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By Sam Lyon
2225: Right then, time for me to bid you all adieu. Thanks for your company tonight, cracking work all round. I'll be back with you all on Wednesday for Tottenham's crunch Champions League play-off second-leg tie against Swiss side Young Boys and a few Carling Cup ties, so why don't you join me all then? Lovely.
Glen, Yorkshire, via text: "Two of the most difficult games of the season out of the way for Liverpool. The only way is up."
TheLeighRoy on Twitter:
"All these top four predictions are forgetting that Spurs looked more than comfortable against this same Man City..."
2218: Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson on Javier Mascherano: "His head is being turned by Barcelona, who are making overtures to him but they can't agree a fee with the club. There is speculation about his future and at the moment his mind is not right. Until an offer matches our valuation he will stay with us."
THEJohnHarrison on Twitter:
"The £30m Liverpool got for Xabi Alonso is suddenly starting to seem like a very small amount of money indeed."
2210: Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini: "It's the first time the Sheikh has been here and he witnessed a fantastic night for Manchester City. I was pleased to show him a good game, that was important. The mentality was the most important thing for us, not the formation or anything else, the mentality can win us games. Yes, it is very difficult to pick XI for every match, but this is a good situation because we will be playing every three days and every one of my players will play their part during the season, that is for sure."
Luke via text: "RE: Anon - You just called the EPL the most unpredictable league in the world, I think it is you young fellow that needs your head testing. The bottom four never, the top four, likely."
In_Arshavin_we_trust on 606:
"I think it's pretty obvious City will be top four this year. They drew far too many games last year and with the firepower they've recently added, it's likely those draws will be converted into wins."
2202: Man City midfielder James Milner: "I just wanted to get out there and get on with the job in hand. It was going to be tough against Liverpool and to score three goals is good. It's pleasing to keep a clean sheet as well. There's great competition for places here and, hopefully, we can build on that."
Anon via text: "This is absolutely ridiculous!!! You cannot say what the PL table is gonna look like after just 2 GAMES!! The EPL is the most unpredictable league in the world, yet you still think that you know what the league is gonna look like in nine months time after just two weeks... you need to get your head checked mate."
2159: Talking of Javier Mascherano - I wonder if
he has played his last game for Liverpool
as is being reported. He was certainly missed by the Reds today - although Christian Poulsen, a potential ready-made replacement, was absent too. As for City - what looked a defensive arrangement from the off clicked into gear quite nicely today, and in Adam Johnson, James Milner and Joe Hart the future looks bright not just for the Blues but for England too.
TeeManX on Twitter:
"I don't think Javier was the only one disinterested in playing for the Reds today - I've never seen so many lifeless blokes."
PanasonicVieira on 606:
"A bad day at the office for Liverpool. Hodgson need some time to find the right formula for his team. Early days. Too soon to write off Liverpool and too soon to hail Man City as top four material."
Paul, Baggies fan, via text: "RE: Subterranean - looks like the bottom four are in place too! (Hehe)"
2152: FULL-TIME MAN CITY 3-0 LIVERPOOL: A clinical performance from the hosts and one that,
tell us, sees Manchester City earn their best league result against Liverpool for 73 years.
90 mins: We'll have two minutes of added time.
88 mins: A brief flurry forward from a clearly demoralised Liverpool side, but Dirk Kuyt's header from Steven Gerrard's long pass is easily held by Joe Hart in the City goal. How crucial was Hart's double save before City's third earlier by the way? He's going to be England's number one for a long time on this evidence.
86 mins: Liverpool, meanwhile, bring Dani Pacheco on for Milan Jovanovic.
85 mins: It's not Emmanuel Adebayor as it happens - it is Jo and Pablo Zabaleta coming on for the hosts in place of Yaya Toure and two-goal hero Carlos Tevez. Warm reception from the Eastlands faithful for the lot of them.
83 mins: Manchester City, more than comfortable now, are preparing to bring Emmanuel Adebayor on. Liverpool's sting looks every inch drawn here.
