Date: 31st July 2014 at 12:33pm
Written by:

Liverpool beat domestic rivals Manchester City in a penalty shoot-out to go top of their International Champions Cup group, in an entertaining clash at the Yankees Stadium in New York.

Stevan Jovetic put the Premier League champions ahead with a close range finish, before Jordan Henderson drew the Reds level with a superb curling finish after good work from both Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge.

Jovetic showed composure to score his second close range finish of the match, however Raheem Sterling scored a superb equaliser with four minutes left to play to take the game to a deciding penalty shootout.

Alexander Kolorov and Daniel Sturridge both blazed their opening penalties over the bar, before Simon Mignolet made successive saves from Yaya Toure and Jesus Navas – the second stop of which was particularly impressive.

Successful penalties from summer signing Emre Can, Jordan Henderson and Lucas Leiva secured the win for the Reds, who will be delighted with the latest step of their pre-season programme.

Both sides produced a high energy display, in a match that felt somewhat more important than a pre-season friendly.

Gael Clichy fashioned the opening chance of the game on three minutes, scuffing a shot narrowly wide when well placed.

Phillipe Coutinho – who has looked impressive during the Reds tour so far – had the opening effort for Liverpool, drilling a shot just wide from the edge of the box in response.

But it was Rickie Lambert who spurned the Reds best chance of the first half, heading Jordan Henderson’s cross straight at new City goalkeeper Willy Caballero from six yards.

Simon Mignolet, Jack Robinson, Glen Johnson and Raheem Sterling were amongst those introduced at half time, as the game burst into life.

It was City who broke the deadlock, when Steven Gerrard was unable to cut out Navas’ right wing cross, and Jovetic reacted first to prod home from close range.

The skipper almost produced the perfect response, with a long range pass to free Phillipe Coutinho, only for Joe Hart to come flying out to deny the Brazilian.

Liverpool did not have to wait long for their equaliser however, as the superb Raheem Sterling drove forward and picked out Daniel Sturridge with a perfectly weighted pass.

The Liverpool striker held off the final challenge and laid the ball off for the onrushing Jordan Henderson, who curled his finish beautifully beyond Hart from the edge of the box.

As the pace of the match quickened, it was City who came closest to scoring a second, with youngster Zuculini somehow hitting the crossbar from six yards out after good work down the left from Kolorov.

City weren’t to be denied a second time however, when Jovetic was again quickest to react in the box to poke the ball beyond Mignolet to make it 2-1 on 67 minutes.

The way in which the Reds responded over the remaining 23 minutes will be what is perhaps most pleasing for Brendan Rodgers, with Raheem Sterling burying a fully deserved equaliser on 84 minutes after a beautifully weighted knockdown from Lucas Leiva.

The 19-year-old took a superb first touch past the last defender, before cooly bending the ball beyond Hart into the corner.

He produced an even better finish with the final kick of the game, curling into the top corner only to be wrongly denied by an offside flag.

That ensured the game went to penalties, and following misses from Kolorov and Sturridge, it was left to Mignolet to perform the heroics, denying Yaya Toure and Jesus Navas in succession.

Emre Can, Jordan Henderson and finally Lucas Leiva all stepped up to send Joe Hart the wrong way from the spot, and bring an end to a thoroughly satisfying evening for Brendan Rodgers.

Player ratings: Jones 7 (Mignolet 8), Kelly 6 (Johnson 7), Coates 7 (Sakho 6), Toure 7, Enrique 7 (Robinson 7), Gerrard 7 (Lucas 7) Henderson 8, Allen 7 (Can 7) , Coutinho 7, Lambert 6 (Sterling 9), Sturridge 7.