Cup blow for Tevez as City stumble at Anfield

Manchester City’s Carlos Tevez is facing Wembley heartache after manager Roberto Mancini revealed the striker has suffered a damaged hamstring.

The City captain is involved in a race against time to face his former club, Manchester United, in Saturday’s FA Cup semifinal after limping out of his side’s 3-0 defeat at Liverpool on Monday.

“Carlos has a hamstring [injury],” said Mancini after the game. “It will be very difficult for the semifinal. I don’t think he will play. We will try to recover him but we also think of the other six league games.”

Tevez’s injury summed up a shocking night for City, who conceded three goals in the space of 22 first-half minutes at Anfield.

Andy Carroll helped himself to his first two goals in a Liverpool shirt since his £35-million arrival from Newcastle in the January transfer window, while Dirk Kuyt got the other.

The result has left City with it all to do to qualify for next season’s Champions League, the target Mancini has set his players.

City remain fourth, three points ahead of fifth-placed Tottenham but have now played a game more than the London club.

“I’m disappointed with myself because I think I made a mistake,” added Mancini, referring to his team selection and who has not seen his side win away from home in the league in six attempts.

“It was my fault. Not with the players because the players played 100%. Probably I made a mistake in the last two days but I know why. I did three changes and brought in three fresh players. Our focus was not good.

“It probably was my mistake because we prepared for this game not very well. But I think it is better to lose one game 3-0 than three games 1-0.”

Less than impressed
Mancini was less than impressed with his problematic Italian striker, Mario Balotelli. Balotelli was sent on as a replacement for Tevez but his performance was deemed so poor by Mancini that the substitute ended up being subbed himself.

“He didn’t play well,” said Mancini bluntly.

On City’s chances of qualifying for the Champions League, he added: “I am not worried, I am sure we will get in the Champions League.”

Liverpool have now beaten Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City since Kenny Dalglish took charge for a second time back in January.

Dalglish was thrilled to see Carroll open his goal account — but insisted the victory was a team effort.

“Andy’s first one was a fantastic strike, the second a good header,” said the Liverpool manager.

“The more Andy and Luis Suarez play together, the better the understanding is. Luis played really well tonight [Monday]. He was unfortunate not to open the scoring. I think it’s satisfying for everyone we scored three goals.”

On Liverpool’s chances of qualifying for the Europa League, Dalglish added: “Every time we sit at the press conference we say exactly the same thing.

“Mathematically it’s possible, whether we get there or not remains to be seen.” — Sapa-AFP

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