to 32 goals for the season as Liverpool eased to a win over Manchester City.
Torres left Richard Dunne trailing and angled in a shot to put the Reds ahead just after Martin Petrov's free-kick hit the post at the other end.
The Reds had chances to wrap up the game but Dirk Kuyt's header struck the crossbar and Ryan Babel skied a shot.
City rarely threatened but almost punished the home side only for Pepe Reina to save Benjani's late free-kick.
The visitors had gone into the match with boss Sven-Goran Eriksson expecting to be sacked after the end of the season but he was given firm backing by the club's fans at Anfield.
The away contingent regularly and passionately sung out his name and had Eriksson masks as they showed their support for the Swede in a game that struggled to get going.
There was a distinct end-of-season feel to proceedings early on and only a near post Ryan Babel header, which went over, threatened to break the deadlock.
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard saw a long range effort power just wide as he was invariably the man trying to cajole his side into a degree of urgency.
The Reds skipper again went close when he forced keeper Joe Hart into a full-length save to tip away his curling shot before Liverpool upped the pace the other side of the interval.
A sublime pass with the outside of the right foot by Gerrard released Torres on goal but he failed to get the bend needed on his shot as he opened up his body and aimed for the far corner.
City then almost caught Liverpool out with a sucker-punch after barely having had an attack worthy of the name.
Elano stepped up to take a 25-yard free-kick only to see his effort hit the outside of the post.
The Reds heeded the warning and Torres scored for the eighth league game on the trot at Anfield by bursting past Dunne and shooting through Hart's legs.
Hart was quickly forced into action again as he blocked a Kuyt volley and kept out the follow-up overhead kick from Lucas.
The chances were now flowing for the home side and Kuyt guided a header on to the crossbar before finding Hart with another header when left unmarked eight yards out.
A battling Torres set up Babel for a clear strike at goal from six yards only for the Dutchman to sky his effort as the Reds failed to put the game to bed.
At the other end, Reina blocked a powerful Benjani free-kick as City sensed an opportunity to steal a point against their dominant opponents.
But Liverpool completed the win as they finished their home league campaign with a record of 12 wins, six draws and one loss at home ahead of their final game of the season at Tottenham.
· Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez refused be elaborate on the futures of John Arne Riise and Peter Crouch after both players were left out of the squad.
"They have one more year left on their contracts so they are still our players."
He added: "Clearly we have some names and we are working to try to improve the squad."
· Manchester City manager Sven-Goran Eriksson on his future:"I've not been told anything regarding the (job) situation but at my age I don't need to be told what to do.
"I have my own conclusions and ideas. It's not good to talk before the season is finished.
"The support (from the fans) is very nice. They appreciate what they have seen this season and believe the team have a future. I think it's very, very nice."
Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Hyypia, Carragher, Insua, Mascherano, Lucas (Alonso 74), Kuyt, Gerrard (Voronin 78), Babel (Benayoun 68), Torres.Subs Not Used: Itandje, Skrtel.
Goals: Torres 58.
Man City: Hart, Corluka, Dunne, Ball, Jihai, Vassell (Garrido 81), Ireland, Johnson, Petrov (Castillo 67), Elano (Hamann 67), Mwaruwari.Subs Not Used: Isaksson, Gelson.
Att: 43,074
Ref: Mark Halsey (Lancashire).

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