Liverpool top Manchester City in shootout at Yankee Stadium

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

By ERIC GIACOMETTI
Staff Writer

BRONX, NY – After combining to score a remarkable 203 goals in the 2013-14 Premiership campaign, Manchester City and Liverpool brought their attacking talents to New York.

The reigning Premier League champions fell victim to their Merseyside foes 3-1 in a penalty shootout after playing out a 2-2 draw in regulation.

While it may not have rivaled the quality and brilliance of their previous encounter (a 3-2 Liverpool win at Anfield), the near capacity crowd at Yankee Stadium was treated to an entertaining match of attacking football in a rare opportunity to see two of England’s finest teams go head to head.

In a back and forth affair, Manchester City striker Stevan Jovetic made his case for more first team minutes as the Montenegrin’s brace proved to be the difference. With the likes of Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko leading the lines, Jovetic made just 11 league appearances during an injury plagued season. But after scoring four goals through two games in the Guinness International Champions Cup, Jovetic has given manager Manuel Pellegrini plenty to think about.

“Stevan is a very important player for us,” Pellegrini stated. “That’s why he came last year to our squad. For the moment he is working very hard and does not have any problems. I am sure that if he continues this way he will demonstrate why he’s here. If he’s fit this year he will be a very important player for our squad.”

For Liverpool, a small measure of revenge was exacted after falling agonizingly short of the Premier League crown last season. But with his squad still working out the kinks ahead of their next Premier League campaign, manager Brendan Rodgers refused to place much importance on the results of this preseason match.

“It’s more about the football fitness then anything,” Rodgers stated. “We played two different formations tonight. At times we worked it well and other times there’s other areas that we can improve upon. But it’s good to see it in this environment.”

Aside from being just another match in this preseason tournament, the encounter proved to serve as something of a test run on the converted pitch in Yankee Stadium. With New York City F.C.’s introduction to Major League Soccer in 2015, questions have been raised about how it will affect future matches, and both managers weighed in.

“I thought three-quarters of it was excellent,” Rodgers said. “There was a patch over on the right-hand side which I assume is where the pitcher stands, which is tough. But three-quarters of it was excellent.

“Maybe it was not the best field to play football,” Pellegrini admitted “But it was not so bad.”

Both teams conclude group play on August 2nd, as Manchester City take on Greek champions Olympiakos in Minneapolis, while Liverpool will travel to Charlotte to face AC Milan in a rematch of the unforgettable 2005 Champions League Final.