Premier League Thoughts: Torres Fitness, Mascherano Farce, Manchester City Impress The Boss

24 August 2010

Manchester City Owner Sheikh Mansour. (Credit Image: © Action Images/
Monday night's clash at Eastlands can be summed up with such simplicity. Manchester City is nearly where they want to be. While it wasn't the most fluid of performances, they put together long enough spells of dominance to remind Liverpool and their fans that they have a long way to go to get back where they want to be.

Sheikh Mansour picked the perfect first game to attend. On a typical Summer's British night, he got to see the side his money assembled decimate Liverpool with relative ease. While it wasn't the perfect performance by any stretch of the imagination, it was one that should instill plenty of fear. Even more so since Manchester City is still a team looking to vet players and perfect Mancini's system.

The three defensive midfield set up is still one that needs work. However, James Milner's impact was quickly felt for Manchester City: the interplay between Milner and Adam Johnson wrecked havoc on Liverpool's defense. It helped that Adam Johnson was running at a hamstrung Martin Skrtel, who stupidly got himself booked three minutes into the match. To be blunt, Skrtel should have seen an early bath in the sixty-seventh, after another challenge on Adam Johnson. By that point, it was already embarrassing enough.

The opener was an embarrassment on Skrtel's part. With Yaya Toure running interference, a simple pass back to Johnson brought Skrtel out of position. Johnson's pass then found Milner perfectly in the space Skrtel conceded: a simple centering pass to Gareth Barry followed, giving Manchester City a lead they weren't going to give up. The second Manchester City goal, meanwhile, was a sign of the impending surrender. Micah Richards was the only one to leap after a corner kick. With no one on Carlos Tevez, he was able to get just enough of the ball to put it past Pepe Reina. The white flag of surrender came in the fifty-seventh after Joe Hart's heroics following Gerrard's effort went off the post.

The one disappointment about Liverpool today was Fernando Torres. What's sadder is it wasn't his fault: the reality is he still isn't healthy. Hodgson is in a difficult position here, as sitting Torres until healthy is the sound idea. Kuyt and Ngog may not be the most ideal options up top, but the longer the charade is played of starting Torres, the longer it's going to take for him to get fully fit.

As for the entire Javier Mascherano situation, going and agreeing personal terms with Barcelona was just a bad idea. While all signs point to Liverpool accepting a deal, by tipping your hand, a deal will be much more difficult to be agreed upon. If I'm Liverpool, I hold Barcelona to ransom here. They've made it clear they want him; anything less than 20 million pounds would be considered a waste in my mind.


toddmintz August 24, 2010 at 1:26 AM  

I was able to watch it live. I feel Liverpool without a healthy Torres, who can score? Roys teams at Fulham played to 0-0 draws or win 1-0 very tight defense. The problem it is clear Torres is not ready to play on a full time basis. Liverpool without healthy Torres basically has very little offensively that would scare anyone and further to me there is little confidence the Liverpool back 4 can be the suffocating side that was among the best defensively in this league recent as couple years ago. Without changes if Roy finishes 6th or better, he is a great manager..

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Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

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