Man City edge out Liverpool

Liverpool proved they deserved a place among the top four clubs in England despite the 2-1 defeat in the Boxing Day fixture at Manchester City.

City fell behind to Philippe Coutinho's early goal but Vincent Kompany and Alvaro Negredo struck before half-time to ensure their side maintained a perfect home record this season. The victory lifted the 2011-12 Premier League champions to 38 points from 18 games, a point behind leaders Arsenal.

Liverpool also had a goal disallowed controversially in the first-half.

The decision added a little anger to Rodgers' disappointment at his team's failure to come away from Manchester with at least a point but his overwhelming emotion was one of pride.

"I was very proud of the players, I thought they were absolutely outstanding," he told the club's website. "They really took the game to a team that is a top, top side full of top European players. I think people will go away and look at us as a team that's hopefully going to be up there challenging," he added.

"Our main objective is to set up camp in the top four. That's what this club has been striving for, for a number of years.

"But we've shown consistently over this year that we're hopefully going to be in with a right good chance of doing that. I think performances like tonight... show that we have the quality to do that. We didn't get the points, but we'll recover well now and get onto the next game," Rodgers explained.

While it has been their attacking prowess that has attracted the headlines this season, Rodgers also pointed out that Liverpool needed to improve their game management after conceding Alvaro Negredo's winner just before half-time.

"Our enthusiasm and attitude is to score goals, but when you've got three or four minutes until half-time, it's important you manage the game and we didn't quite do that at that period," he added.

The defeat leaves Liverpool (36) , who could have gone top with a victory, in fourth place in the league behind their next opponents Chelsea (37), who they meet in London on Sunday.

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini hailed his team's character after their display.
"The most important thing was we were losing 1-0 and we had the character and trust to go for the win," Pellegrini told BT Sport television.

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