Talking Points: Liverpool 3 Manchester City 0

Liverpool produced a scintillating attacking first-half display and an excellent defensive second-half performance to claim a superb 3-0 victory over Manchester City in their Champions League quarter-final first leg at Anfield. Goals before the break from Mo Salah, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sadio Mane put Jürgen Klopp’s side in a great position going into Tuesday’s return leg.

Rocking atmosphere sees bottles both off and on the pitch…

It’s always brilliant when Liverpool fans do a coach welcome, and the evidence of previous years shows that it helps massively on the pitch as well. The songs, the flares, the atmosphere. It creates scenes and stories that football should be all about. What isn’t acceptable of course is the handful of individuals who think it is ok to throw glass bottles at the team coach, and action will be taken against those responsible. But the majority of Liverpool fans there created a safe, legal but bouncing atmosphere that continued into Anfield and for the whole of the match. The only bottling that was seen once the game began was many of the Man City stars, who have been so good this season, failing to turn up and being completely nullified by their Liverpool counterparts. Pep Guardiola’s players were helpless as the Reds tore into them in the first-half and racked up three goals on the half-hour mark. It will certainly go down as another famous Anfield night, and Liverpool fans will celebrate long it the morning before attention will turn to the small matter of Saturday’s Merseyside Derby.

Worries about Alexander-Arnold vanquished as fullbacks on top form…

I’ll be the first to admit that I had concerns about Trent playing in this game after his struggles against Wilfred Zaha at the weekend. But my word, against City he produced one of the best performances you will ever see from a young defender in a game of such magnitude. Leroy Sane was probably the visitors’ main threat going into the game and during it, his teammates’ first thought was also to give the German winger the ball. It seemed to be a tactic deployed by Klopp and Trent to show Sane inside and let him cross the ball as City possessed no aerial threats and win so few of their aerial duels. But most of the time Sane was unable to do anything as he was constantly tackled and dispossessed by Trent and other Liverpool players helping to double on the winger. On the other flank fan-favourite Andy Robertson put in a typical Robertson display – superb in defence and tenacious in his pressing and work-rate to neutralise any danger from City’s right-hand side. Really impressive stuff from both of Liverpool’s fullbacks who will take huge pride from their efforts.

Ox and Milner provide energetic platform for victory…

Given all the injuries Klopp had to deal with in the build-up to the game his team selection became fairly straightforward, with the only decision really being who to play out of Gini Wijnaldum and James Milner. Wijnaldum often performs best in these types of games but Milner has been Liverpool’s best midfielder of late and has notched up plenty of assists in the competition so far this season. The latter was given the nod and Milner alongside Oxlade-Chamberlain was simply terrific all game. The pair led the Liverpool press and refused to give the likes of David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne any time on the ball, especially in the first-half. Ox’s runs in behind City’s midfield, just like the one he made to score in the League game at Anfield, were causing all sorts of problems. Milner and Ox even combined to score their sides’ second goal – Milner fizzing a pass into Ox who controlled it well before rifling a brilliant effort past Ederson and into the net. Ox was substituted later on but by that time his work had been done. Milner meanwhile was still pressing Man City’s defenders in the third minute of second-half added time, what a hero.

Attacking trident performs yet again…

Putting a bet on Mo Salah to score at any time nowadays is like printing free money for yourself. Who else was going to open the scoring for Liverpool? The Reds’ attacking trio were all involved in at least one of the three goals, with Salah and Mane scoring while Roberto Firmino assisted the Egyptian’s opener and Salah turning provider to cross for Mane’s goal. The three of them are just sensational and on a night where many saw it as Liverpool’s attack versus City’s, there was only one winner. City didn’t even manage a shot on target in the whole match while Liverpool could have been five nil up at the break. It was concerning though how quickly any sort of attacking threat from the Reds faded in the second-half, with the home side just unable to keep possession and it only looking a matter of side before they found a way through. Thankfully that didn’t arrive, but Klopp will be hoping his team learns some lessons from the second-half. The one major worry will, of course, be the injury to Salah with the Egyptian being substituted with what looked like a groin injury. Apparently Salah that everything is fine to Klopp at the end of the game, but we will have to wait and see whether Salah will miss any upcoming games.

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