Liverpool v. Man City Player Ratings

Hint, hint.

It was encouraging with discouraging moments. The project is moving forward, except when it's moving backwards. It was a result that you would have taken but was an absolute gift to the opposition in the end. Yes, yesterday's game is full of paradoxes and confusion. But that's why we love the game, and this club has specialized in the confusing and confounding the past few years. So how good was everybody?

Pepe Reina - 6: This may be a bit high. Reina was good with the ball at his feet, which he's getting to do more of this season. But he flapped at Tevez's cross for City's first and either didn't give Skrtel a call or didn't give one loud enough or didn't react correctly. Didn't really have any saves to make and the goals he really had no chance. Remember when I thought he was one of the best in the world? Ha.

Martin Kelly - 6.5: He'll get blame for the City goal from Toure, but he nor anyone else would have expected the ball to get to him. Nasri was on the other side and was tucking inside anyway, so he didn't have much threat to worry about over there. A reliable shift, which is what Kelly kind of does.

Sebastien Coates - 7: Maybe I should give him more than that, because other than getting caught on the ball from Balotelli once he didn't put a foot wrong. Looked a little pacier than he has in the past, though he rarely had to show it off as he was always in the right position. His height was vital in defending set pieces, and was inches away from claiming a winner from Carroll's feed at the death. Hopefully he gets more looks this season.

Martin Skrtel - 6: This one is tricky. Because there's enough ammo on each side. He scored a wonderful goal, but made a horrible error on the equalizer as well as partially being the culprit on City's first equalizer. Outside of all those events, he kept Tevez, Balotelli, and eventually Dzeko at bay. They barely had a sniff. So we'll just go down the middle with this one.

Glen Johnson - 6.5: Not spectacular, but more active than he was against West Brom while on the left. Got forward more and wasn't as afraid to use his left foot, and didn't have that much to do defensively as Nasri continually tucked in and Milner rarely got forward. Obviously looked more comfortable when Enrique was introduced and could shift back to the right, where he was far more involved in the attack.

Joe Allen - 8.5: Will there come a day soon when we think the 15 million was a bargain? At this rate yes, but it's only a couple matches. Simply never putting himself or the ball where it shouldn't be, and taking on all the defensive duties that would have fallen to Lucas if he'd stayed on the pitch. I can't argue with any part of his game. I was wrong Joe, glad to have you aboard.

Jonjo Shelvey - 7: As it was Shelvey introduced after Lucas's injury and not Henderson, he apparently has slotted on the depth chart ahead of Jordan Henderson. And he's earned that. More disciplined without the ball than we've seen, his passing was almost as intelligent as Allen's. Also tried to take on a few players, a feature of his preseason, and is clearly growing as a player. His tackling is still beyond awful, however.

Steven Gerrard - 6.5: I'm just shocked he let Suarez take that freekick. Better than he was in the opener, still a little iffy with his passing at times. But it's Steven Gerrard, and he's got to be allowed to take some risks. Didn't get into the box as perhaps Lucas and Allen would have allowed him but having to cover for Shelvey. Still some miles to make up.

Raheem Sterling - 7.5: Considering this was his full league debut, I don't know how you could have asked for more. He even was defensively sound for the most part, except undone by Tevez's movement for that goal. But he used the ball well, wasn't afraid to go at people when on offer, and had the City defense notice him. Can't wait to see what he looks like in March.

Fabio Borini -6: Ran around a lot. That's all I can say. Should have finished the chance Sterling presented him, and there were some awful touches and passing.

Luis Suarez - 6.5: Yes, the goal was sublime. But wasn't the buzzing hornet we're used to seeing, though Kompany will do that to a lot of strikers. Not for lack of trying, just not as sparkling.

Subs:

Jose Enrique - 6: Fine.

Andy Carroll - 6: Not really enough time to get anything else, but in the eight minutes he was on the pitch you definitely noticed him. Made one bad pass, made a couple of corner kicks threatening, and almost created a goal. This Hearts match on Thursday could be vital for his confidence.

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