What a performance, what a roller coaster ride of emotions, what relief when the whistle finally went. The atmosphere was electric, just like the fabled European nights at Anfield and the players did not disappoint. I guess there is no questioning Kenny's ability to motivate.
The scoreline was quite flattering for City and De Jong's goal couldn't have been flukier. They were out played the entire game and really scored out of nothing. The only sustained pressure they were able to muster happened at the end of the game when Liverpool were just trying to hold on. This was a great victory, and while it is "just the Carling Cup", this will hopefully serve as the spring board for more results. In addition, no one can say we didn't earn it. That was Liverpool's first home tie in the Carling Cup and, in addition, to get to Wembley Liverpool have now had to beat the likes of Chelsea and Man City. Well done lads.
One last thing, Joe Hart is amazing. He is just world class and there is no doubt in my mind now that he is the best keeper in the Prem right now (sorry Pepe).
My giddy ratings after the jump:
Reina - 7 - Not a lot to do on the night, but he was there when we needed him with some sure hands.
Enrique - 8 - He had a fantastic game, both in defense and getting forward. The width he provided was too much for City's depleted defense. He had a number of dangerous crosses and forced a fantastic save out of Hart early on. This is what was missing in the Bolton game.
Skrtel - 8 - Completely shut down Dzeko and Aguero. Sure Dzeko scored, but that was Agger's fault. The back four were so effective that I hardly remember hearing the City striker's names for the entire 90 minutes.
Agger - 7 - Would have been higher had he not gotten caught ball watching for Dzeko's goal. Other than that though, he calmly dealt with everything thrown his way. Agger also did shoot the ball that won the contentious penalty.
Johnson - 8 - Shut down his side of the pitch and got forward with aplomb. He and Enrique overwhelmed City's defense and it showed. A great night for him.
Kuyt - 7 - Typical industrious performance that we have all come to love from him. He isn't flashly, but he started the play for Bellamy's goal with great 1-2's. His hardwork in defense also allowed Johnson the freedom he needed to get forward.
Adam - 7 - Who is this Charlie Adam and where has he been all year? His passing was superb, his defending was decent (although he got away with one in the box early) and he bossed the midfield, especially in the first half. He also played a big part in the build up that lead to the penalty. Faded a little as the game went on and became more stretched. It was nice to see him have some space and not be grab assing with another Liverpool player.
Gerrard - 8 - He is Liverpool. He had to drop deep to make it all work, but he did an excellent job of holding, defending, distributing and supporting the attack. His penalty finish was clinical again. you could have told Hart which direction Gerrard was going and he still wouldn't have been able to get it. He was everywhere and is proving that he may have a lot more football to play. At least let's hope so.
Henderson - 6 - It wasn't a bad performance and much of his hard work pressing will have gone unnoticed, but he worked his arse off. His passing and touch still aren't the best, but he also showed flashes of brilliance at times as well with some of his through balls. It leaves a little hope that he might not be as bad a signing as we assume him to be right now. In addition, he is continuing to improve every game. That is a huge plus.
Downing - 7 - Who said he doesn't have pace? Ok, well he may not, but he showed some gritty determination a number of times running down the ball and definitely turned on the afterburners for just a moment. He clearly is more effective on the left and has to be kept out there or on the bench. He did miss a couple of shots and I don't have a complaint about him not getting the goals, I do have a complaint about him not getting the ball on target (although he did force a great save out of Hart on a cross from Kuyt).
Bellamy - 10 - He gets a 10. Perhaps a bit over the top due to my emotions, but he ran his ass off. He was responsible for City hardly having time to think on the ball. He was always harassing the backline and forced a number of poor passes, decisions and errors. In addition he scored the winner. If we have to play someone up top alone, he gets my vote. He was a better target man than Carroll even though he is hobbit sized compared to Carroll. I don't know if that says something about Bellamy's determination or Carroll's poor play. I want to see him up top more, even if he only lasts for 60 minutes.
Kelly - N/A - Not enough time, but did show some good defending in the 6 minutes he was on the pitch
Carroll - N/A - Didn't screw up.