Football: Pellegrini shoots down criticism that his tactics led to City's loss against Liverpool

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini

LONDON - If you were to ask Premier League fans which attacking players they would like their clubs to sign, the likes of Manchester City's Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and David Silva would be at the top of most wish-lists.

Put them in a rigid 4-4-2 formation like City manager Manuel Pellegrini, however, and they may not be so keen.

For all of Manchester City's attacking riches, the champions' out-dated tactics are not lighting up the Premier League and they are in serious danger of losing their crown.

After playing with two strikers and neglecting the midfield battle during Tuesday's 2-1 Champions League defeat by Barcelona, Pellegrini attracted criticism.

By opting to stick with the same formation against a re-energised Liverpool on Sunday, the Chilean scored an own goal as stunning goals from Jordan Henderson and Philippe Coutinho helped Brendan Rodgers' side to a 2-1 victory.

With Yaya Toure alongside Fernandinho in the centre and Silva and Samir Nasri on the left and right, City were over-exposed in midfield and not the creative force many would have predicted.

Liverpool's attacking trio of Coutinho, Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling skipped around City's uninspired formation at will, leading to further suggestions they need to change their approach.

Pellegrini, however, does not agree. "The formation was not the problem. It was the best decision. In the first half, it was a close game," he told reporters. "When they won the game, we were playing with just one striker so that wasn't the problem. I think they scored two beautiful goals, both from the edge of the box and impossible for Joe Hart to save. "It was a close game, we had chances - David Silva, Kun (Aguero) hit the post and had another chance."