After The Match 


Man City-Liverpool 0-0             30.12.07                             PL
Team: Reina, Aurelio, Finnan, Carragher, Arbeloa, Benayoun, Kewell, Mascherano, Gerrard, Kuyt, Torres
Subs: Babel (Kewell 75)
Not used: Itandje, Riise, Alonso, Voronin
Yellow: Torres (85)
Red: None
Referee: Uriah Rennie
Attendance: 47,221
Shots on target: 0-6
Shots off target: 2-10
Blocked shots: 3-6
Fouls conceded: 7-9
Corners: 2-9
Offsides: 2-7
Possession: 40.3-59.7
Yellow: 0-1
we deserved to win."
Rafael Benitez

3112: Aurelio: We should have scored
3012: Eriksson happy with draw
3012: Rafa 'close' to adding new recruits
3012: Reds can't break down City defence 

Aurelio: We should have scored

By Jimmy Rice - LFC Official Website

Fabio Aurelio admits he'll spend New Year's Eve disappointed that the Reds failed to beat City despite creating enough chances to win.

Aurelio was one of a host of Liverpool stars to come close at the City of Manchester Stadium as he and his teammates carved out 17 chances without hitting the net.

Despite the outcome, however, the Brazilian believes there are many positives to take into 2008 regardless of the 10-point gap to Arsenal.

"If you look at the work we did, especially in the second half, I think it's clear that we deserved the three points and it is really disappointing that we only got a draw," he said.

"We had five or six chances and we need to take these chances if we want to get nearer to the top of the table.

"It's a pity that we could not score and at the end it was only a draw.

"But I think if we carry on playing like this we will win lots of games because if you look at the game we were much better than they were.

"In the second half we played almost the entire 45 minutes in their half of the pitch and created plenty of chances. The only thing we didn't do was score."

Aurelio was recognised as a prolific scorer, as far as defenders go, at former club Valencia, netting 10 times in 2002-03.

However, the full-back has yet to score for Liverpool in 37 appearances, a point of growing frustration for the man himself.

"I'm looking for my first goal and I hope it happens soon because I have been waiting for a long time," said Aurelio.

"But the most important thing is that the team continues to play well like we did against Man City and if we do that then I'm sure we will carry on showing that Liverpool are a strong team."

Meanwhile, Jamie Carragher admits it was a shame the Reds could not fully capitalise on festive slips ups from the leading pack.

He said: "It was a day for defenders. We are a bit disappointed, especially because of the way results went for some of the other teams.

"We were looking to capitalise on Man Utd getting beaten. It's not a bad result but we were hoping for three points."

Eriksson happy with draw

By Steve Pass - Sky Sports

Sven-Goran Eriksson said he was happy after watching Manchester City hold Liverpool to a goal-less draw to go into the New Year still unbeaten at home.

City had to hold firm, with captain Richard Dunne outstanding as Liverpool had the better of the play and the game's few chances.

Dunne had to clear a parried Dirk Kuyt header off the line with five minutes to go, while on 47 minutes, Spanish striker Fernando Torres had two great chances but could not score.

City's resolute defending helped them claim the draw which keeps them in fifth place in the league, just a point behind fourth placed Liverpool, who have a game in hand.

Praising his players, Eriksson said: "I think we defended very well. (It was) a good game, not a lot of chances for neither team.

"We were tired at the end. I think it means a lot - Liverpool had one more day, we had one day less between this game and the last game we played.

"But I am happy - one point, which is good. A clean sheet, which is good against a team like Liverpool.

"We suffered at the end but we did well, very well."

He denied that the way he had set up his team meant that his priority was not to lose, saying: "We always try to win."

The City boss added the only reason why striker Rolando Bianchi was left on the bench as they wanted pace up front.

"We hoped to beat them in pace with Stephen Ireland, Vassell and Petrov. We didn't but we were very close to come through many times and that was the plan but we defended well, that was good."

Asked if he was disappointed that they hardly made Liverpool keeper Reina make a save, he said: "Of course - we always try to do that but (we are) not disappointed.

"When you play like we did and the other team is Liverpool you can't be disappointed.

"We are not 100 per cent happy because we wanted to win the game but, anyhow, I think the boys did very well."

Asked if the performance showed they can contend with the top four and they are now knocking on the door, the Swede joked: "Good question - middle of January, ask me again!"

Eriksson said "we are going to do something" when asked about the transfer window.

"I don't know if it is going to happen from the first week of January but it will happen," he said, although he did not wish to name his targets.

Rafa 'close' to adding new recruits


Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez says he may look to bring in "one or two" players in January to try to rekindle his side's title challenge.

Benitez saw his side fail to break down a resilient Manchester City side in Sunday's 0-0 draw at Eastlands.