80 mins: Here's another golden nugget from
for you - it is exactly two years and five months since Liverpool last lost a Premier League match by a three-goal margin. That was also in Manchester, 3-0 at Old Trafford on March 23, 2008. The Reds' record Premier League defeat is by a four-goal margin which has happened three times, the last of which came more than seven years ago, also in Manchester (4-0 v United in April 2003).
78 mins: Fernando Torres, still not looking himself after a groin injury, is replaced by Ryan Babel.
77 mins: He's enjoying himself on his City debut, too, James Milner - and moments after some wing wizardry on the left earns the hosts a corner, he repeats the trick on the right to earn a free-kick in a dangerous area. Fortunately for the visitors, though, Adam Johnson's goalbound shot is blocked by his own player in Carlos Tevez.
75 mins: It is lashing it down at Eastlands, now - not that it's having any effect on Adam Johnson, though, as the winger continues to torment Liverpool's makeshift left-back Daniel Agger. What a snip Johnson is looking at £7m by the way, huh? Oh - and England coach Fabio Capello's right-hand man Franco Baldini is here, by the way.
73 mins: That's the first real glimpse of the Fernando Torres of old, there, as the Spaniard spins Micah Richards in the box and lashes a left-foot shot across goal - it flies narrowly past Joe Hart's far post, though.
Man City goal: You have to say that Manchester City are worth it, too. The excellent Adam Johnson is scythed down in the box by Martin Skrtel - it looks a definite penalty - and Carlos Tevez steps and makes no mistake from the spot. All over?
67 mins: GOALFLASH Man City 3-0 Liverpool (Tevez pen)
67 mins: PENALTY TO MAN CITY
66 mins: Glen Johnson gets down Liverpool's right well and lays it back perfectly for Dirk Kuyt to cross - but the Dutchman's centre is poor.
63 mins: Liverpool hinting at a bit of fight about them now - but Man City's Italian boss Roberto Mancini has built his reputation, and a Championship-winning Inter Milan side, on his ability to coach defensive strength, lest we forget. City holding firm as it stands.
58 mins: Liverpool have stepped on the gas in the last couple of minutes - and City defender Micah Richards goes into the book for a foul on Fernando Torres.
57 mins: Unbelievable. Steven Gerrard goes the closest Liverpool have come to a goal when he smashes a 20-yarder against the post - and then Joe Hart produces a stunning double stop from David Ngog and then Fernando Torres to keep the ball out in the ensuing melee. Brilliant goalkeeping.
55 mins: Now then - we have been here before in this fixture - two years ago Liverpool fought back from 2-0 to win 3-2 here. They haven't looked especially capable of doing likewise yet tonight, but maybe this isn't game over.
Man City goal: James Milner swings over the corner, Micah Richards rises highest and heads goalwards and there is Carlos Tevez a yard out to get the slightest of nicks on it to steer it in. Mountain to climb for Liverpool.
52 mins: GOALFLASH Man City 2-0 Liverpool (Tevez)
51 mins: Carlos Tevez and then Adam Johnson both line up a shot from the right, and the latter's is deflected behind for a corner. Tonight's attendance: 47,087.
50 mins: Liverpool now enjoying a good spell of possession, Joe Hart doing well to come out and claim Daniel Agger's low cross. Among our audience members this evening, by the way, we have Sir Alex Ferguson and Plymouth boss Peter Reid. Which is nice.
sparrowredhouse on Twitter:
"No more Sheikh gags? Way to turn things Man-sour." Haha! Sorry, I couldn't resist that one... but that's the last. Honest.
47 mins: Manchester City immediately on to the front foot again and - quel surprise - it's down Liverpool's left.
2105: We're back up and running at Eastlands.
Fluorescent_Imp on 606:
"RE: 2059 - If Barcelona really offered Hleb + that amount of money for Mascherano, Liverpool are out of their minds to turn that down. Hleb was one of the most underrated players in the Premiership when he was at Arsenal."
