The second matchweek pitted the Reds against the only team ahead of them in the table last season, defending Premier League champions Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. After last week's opening win against Southampton, Liverpool look to prove themselves against a side that lost just one game at home in 2013-14. Alberto Moreno was handed his starting debut by manager Brendan Rodgers. The £12 million signing from Sevilla would start at left back.
The early minutes of the game saw a litany of back and forth play between the two teams with both attacks taking long range shots at each other's goal. Edin Dzeko (8') and Raheem Sterling (9') had the best looking efforts for Manchester City and Liverpool respectively, but there was nothing doing with either attempt. Yaya Toure registered the first shot on goal with a tame effort in the 15th minute that Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet dealt with.
Pressure mounted on Joe Hart's goal in the 16th minute. A deep, aimless ball in from Steven Gerrard fortuitously took a deflection off Fernando and Liverpool had a corner. The ball swung in from the corner flag and Hart did well to put it behind for a second corner on the other side. The second corner provided no such worry.
Joe Allen and Jordan Henderson crept up a few times from central midfield. Allen got possession in space in the 19th minute and decided to take a shot at the City goal. Man City captain Vincent Kompany threw himself in front of the effort. Steven Gerrard's free kick three minutes later would force Joe Hart into a similar role of bravery. He did so with composure punching it clear.
Lots of free kicks and corners were going Liverpool's way during the first half hour. Manchester City had been rash in their challenges in giving the Reds plenty of set pieces. The telling stat was that with for all their set pieces in good areas, City's Toure still had the only shot on goal at that juncture.
Daniel Sturridge finally provided an accurate effort for Liverpool in the 33rd minute but it was right at Joe Hart. City would heap on the pressure from then on and eight minutes later that pressure would reap rewards.
Alberto Moreno had been a good debutant for Liverpool but a gaffe in the 41st minute shifted the scoreline in Manchester City's favor. He was slow to clear a ball from the penalty area and Stevan Jovetic pounced on his lackadaisical play and nutmegged Simon Mignolet to put his side up 1-0. That would be the deficit Liverpool would face going into halftime.
The second half began with no changes made for either side. You could tell that City were in Liverpool's heads though. They were fashionably late for the restart, forcing Brendan Rodgers to voice his displeasure on the situation.
Rodgers would be screaming again in the 49th minute as Daniel Sturridge had the ball in the back of the net. The goal was ruled offside, correctly, and Liverpool's hopes at being level were dashed. It wouldn't be Sturridge's last chance but LFC just seemed discombobulated in all facets of the game.
The Reds' disorganization would kill them again as Stevan Jovetic, who had terrorized the back four since the first minute, got his second goal in the 51st minute. Alberto Moreno was victimized again by the Montenegrin striker as he fell asleep in the box again allowing Samir Nasri to find Jovetic to put it past Mignolet. 2-0 to the Champions.
Lazar Markovic made his Barclays Premier League debut subbing off Philippe Coutinho at the 62' mark. The attack perked up and Liverpool would have Sturridge one on one with Joe Hart again but once again the City keeper proved his worth. Navas would come on for David Silva in the 65th minute but it would be the next sub that would put the game out of reach for the visitors.
Edin Dzeko went down from a challenge from Martin Skrtel, including a stud mark for his troubles. As he limped off the field, Kun Aguero came on for the home side. Thirty seconds later the Argentinian had beaten Mignolet and it was 3-0, done and dusted.
Liverpool didn't go off quietly into the good night as Rickie Lambert, who came on for our Player of Matchweek One Raheem Sterling, had his first header expertly saved by Joe Hart. Unfortunately for Hart, the ricochet fell right back to Lambert to make it 3-1. Another dream come true for the 32 year old summer signing from Southampton. The new Liverpool #9 almost made it 3-2 a couple minutes later but to no avail as the ball was cleared just off the line.
Yaya Toure somehow escaped a sending off for a foul on Martin Skrtel as the bodies on the back line began to fall for Liverpool. Glen Johnson limped off putting LFC at 10 men since they were out of substitutions. Skrtel limped around after the challenge by Toure and Moreno's nightmare debut ended with a not so good looking ankle turn.
It was a rough game for Liverpool on the scoresheet, the standings, and on the pitch. They were not as bad as the scoreline suggests but City, paramountly Jovetic, made the most of their chances. Stevan Jovetic was the man of the match and the Citizens kept themselves in the top four. Liverpool tumbled to ninth with the loss.
ED: Lambert's goal was ruled a Pablo Zabaleta Own Goal.
Image Credit: Liverpool v Manchester City (justmoimeme.blogspot.com)