Liverpool succumbed to a loss at the Etihad vs Manchester City in a crucial fixture for the title race. Read about the narrow 2-1 defeat here:
Interesting rumours surrounding the line-up were cleared come an hour before kick-off, with Robertson starting, the ‘powerhouse’ midfield of Henderson, Wijnaldum and Milner in a 4-3-3 and Trent featuring at right-back.Liverpool get us started for the first half at the Etihad, ex-City player Milner the one to commence the fixture.
Nerves from both sides see some sloppy passes, nothing comes from them besides a cross-field ball out for a goal kick from Aguero. Alisson gets a vital interception that prevents a sure goal for Leroy Sane after a ball into the box, played quickly, Fernandinho clatters into Sadio Mane but escapes a booking.
Liverpool struggling to escape their own third at this point, it shouldn’t worry Liverpool just now as they know City need to go for this game and should be comfortable playing on the counter for the moment. Fernandinho is seemingly a walking-yellow-card, hammering Mane and Robertson in the opening 6 minutes but not receiving any punishment, debatable decisions.
Energetic to begin would describe Guardiola’s side, going at Liverpool from the first whistle, the Reds find a chance through a counter-attack, with Trent’s cross collected after a few bounces, better than the minutes prior. A good tackle from Robertson on Raheem Sterling prevents a potential chance on goal, the score remains 0-0.
This fixture promises to be exciting and it is looking like it will once again deliver on that front, an energetic start from the home side has boxed Liverpool into their own half for the majority of the first 15, chances are coming to Jurgen’s men, however.
Potentially a moment that will be looked back on with regret for Liverpool, lovely football lead to a Mane shot on goal, onto the post is all he can muster, and City escape somehow, the goal of the season shouts from commentators and fans alike if that went in.
First booking, Lovren gets his name taken for a foul on Aguero, in other news, another Sadio Mane shot can’t find it’s way in. Dangerous position for the resulting free-kick but Aguero mistimes his run and is offside.This clash it really opening up now, the better chances coming for Liverpool, against the run of play though. Proving to be a great watch for the neutral, it really is end to end stuff at the Etihad.
Big chance for City, Sterling sees Bernando Silva racing into the box, but the Portuguese international hesitates to shoot, resulting in seeing his effort blocked and cleared out of the Liverpool area. Arguably a red-card for Vincent Kompany, shock from Liverpool fans when they see that he escaped with only a booking, off the floor, two feet, gets the ball second, horror tackle.
Corner ends in a foul on Virgil van Dijk, this man is worth every single penny (and so many more) transformed the Liverpool defence that was utterly incompetent before the arrival of the Dutchman. Speaking of Dutchmen, Wijnaldum is booked for a foul on Leroy Sane, 3 bookings in 38 minutes from the Manchester-born referee, strange decision.
At the worst time possible, just as the half enters it’s dying minutes, poor defending from Lovren sees Sane overtake him, the following mistake from Lovren has Aguero hammer home from an impossible angle. Horrendous defending puts Liverpool behind in a crucial game. 41 minutes, Manchester City 1-0 Liverpool.
No response looking likely for Klopp’s men, an uninspiring few minutes after the goal, not what you want to see if you’re rooting for Liverpool to come out victorious. Halftime.
An unchanged second-half from both sides substitution-wise, but perhaps a change in formation from Liverpool, looking more like a 4-4-2 than the previous 4-3-3. Mane fouls Sterling out on City’s right-wing, but escapes unpunished, unlike most before him.
Huge penalty shouts from the home fans, Robertson and Sterling collide in the box, but Sterling is deemed to have run into Robertson, and no foul is given, City have been lucky enough this game. This has been a poor game for multiple Liverpool players, Trent, Robertson, the midfield, all lacking what they usually have in abundance.
The first substitute for Liverpool, James Milner is replaced by Fabinho in midfield, it has been screaming for something new and this could well be it. 4-2-3-1 now looking like the system in play, Wijnaldum on the left, Mane on the right, Firmino behind the striker, who is Mo Salah. Approaching the hour mark, this is poor from Liverpool, sloppy and not even looking interested in scoring, let alone winning.
Please allow me to take back everything I just said. Beautifully crafted from Liverpool, the Reds level through Roberto Firmino’s head! Fullback to fullback, right to left, Robertson receives Trent’s pass and cuts it back to Firmino who equals! 65 minutes, Manchester City 1-1 Liverpool.
Complete mood change around the Etihad, Liverpool have drawn level and this game is incredible, the epitome of a brilliant football match. Fabinho has made a superb impact since his introduction to this game.
Jinxed it again… Leroy Sane puts City ahead again on a counter-attack. Lovren to blame again, playing everyone onside. 72 minutes, Manchester City 2-1 Liverpool. 75 minutes gone and Klopp sees it a fit time to bring on Xherdan Shaqiri for Sadio Mane, who has dropped a shocker tonight.
City are pressing high to try and contain Liverpool for these last 10 minutes, Sterling is presented with a chance, but Robertson contains him and prevents the home side putting the game to bed. Liverpool are resorting to going long due to desperation for an equaliser.
Salah goes close in the dying embers before injury time, only for his effort to get tipped wide by Ederson, it is most definitely not Liverpool’s day today, is it? A rough challenge on Fernandinho sends Pep Guardiola into an uproar, he is given a stern speaking to from the officials but manages to retain his spot in the dugout, leaving his reserved seat in the stands, empty.
Change number three, Sturridge comes on, replaces Wijnaldum, as desperate as it gets now from Klopp. Opposite side, opposite end of the pitch, Walker replaces Laporte and Kompany is replaced by Otamendi.
Silva is booked for catching Fabinho with a high boot, leaving the referee no choice but to take his name, the resulting free-kick is ineffective and the score remains stagnant. Alisson is called upon following a poor pass from Shaqiri, the rebound falls to Sterling, thumping it but narrowly missing the open goal.
A booking for Ederson due to time-wasting resigns Liverpool to defeat, the clock was just too far gone, and with that, the full-time whistle goals.
Full-time: Manchester City 2-1 Liverpool