2104: Here come the players - no changes at half-time, we understand.
2102: Also, I'm getting literally hundreds of 'Sheikh' gags off you lot on text and
- I'm laughing my knickers off here - but I'm going to end 'em now so save them for next time, maybe? Top work.
2059: Now then, a bit more emerging about Javier Mascherano's non-selection this evening. Sky Sports News reported earlier that Barcelona had made a £12m bid for the Argentine midfielder, but the
Daily Telegraph's football correspondent Jason Burt
has just tweeted: "Barcelona offered 23m euros plus Alexander Hleb for Mascherano, but Liverpool have rejected it. They want 30m euros in cash, Barcelona will make a new offer..." Could run for a while, this.
redpenrod on 606:
"City should be filling their boots against a very poor Liverpool side, but now they seem to be running out of ideas up front - I can see Liverpool nicking a draw."
Andy, Reigate via text: "Who's the half-time entertainment... Sheikhira maybe?"
red_tumbler on 606:
"Not what I was expecting from this City formation... they looked quite good going forward..."
2048: HALF-TIME MAN CITY 1-0 LIVERPOOL: Chief football writer Phil McNulty's
one-line HT report: "Manchester City can feel very satisfied with their deserved interval lead after showing almost all of the invention at Eastlands against a subdued Liverpool."
45+1 mins: Great back-tracking from James Milner as the City new-boy keeps pace with the onrushing Glen Johnson before getting his foot around the ball to clear.
45 mins: We'll have one additional minute.
44 mins: Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson is up and by the touchline again as Steven Gerrard pings a shot high, wide and not very handsome at the City goal. Moments later, a more encouraging move ends with Fernando Torres laying it to Gerrard again 20 yards out - but it flies wide. Better from the visitors, though, better.
Chief football writer Phil McNulty
reports: "Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has cut an impassive figure throughout this first half as his side have struggled to make an impact, but he has just betrayed some of his frustration by racing into his technical area in fury after David Ngog wastes possession."
42 mins: We'll have a minute or two's break here as Yaya Toure receives treatment after colliding with Martin Skrtel. He'll be fine, I'm sure.
40 mins: It's down that right-hand side that City are threatening time and again and had he not wanted so much time on the ball in the box, Carlos Tevez might have had a free shot on goal there. In the end he earns a corner with a deflected snap-shot, but Micah Richards heads the resulting set piece well wide.
39 mins: A promising Liverpool move again comes to nothing and City burst once more - Adam Johnson lashing a fine left-foot shot at goal that Pepe Reina tips around his post on the stretch. No corner is given, but the Spaniard definitely got a touch on that. Good save.
JonHart3 on Twitter:
"It'll be interesting to see who the movers and Sheikhers are in this City squad during the beginning part of the season."
Josh, Bristol via text: "Liverpool looking Sheikhen but not yet stirred."
34 mins: He's been quiet so far but that's better from David Ngog, cutting inside from the right and firing goalwards left-footed - Joe Hart gets down well to save at his near post, though.
33 mins: There is some good news for Liverpool fans, though, from our friends at
- Manchester City are yet to win a Premier League match in which Gareth Barry has scored, apparently. And Villa also failed to win the the last time he scored for them too (3-3 v Everton on 12 Apr 09).
31 mins: City dominating proceedings here, and Daniel Agger is forced to head Joleon Lescott's centre behind with Yaya Toure looming large. Pepe Reina comes out to clean up from the resulting set piece, but the hosts effervescent right now. For their part, Liverpool just struggling to pick the locks of a solid home defence at present.
27 mins: A spot of welcome possession for Liverpool in the City half but, again, the home defence holds firm and Dirk Kuyt heads behind to end some promising build-up play.
24 mins: Liverpool, who were more than holding their own in this tie until the goal, look like they could do with a bit of a breather now. Man City certainly have their tails up.
21 mins: Gareth Barry has got a taste of this goalscoring get-up now, and the City midfielder tries his luck with a left-footer from 20 yards out - it flies harmlessly wide, though.
