The English Premier League started off with a bang last weekend. There were great goals, late goals, soft goals, terrible mistakes, red cards, penalties and twisting scripts.
Liverpool, who endured a forgettable opening day, have been served their first home fixture of the season against the defending champions Manchester City this weekend.
Daniel Agger was convinced referee Phil Dowd made a mistake with the red card that sent Liverpool tumbling to a humiliating 3-0 defeat. The Dane was adjudged to have brought down Baggies Shane Long, although replays suggested contact was minimal. While Long missed the subsequent penalty, the hosts made the most of their numerical advantage to seal a comfortable victory in Brendan Rodgers’ first Premier League match in charge of the Reds. Star man Luis Suarez was a thorn in West Brom’s defence but his finishing ability was once again questioned as he failed to get on the scoresheet, missing numerous chances. The red card might have been a big blow but Liverpool were uninspiring before that, with their possession counting for little and they still have a long way to go if they are to challenge for a Champions League spot this season. Liverpool’s home form was poor last season as they managed just six wins in 19 matches, drawing nine and losing four. Including this match, three of Liverpool’s next four games are at home to last season’s top three sides – Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal. Barring an appeal being upheld, Agger will serve a one-match domestic ban which would rule him out of Sunday’s visit of Manchester City – the team who remain intent on signing the 27-year-old this transfer window. The inspirational Jamie Carragher should fill the void sufficiently.
Manchester City began their Premier League title defence in much the same way as they had claimed the championship months earlier by coming from behind to secure a dramatic 3-2 victory over Southampton at the Etihad Stadium. The excellent Carlos Tevez gave City a first half lead, although Roberto Mancini had been dealt an early blow when Sergio Aguero left the game on a stretcher with a knee injury. Southampton had been largely confined to their own half before they stunned the hosts by racing into a 2-1 lead in the second half. But Edin Dzeko quickly grabbed an equaliser and Samir Nasri, the architect of much of City’s best play, completed the comeback with 10 minutes to play. Aguero is a big player for City and will miss the next couple of weeks but the ‘noisy neighbours’ need not worry as fellow Argentinean Carlos Tevez has been in great form since pre-season and has looked to put last season’s escapades behind him. With City only having made one signing in Jack Rodwell from Everton, the Blues are expected to up their negotiations for £28million-rated Roma midfielder Daniele de Rossi. City travelled well on the road last season scoring the most goals and conceding the second least behind rivals United.
These sides drew at Anfield twice last season but the champions should get the win this time over a side trying to adapt to their new managers style of play.