The point leaves them 10 points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal with a game in hand, and it was an ideal opportunity missed to close the gap.

When asked about his transfer dealing next month, the Spaniard - who is rumoured to have limited funds available - revealed afterwards: "We don't talk about money.

"We have some players, have some targets and we will try to sign the players we need.

"Maybe one, maybe two, if everyone is fit you never know. We are working hard and are very close."

Benitez had few complaints over his team's display and was left to rue some gilt-edged opportunities spurned.

"It was a good game, good effort, the team was playing really well and creating chances but today we couldn't (score)," he said.

"We knew they were playing really well at home, but we had our chances and could have won.

"In the last 15 minutes, we were on top of them. For me, we deserved to win."

Reds can't break down City defence


Manchester City thwarted Liverpool's attempts to make up ground in the Premier League title race as the hosts held on for a 0-0 draw on Sunday.

Richard Dunne stood like an unshakeable tower as Rafael Benitez's men controlled a one-sided north-west derby without getting the breakthrough they deserved at the City of Manchester Stadium.

Fernando Torres was barely in the game such was Dunne's dominance of the Spaniard, with Harry Kewell, Steven Gerrard and Yossi Benayoun wasting the Reds' best opportunities before Joe Hart denied Dirk Kuyt late on.

Even then, the young City keeper needed Dunne to come to his aid with a goalline clearance from the rebound, ensuring a result which leaves Liverpool 10 points adrift of new leaders Arsenal.

Indeed, on this evidence, the Blues, just a point adrift of the fourth-placed Merseysiders, may take some shaking off as the battle for Champions League spots hots up in the new year.

When the host broadcaster describes a contest as "a thinking man's game", the chances are it is a cover for one lacking goalmouth incident, which, in this instance, for the first half at least, was certainly the case.

Given the prize for victory was fourth spot in the table heading into 2008, it would have been nice if Sven-Goran Eriksson had taken the fight to Liverpool right from the start.

Yet the pragmatic Swede has not got City into such a lofty position with free-flowing, attack-at-all-costs tactics.

Eriksson's philosophy has been to keep it tight at the back and in central midfield, then look to Elano, Martin Petrov, Stephen Ireland or Michael Johnson to conjure something up.

Given the latter man is nursing an abdominal injury, City's hopes were reduced by 25% and Benitez is too astute a coach himself to give the other three free rein to exhibit their skills.

By half-time, Elano in particular must have been sick of seeing Jamie Carragher in his face.

The Liverpool defender, partnered by Alvaro Arbeloa as Sami Hyypia was ruled out with an ankle problem, was on hand to make a tackle or a block every time the South American came close to threatening.

As a result, City did not manage one single effort on goal during the opening period, although skipper Dunne should have done with a glancing header from Petrov's corner which ended up bouncing out for a throw-in.

But, to Liverpool's frustration, it was the same story at the other end, where Dunne and Richards were even more impressive than Carragher in their joint handling Torres.

Fortunate to escape wrestling the 15-goal forward to the floor in one early skirmish, Richards used his strength and speed to blunt Liverpool's star striker, with Dunne taking up the baton when necessary in equally formidable fashion.

In fact, the only offensive player to get the better of his marker on anything like a regular basis was Harry Kewell, who skipped past Nedum Onuoha on a couple of occasions.

England Under-21 keeper Hart needed a couple of attempts to smother the Australian's angled drive midway through the half while it was Kewell's cross that led to Fabio Aurelio lashing a speculative effort narrowly wide on the half-hour.

The suspicion remained Liverpool would eventually find a way through and within five minutes of the restart they had nearly done so three times.

After prodding one shot straight at Hart, Torres then found himself charging onto a Gerrard pass.

The young City keeper advanced quickly but was powerless to prevent Torres nudging the ball past.

For one awful moment, it looked as though Richards and Richard Dunne would get in each other's way as they raced back to clear before they both realised the effort was not going in and ushered it wide.

Then, Gerrard curled a free-kick narrowly beyond Hart's left-hand post after Richards had fouled Torres.

Hart tipped over from Yossi Benayoun and Gerrard fired wide as Liverpool maintained their early offensive, with City barely able to get out of their own half.

The introduction of Rolando Bianchi, still a popular figure among the City support despite his wide-ranging attack on the English game, was designed to relieve some of the pressure.

It did not really work as Benayoun and Gerrard peppered the City goal after the 8.8million Italian's arrival.

But the Blues, and Dunne in particular, would not yield.

The Irishman booted clear after Hart had denied Kuyt and when he slid in to block Benayoun's goalbound effort at the death, few would deny the defender deserved a share of the spoils.

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Thor Zakariassen