Chief football writer Phil McNulty
reports: "Yaya Toure and James Milner make their mark as Manchester City take the lead. The giant Toure cuts an unlikely figure in an advanced midfield role, but some fancy footwork and the involvement of Adam Johnson sparked a fine goal. City have looked lively up front, Johnson in particular, and Sheikh Mansour looked very satisfied with what he saw. Good start."
17 mins: Manchester City looking vibrant in attack every time they pile forward now - sit and spring seems to be their early modus operandi - and James Milner and Adam Johnson, in particular, are looking a threat. An early storm that Liverpool will possibly have to ride out in the next few minutes.
14 mins: Carlos Tevez immediately threatens a second for City, Jamie Carragher allowing him to shoot from the angle but the Argentine's effort slamming into the side netting.
Man City goal: A move and goal of real quality. Yaya Toure and Adam Johnson work it well wide to set James Milner clear in the box, and the debutant lays it back to his former Aston Villa team-mate Gareth Barry to side-foot into the corner.
13 mins: GOALFLASH Man City 1-0 Liverpool (Barry)
MikeMcKenzie1875 on 606:
"Sheikh Mansour showing up for the first home game of the season makes me think he has earmarked this season to be the real turning point for Man City."
9 mins: City already looking to get numbers behind the ball in defence - but it pays dividends when they break down a Liverpool attack and burst up the pitch in attack. The hosts' best situation of the match ends with a cracking long-range effort from Adam Johnson, the ball flying inches past the post. The closest we've come to a goal, that. Sheikh Mansour puffs out his cheeks in the crowd. Good this live football lark isn't it Sheikh?
6 mins: David Ngog sweeps the game's first proper effort at goal from range, but it's low and tame and Joe Hart can throw his hat on it by the time it reaches the City goal.
5 mins: City lining up here in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Adam Johnson and James Milner working the flanks, while Liverpool have gone for the classic 4-4-2 line-up. Decent pace set by both sides in these opening stages.
3 mins: Liverpool getting on the ball well nice and early, and it takes a smart defensive tackle from Vincent Kompany to clear from Fernando Torres inside the City area. The hosts break and Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel earns himself the game's first booking for a clumsy foul on Adam Johnson.
1 min: An early glimpse of Fernando Torres as he dashes on to a ball over the top of the Manchester City defence, but the Spaniard is flagged offside.
2001: Liverpool get us up and running at a buzzing Eastlands.
1958: Here come the players, meaning kick-off is moments away. Excited?
LFCfan128 on 606:
"Mancini must be "Sheiking" in his boots tonight! While you are at it Sam, get my coat too."
moonmonkey0794 on Twitter:
"Re: 1948 - Let me explain Sam, in simple terms. Man City's number is bigger than Liverpools', so they're gonna win." Haha, gotcha. I think. But hold on! Erm... ahem.
1952: This, by the way, is Mansour's first appearance at the club in his two years as owner. Will that inspire the hosts or just give them the Sheikhs? I'll stop now.
1950: Just seen Sheikh Mansour taking in proceedings before kick-off inside Eastlands, and the Man City owner is getting a right royal reception from the home fans. We've got 10 minutes until kick-off - almost time to Sheikh, rattle and roll...? Ahem. I'll get my coat.
Haydn22 on Twitter:
"Mancini has got the looks, the formations and is aiming for the trophies of Mourinho. Mini-me?"
1948: And what, I hear you ask, do our great friends at
make of tonight's match-up? Well based on their
Euro Club Index,
the probabilities for tonight's encounter are thus: Manchester City win: 40% Liverpool win: 34% Furthermore, should City win tonight their ranking will leap from 26th to 18th. Liverpool will stay in ninth. I'm sure the maths wizards among you get all that, but frankly I'd need someone to explain in a very loud voice and using very small words for me to get anywhere near an understanding of it. Each to their own, though, and all that.
redandblackT on 606:
"If this doesn't end 6-0 then Lyon's obviously to blame!" Haha - ouch, no pressure!
yizzi25 on Twitter:
"It is indeed a mouth-watering fixture - I can't imagine Man City losing this one - another 6-0 on the cards? Maybe yes!"
