After The Match 


Man City-Liverpool 1-0 (0-0)                Sat Apr 9.         Premier League
Goals: Musampa (90)
Team: Carson, Warnock, Finnan, Carragher, Pellegrino, Gerrard, Biscan, Riise, Garcia, Le Tallec, Morientes
Subs: Smicer (Garcia 68), Welsh (Morientes 78), Traore (Riise 83)
Not used: Dudek, Hyypia
Yellow: Carragher (34)          Barton (45)
Red: None
Referee: Mike Riley
Attendance: 47,203

                           MATCH-REPORTS & RESULTS 
Shots on target: 3-1
Shots off target: 3-5
Fouls conceded: 8-11
Corners: 5-2
Yellow: 1-1




HEADLINES "Our inconsistency
is difficult
to explain."

          Rafael Benitez
0904: Benitez blasts his team
0904: Musapa strike stuns Reds


Benitez blasts his team

ITV Football

Disappointed Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez has warned his players to start learning some harsh lessons otherwise they can forget about landing a Champions League berth next season.

Just five days after their thrilling win over Juventus, the Reds looked likely to collect a point from their below-par display at Manchester City until Kiki Musampa's last-minute winner gave the Blues a deserved win.

Benitez lambasted his team's failure not to kill the game in the latter stages as they gifted Bradley Wright-Phillips possession at a throw-in close to the halfway line.

Wright-Phillips ferried the ball on to fellow substitute Lee Croft, whose cross provided Musampa with the opportunity to strike.

"I am very disappointed," said Benitez. "Sometimes, when you cannot win, a draw is a good result. We were in the last minute, we had a throw-in, then we give the ball away, they counter and we end up losing a goal.

"It is more important for us to finish fourth in the Premiership than it is to do well in the Champions League.

"If we play to the level we can, we can still get there but if we do not improve on the mental approach we had today, it will be difficult for us."

The 1-0 defeat that keeps Liverpool a point adrift of Everton in the battle for fourth spot, with their Merseyside rivals set to take a decisive advantage if they can turn Crystal Palace over at Goodison Park tomorrow.

Anything other than a home win would have been tough luck on Pearce, who has watched City concede late goals in his two previous games in charge since succeeding Kevin Keegan.

With Steven Gerrard, whose future Benitez refused to discuss, in subdued mood, Joey Barton dominated the midfield exchanges and had Musampa not crashed a volley against the post midway through the second period, the Blues would have already been in front before the Dutchman's crucial strike.

"It is poetic justice after what has happened in the last two weeks," said Pearce, who denied reports he has already been appointed Keegan's permanent successor.

"Liverpool are a big scalp. They are on a good run of form. I watched them in midweek and they played Juventus off the park.

"But I have not got the job yet. The chairman has taken a big gamble putting an amateur in charge but hopefully I will prove to him I am up to the task."

Pearce did need the big hand of goalkeeping coach Tim Flowers to save him from potential embarrassment as he headed straight down the tunnel at the final whistle before even attempting to shake hands with Benitez.

"I was always like that as a player," he said.

"I never shook hands with anyone, I was always straight off the pitch. Thankfully Tim Flowers has got big claws and managed to pull me back. I apologise if Mr Benitez felt there was ignoring him. I just got carried away with the moment."

Flowers' task will not be as hard as the one Benitez now faces lifting Liverpool for Wednesday's vital trip to Turin.

Aside from the emotion generated by the visit, the Anfield outfit must also defend their slender first-leg advantage and the Spanish coach knows his team will have to do far better than they did today.

"Our inconsistency is difficult to explain," he admitted.

"At one point we are playing good football and winning, the next we find it really difficult.

"But I don't think there will be a problem raising the team for Wednesday. Champions League games are different - we will be ready."

Musapa strike stuns Reds

BBC Sport Online

Kiki Musampa's spectacular late volley gave Stuart Pearce his first win as Manchester City boss.

Musampa who had earlier hit the post, met Lee Croft's cross on the edge of the area and his low first-time effort flew past Scott Carson into the net.

Liverpool's best effort came from a skidding Igor Biscan shot which David James kept out - and the City keeper was otherwise untroubled.

The defeat means Liverpool failed to move above Everton into fourth place.

City boss Stuart Pearce was given a standing ovation before the game, as the fans showed he has their support to get the job on a long-term basis.

This victory will help his cause, and it was an encouraging display all-round from the home side.

Their best early chance came from a Joey Barton free-kick after Steve Finnan was bizarrely penalised for pulling Musampa's dreadlocked hair.

Barton's curling delivery from the left was met by Distin's header but Carson produced an excellent reflex save to keep the ball out.

Liverpool were unable to reproduce the passion they showed while beating Juventus in midweek and had only one effort of note in the first-half.

Paul Bosvelt gave the ball away to Igor Biscan and although James parried his low shot, he had to use his feet to hack the ball clear of the onrushing Anthony Le Tallec.

City were not creating much themselves but should still have been in front at the break.

Robbie Fowler, celebrating his 30th birthday, flicked a delightful ball through to set up Antoine Sibierski but Carson did well to block with his legs.

The game got bogged down in midfield after the break and there was little in the way of goalmouth action.

There was still the occasional opening however, and Musampa deserved better with his effort on 65 minutes.

A flowing move down the right ended when Onuoha's cross was met with a full-blooded left-foot volley that thumped against Carson's post.

But Musampa was to get his reward for an impressive dispay in injury time.

Substitute Croft sent in a low cross and the Dutch winger stretched to steer the ball past Carson for his first goal for City.

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Thor Zakariassen