Monday 26 February 2018

Power of Liverpool's deadly duo shows up failings of flop Dzeko

Rory Smith

It will come as scant solace to the Manchester City manager as he surveys the damage done to his routed side at Anfield, but there was one man who suffered more than Roberto Mancini on Merseyside. The Italian had a bad night. Edin Dzeko's was worse.

The Bosnian will not have to spend the next four days fretting over the state of Carlos Tevez's hamstring after the Argentine was taken off after little more than 15 minutes, of course. He does not retain a lingering suspicion that his job security may rest on whether, with or without City's best player, he can pick a path past Manchester United at Wembley on Saturday.

And he will not ultimately be blamed if the £90m or so of attacking talent at City's disposal fail to reach the FA Cup final or, worse, do not manage to cling on to a Champions League place.

All of that, and more, falls on the shoulders of his manager.


But, while the Italian spent his evening shredding his nails, tearing his hair out and howling his angst on the touchline as his side crumbled, Dzeko gradually faded ever deeper into anonymity.

For Mancini, this was an evening of fury and frustration. For Dzeko, it was one of shadows and shame.

Somehow, despite a burdensome price tag of £27m, Dzeko somehow managed to slip into the Premier League unnoticed. Perhaps it was simply a result of how long City had courted him while at Wolfsburg; he arrived, and it seemed the most natural thing in the world.

Partly, the Bosnian might like to thank Liverpool for that. Anfield overshadowed last January, in retrospect at least, as its owners twice broke the club's transfer record, first on Luis Suarez, and then on Andy Carroll. To do so, they required funds garnered from the British record deal that took Fernando Torres to Chelsea.

Suarez is an engaging character, while Carroll's meteoric rise seemed almost implausible. It is to Torres, though, that Dzeko owes the most gratitude. Torres' travails at Chelsea has allowed Dzeko's difficulties to escape unnoticed.

He has yet to score in the league, managing his only strikes in light blue against the likes of Notts County and Aris Salonika. It is a woeful return for a striker of such high calibre and, most worryingly, of such high cost. It is also hardly the sort of form Dzeko is accustomed to, having managed 66 goals in 111 games for Wolfsburg.

He was not the only culprit here, the only player who failed to justify either his price or reputation. Mario Balotelli, replacing the injured Tevez, was dire, substituted himself as the game neared its end.

But it was Dzeko's failings that were cast in sharp contrast by the success of Carroll. Another expensive target man, but one possessed of a self-belief so strong as to be certainty. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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