1944: MAN CITY v LIVERPOOL: Chief football writer Phil McNulty
reports: "Fernando Torres makes his first start of the season for Liverpool, but the big talking point is Javier Mascherano's exclusion amid talk of a Barcelona bid. The exact circumstances of his absence will become clear later, but Roy Hodgson presses on with a positive formation as David Ngog, Milan Jovanovic and Dirk Kuyt give Torres support as the Argentine midfield man looks to be heading for the exit. Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini gives a debut to James Milner, but Mario Balotelli is out with a knee injury while David Silva and Emmanuel Adebayor only makes the bench - an indication of the resources available at Eastlands these days. Yaya Toure, Nigel de Jong and Gareth Barry will provide the solid midfield base Mancini hopes will allow Milner and Adam Johnson to flourish, with Carlos Tevez the spearhead."
AVFC_OnTour on 606:
"Hoping for a classic tonight to cheer me up after my trip
yesterday. If Milner scores the first goal though I might watch something else!"
Mo, Bournemouth, via text: "Why can't Mancini understand that you can't play three defensive midfielders in the same XI? Sorry to say but this game has got 0-0 written all over it."
1938: A word of warning ahead of tonight's proceedings, folks. Five of the last seven matches between these two sides has ended all square, with just 16 goals scored in 11 previous clashes involving this pair. With both teams having kicked off their league campaigns with a draw, followed by narrow 1-0 wins in the Europa League, as well - maybe we would all do well not to hold our breath in anticipation of a goal frenzy tonight. Right...?
Scouse Fred, Milton Keynes via text: "A clear six-pointer, this clash. Let's hope we can get that vital win to kickstart our redeeming season!"
Malchickles on Twitter:
"I must say, as a Liverpool fan, it's actually quite nice to worry that our manager may be playing a too-attacking lineup..."
eric the mighty on 606:
"Mancini might be playing for a containing first half, and to introduce a striker or two early in the second half. (Jose) Mourinho used to do this all the time and 1-0 is the usual outcome, rubbish for spectators, good for short-fuse chairmen."
1934: MAN CITY v LIVERPOOL: Chief football writer Phil McNulty
reports: "Manchester City fans get the first glimpse of their latest expensively-reconstructed side on home territory against Roy Hodgson's Liverpool - with both sides looking to build on respectable draws in their opening games. Hodgson claims he would rather have Fernando Torres than City's money, and we will see if his confidence in the fit-again Spain striker is justified as he is expected to start. City boss Roberto Mancini, by contrast, is convinced his £24m capture from Inter Milan Mario Balotelli
could eventually be even better than Torres.
Big talk to match City's big wallet and big ambitions. This game will be an intriguing measure of two clubs in the throes of two very different transitional periods."
1931: Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson: "I don't know where he (Javier Mascherano) is but he's not here, that's for sure. His mind wasn't right so it wasn't right to select him. Hopefully, I will be able to select him in the future. There's plenty of interest in him but our position remains the same - until we get an offer that matches our valuation we won't sell. I'm sure it'll be sorted one way or another soon."
kingofkings83 on 606:
"Massive game for Lucas tonight. He is going to have to be the holding player in the middle to allow Gerrard to get forward. It's your time to shine Lucas Leiva!"
xvicki on Twitter:
"All these top class strikers City say they have bought and yet they play one up front? Don't see Adam Johnson as a forward."
1925: Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini: "We are at the beginning of the season, when all the games are difficult. I hope that tonight will be a good match for us. I am disappointed about Balotelli not being in the squad, but he has a little problem in his knee and we didn't want to take any risk."
Simon Of Fulham on 606:
"Roy Hodgson masterminded two great wins at Man City for Fulham, I doubt if he will be over-whelmed by City tonight either. Liverpool to edge it."
sxp123 on 606:
"Very negative formation by Man City, but I still feel they'll nick it by the odd goal."
