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Thursday January 12, 2012Manchester City 0 - 1 Liverpool

By William Wood | In Match Reports - Home Games

Manchester City suffered a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Liverpool in the Carling Cup semi-final first leg at the Etihad Stadium.

In the absence of Vincent Kompany, Micah captained the side and was imperious throughout, excelling at the back, setting up several opportunities and going close with a header.

Andy Carroll led the line for Liverpool and went close early on as he broke through City’s defence and held off Stefan Savic, only for Joe Hart to make a solid stop at the striker’s feet.

Steven Gerrard was next up to test City’s stopper, curling in a shot from 25 yards which was tipped wide, whilst he did even better minutes later as Stewart Downing’s deflected shot found its way through and required an excellent low save.

However, the visitors did find a way through from the penalty spot, Savic adjudged to have fouled Daniel Agger and Gerrard stepping up to make it 1-0.

Mario Balotelli’s night was curtailed early by injury as he trudged off with 5 minutes of the first half remaining, whilst a terrific burst forward by Micah – leaving Glen Johnson in his wake – allowed him to cut the ball back to James Milner, whose shot flew well over from 10 yards.

City tackled the challenge of finding a leveller with renewed vigour in the second half, and they were almost immediately back in the game as a stray back pass found Sergio Aguero who twisted and turned as he advanced towards Pepe Reina only for the stopper to block his shot.

Milner then swung in a corner kick that Micah met with a firm head, only for Reina to again deny the hosts with a fine save.

Both sides went close as the game ticked towards its conclusion, Aguero missing the target with a flicked header that swooped just over the crossbar, and Liverpool parked the proverbial bus as they closed out the game with six defenders on the pitch at the final whistle.

It’s a tie of four halves but City will certainly have to up their game if they are to reach the Carling Cup at Wembley.

Man City: Hart, Richards, Savic, Lescott, Clichy, de Jong, Barry, A Johnson, Milner, Balotelli, Aguero.

Liverpool: Reina, G Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Kelly, Downing, Henderson, Gerrard, Speaing, Bellamy, Carroll.