Strange Progress?: City 3 - Liverpool 0

We can't think of a way past him either.

At the beginning of last season, Liverpool washed up at Eastlands after a somewhat encouraging draw against Arsenal on the opening day of the season. It was only a draw thanks to a Pepe Reina gaffe. Liverpool were swiped aside with frightening ease, starting the descent into Hodgson and Hicks Hell. It took the club half of a season just to emerge gasping for air after that dive into the quicksand. They've spent half a season building on that escape, competing for a Champions League spot. They came to Eastlands after and encouraging win against Newcastle, and looking to build on that momentum. After a Pepe Reina gaffe, they still lost 3-0. But it was a better 3-0? So that's like, better?

The difference between the club leading the league and one scrapping just for a European place is quite clear. It's ruthlessness. What did City have? Five chances? Six? They buried three. Liverpool haven't been able to spell ruthless all season, and thus they're miles behind City now. Even after controlling much of the match and not looking scared in the least, and doing their best to take it to the league leaders, they still look as if not in the same area code as City.

What's really discouraging is that Liverpool probably never will be. They simply will never be able to match the financial might of the Oil Barons, no matter how much FSG want to invest. Unless there are rules changes or a worldwide conversion to solar energy, Liverpool can't catch up. Sure, maybe for a season here and there through smart buys and players playing out of their skin? But over the long haul? It's sobering.

Sadly, those smart buys and players having career years are no where to be found on this squad.

Bullets:

-It's hard to know if Liverpool's attack is that blunt or if it has more to do with City's excellence at the back. Vincent Kompany was simply a mastodon, and nothing Liverpool could do would find a way by him. And City have blunted other attacking forces, Liverpool aren't the first or last.

-Why would you drop the guy who scored twice last game in favor of Dirk Kuyt who's simply been non-existent this season? Even if Bellamy can only give you an hour, isn't that a chance you take? Even if Bellamy can't make the starting gun, isn't Maxi the choice? He may do the same town-drunk wanderings that Kuyt does, but he's at least found twine this year.

-The penalty that ended proceedings was soft, but judging on the angle Toure was taking there was no point in being that close to give him the chance to fall over as it was.

-It would be harsh to say Reina's gaffe cost Liverpool points today, because it's likely they may never have scored anyway. But that's two major fuck ups in a month from the guy I was honestly proclaiming as best in the world before the season. While that may have been excessive, he certainly was in the team photo before the season began. Is it a blip? Is it the wearing of the armband? Something else?

-Complaining about the occasional Glen Johnson bit of poor defending is like complaining about Jack White playing in too many bands. It's just going to happen sometimes.

-When Steven Gerrard is ready to take a starting role, I think Charlie Adam has played himself into being first on the chopping block.

-I'm tired of talking about Andy Carroll, and there's nothing left to say anyway.

So it's on to Friday, and the FA Cup against Oldham. And then another trip to Eastlands in the Carling Cup. It might be nice to have a bit of a break from the league.

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