LONDON: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was delighted with his side’s positive response to tactical changes after they twice rallied against Manchester City to edge out the Premier League champions in a New York friendly on Wednesday.
Stevan Jovetic gave City, who finished two points ahead of Liverpool last season, the lead twice in the second half, but the Reds responded with goals from Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling before winning the penalty shootout 3-1.
Rodgers was ‘pleased’ with the victory, which kept Liverpool on course for a possible final against bitter rivals Manchester United in Miami next week, provided they beat AC Milan in their last group game of the eight-team tournament on Saturday.
“It was a great game for us,” the 41-year-old Northern Irishman told reporters after the match at the Yankee Stadium.
“Manchester City are a wonderful team and will go close in the Premier League again this year. What has been the trademark of this team over the past 18 months has been the character.
“We showed it again tonight [Wednesday] to keep going and get ourselves back in the game. We played with a number of different formations. Pre-season is about the physical fitness of the players and re-introducing that tactical element of the game.
“Credit to the players for coping with those changes in tactics and systems. Overall I was pleased.”
Meanwhile, City boss Manuel Pellegrini was also satisfied with his side’s performance in front of a capacity crowd of more than 49,000.
“I’m very happy because it was a good, competitive game and useful for both teams,” said the Chilean.
“We played well for the first 45 minutes when 0-0 didn’t reflect exactly what happened. Then we played well in the second half, though Joe Hart made some very good saves and we missed some good chances especially when the score was 2-1. Then we had the penalties…”
Vanishing spray to be used this season
England’s Premier League referees will use vanishing spray at free kicks from this season after officials saw the benefits during the World Cup finals in Brazil, said chief executive Richard Scudamore.
“At the Premier League we are open to developments that enhance the competition, and it was clear from watching the World Cup in Brazil that vanishing spray benefitted referees, players, and all of those who watched the matches,” said Scudamore in a statement.
“Having witnessed that, and following consultation with our clubs and the Professional Game Match Officials Limited, we have decided to introduce it in the Premier League for the 2014-15 season.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2014.