Reds go nine points clear of “rival” Man City after impressive display at Anfield. Goals from Fabinho and Salah got things started, and one from Mane finished it.
Man City started the game brightly, having pretty much all of the ball for the first five minutes of the match. Liverpool couldn’t get a sniff. City thought they had a legitimate penalty shout for a handball in the box, and were furiously protesting to referee Michael Oliver. That was a mistake.
While city protested, Liverpool picked up the ball and lead a threatening counter which was eventually cut out, with the ball falling to Fabinho about 25 yards from goal. He calmly collected the ball, surveyed his options; and fired a rocket into the back of Claudio Bravo’s near post. 1-0 Liverpool. Anfield erupted.
The game slowly started to open up, as City were now chasing the game after six minutes. The Cityzens won a free kick in Liverpool’s defensive half, with magician Kevin De Bruyne stepping up to take the set piece. He fired a teasing cross into the Liverpool box, and found Raheem Sterling’s head, but his effort was put wide of Alisson’s near post.
As City began to find some fluency in their passing, attacking at Anfield only breeds catastrophe for visitors. After winning back possession, Trent Alexander-Arnold switched their field with a mouth watering ball to Andy Robertson, who somehow “one-upped” his counterpart and delivered a cross field pass to Salah who clinically finished with his head. 2-0 Liverpool after 13’. Two world class goals. Fortress Anfield was now in full voice.
After Liverpool’s second, the game completely opened up. Man City began to find their rhythm. Sergio Aguero was played into space after a fantastic one-man counter but De Bruyne, but pushed his effort wide of the far post. His Anfield struggles continue.
City came threatening on another attack short after, as City left back Angelino saw his effort take a deflection onto the far post, but deflected out for a corner and Liverpool cleared their lines.
Liverpool we’re constantly threatening throughout the half, Dejan Lovren went close with a header off a corner kick but ultimately pushed his effort wide. Roberto Firmino then found space at the top of the box on a Liverpool counter, made a lovely move but toe-poked his effort over the bar.
Mo Salah got away from his mark on the left, and was dispossessed after a crunching tackle. Salah stayed down as he looked to have aggravated his lingering ankle issue. After receiving some treatment, he was brought back to his feet and carried on.
After some smooth Liverpool play, Salah was played into space at the top of the box, smashed an effort on his favored left foot but saw his effort saved by Claudio Bravo. A very good save.
The whistle blew and the first half came to an end. 2-0 Liverpool.&
Both teams came out for the second half unchanged.
Almost instantly, Liverpool seemed to have closed this one out. Captain Jordan Henderson played a fantastic ball into the City box, and Sadio Mane converted the cross with a diving header at the back post. 3-0 Liverpool after 51’.
Jurgen Klopp then made his first sub, bringing on James Milner for Jordan Henderson in the 61’.
Pep Guardiola made his first sub of the evening in the 71’, bringing on Gabriel Jesus for Sergio Aguero. Aguero leaves the pitch without a goal, making it 11 appearances in total at Anfield for Aguero without a goal. Incredible.
Man City got a lifeline back into the game as Angelino found space on the left after a skirmish in the box, played a ball across the middle of the box and found Bernardo Silva who beat Alisson at his near post. 3-1 Liverpool after 78’.
Immediately after the goal, Klopp subbed on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for Roberto Firmino after having a go at the assistant referee for not giving the sub on a previous throw-in.
City went close to bringing it back to a one goal contest after a world class move by De Bruyne and Sterling, but failed to convert.
Liverpool made their final change in the 87’, bringing on Joe Gomez for Mo Salah.
Four minutes of stoppage time were awarded after the original 90’ were played.
Chants of “Liverpool, top the league, Liverpool, Liverpool, top the league” rang out around Anfield, followed quickly in succession by the always beautiful Kop rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone.
The full time whistle blew. Liverpool 3, Manchester City 1. The Reds now go 9 points clear of Man City, and 8 of Leicster and Chelsea. Next up: Crystal Palace.