1922: MAN CITY v LIVERPOOL: Man City: Hart, Richards, Toure, Kompany, Lescott, De Jong, Toure Yaya, Barry, Milner, Adam Johnson, Tevez. Subs: Given, Zabaleta, Wright-Phillips, Adebayor, Silva, Vieira, Jo. Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Carragher, Agger, Jovanovic, Gerrard, Lucas, Kuyt, Torres, Ngog. Subs: Jones, Aurelio, Pacheco, Kyrgiakos, Maxi, Babel, Poulsen. Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)
1920: And in the red corner, it is Liverpool - one of the most successful clubs ever in the history of English football. With new boss Roy Hodgson in charge, the Reds are desperate to hit the trophy trail again for the first time since 2006, and it is with that in mind that they resisted any interest in City's millions and
kept hold of star striker Fernando Torres
in the summer. Steven Gerrard also stayed, and while
Javier Mascherano continues to be linked with a move away
from the club the additions of Joe Cole, Milan Jovanovic and
should ensure the Merseysiders are well placed to improve on last season's seventh-placed finish in the Premier League. Oh - and if you have a spare few hundred million in the bank,
you might be able to discuss a club takeover.
Time to rattle those piggy banks, people.
Meerschaum_221B on 606:
"More like an end of season match this; both teams will be desperate for a win to break out of mid-table. Both managers will want to add credibility to their title ambitions."
1917: What can we expect tonight then? Well in the blue corner, it is football's latest financial powerhouse, Manchester City. In their efforts to secure a first major trophy since 1976, the blue half of Manchester has splashed more than £300m on transfer fees alone since oil barons Abu Dhabi United Group took control in September 2008 - and that despite them not (yet?) being able to offer Champions League football. Their two latest recruits -
and James Milner - arrived last week for a combined £48m but only the latter is fit to make his domestic debut tonight, while in manager Roberto Mancini they have a man tasked with narrowing
the largest squad
in the Premier League into
XI starting positions on a weekly basis
- while not giving any of his megastars the hump. Not easy.
liver-brilliant-pool on 606:
"I really wish all the Liverpool fans who are criticising Mascherano for his supposed strike would stop and think about the character and commitment the player has proven time and again in his club career."
Jeppo via text: "The whole Mascherano situation is one massive negotiation now. Just do the deal with Barcelona and bring some quality back into the club."
1911: MORE BREAKING TEAM NEWS: New signing James Milner starts for Manchester City, but Mario Balotelli does not. Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson hands a first start of the season to Fernando Torres.
HenryWhitfield on Twitter:
"Love it! I'm excited and I'm a Chelsea boy, what a Monday night match-up! Hope we didn't use up the goals this weekend!"
1907: Before we get into all that, though, may I remind you that, as always, this commentary without your input is like a library without any books - useless. So get yourselves involved in your usual barnstorming fashion by way of
you can text me via 81111 (UK) and +44 7786200666 (worldwide), or you can always get in touch via
This is your time to shine.
1904: BREAKING TEAM NEWS: Javier Mascherano is not in the Liverpool squad.
1903: Yes, only a titanic tussle could dare hope to match a stunning weekend of Premier League football - and luckily for us we have a couple of heavyweights ready to battle it out for our viewing pleasure. Two teams with designs on the title, two teams looking to bounce back from relative disappointment in their last campaigns, two teams who have not been afraid to splash the cash this summer and two teams boasting some of the finest players in European football today. Oh, and there's speculation
midfielder Javier Mascherano has refused to play tonight
in an attempt to force a move away from Anfield. In short, it's a match with more subplots than a Miss Marple omnibus. I present to you
Man City v Liverpool.
Are you having it?
1900: On the back of a weekend that brought us
35 goals in nine games,
you might wonder how on earth the Premier League follows that. Well wonder no more. You ready for a spot of Monday Magic?
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