|Steven Gerrard gives Liverpool the edge at 13mins|
Liverpool started brightly and from the start it was clear that we wanted it more than the home team. Before the goal pressure was consistently piled on their defensive 3rd. Our efforts were rewarded with the penalty calmly taken by the captain, Steven Gerrard. Even after the goal, pressure continued with a volley from downing off a corner being saved only by Joe Harts fingertips. At 30 minutes, possession was equal, however we had summed 5 shots on-target as opposed to City's 0 on-target. Joe Hart as always was City's saviour, as he has been on many occasions this season, most significantly in our 1-1 draw at Anfield on 27th November.
Carroll seemed sharp early on, and looked like he was taking his opportunity to impress with his first start since Newcastle. Mario Balotelli had a frustrating night, having been doubtful before the game, nothing seemed to be going right for him. After being taken down by a soft shoulder from Charlie Adam, he went for Adam only to be stopped by James Milner, clearly a peace-keeper amongst the Eastlands set up. Roberto Mancini was quick to act before he became overly frustrated replacing him with Samir Nasri on 38mins.
There were a couple of vital saves that Pepe Reina put in, in particularly from Nasri soon after he came on, and then by the City captain Micah Richards with a powerful header requiring lightening reactions.
The second half was much more even, and most of the pressure was put on Liverpool. Dalglish acted wisely, putting on both Enrique and Carragher for Downing and Bellamy. Playing almost six at the back for the last 30 minutes made it near impossible to be penetrated by the weakened Manchester City team.
The BBC commentator could only say bad things for Manchester City, I quote " City this is the worst they've been at home all this season, looking distinctly average. But we cant take anything from Liverpool".
All in all, another great performance by the Reds, that sees us come away with a well earned result.
The 1-0 advantage can only be a bonus in light of the 2nd Leg in a fortnights time.
Even as a neutral, I would be putting money on LFC to get to Wembley. We can only hope and avoid injuries.
Liverpool won at 3/1 with Ladbrokes.
Ollie Ayton, LFC Blogspot - @o_ayton