Talking Points: Liverpool 4, Man City 3

Oxlade-Chamberlain (9′), Firmino (59′), Mane (62′), Salah (68′) // Sane (41′), B. Silva (84′), Gundogan (90+1′)

Liverpool put an end to Manchester City’s hopes of an unbeaten League campaign as the Reds came out on top in the game of the season at Anfield. Late goals from Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan made for an extremely nervous finish, but Klopp’s side held on and the strikes from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mo Salah proved to be enough to claim all three points from a pulsating encounter. Here’s The Anfield Talk’s Lewis (@TizTaz99) with the talking points. 

Vital win that was claimed in the way only Liverpool could… 

And breathe. As the dust settles at Anfield after Sunday evening’s extraordinary match, Liverpool players and fans alike will be able to celebrate what was a crucial victory. Before kick-off, especially after the news leaked that Virgil Van Dijk would miss the game with a tight hamstring, many Liverpool fans would have probably taken a point against a Man City side beating every team in their path. But while some may have been afraid to admit it, Pep Guardiola’s team have been far from their best recently and thus many believed that if City were going to lose a League game this season, away to a Liverpool side in a great run of form could well be said game. And so it proved. After a tense first half, Klopp’s side raced into a 4-1 lead and left City in a state of shock and disbelief. However, this is Liverpool Football Club and no game is ever won easily. The goals from Silva and Gundogan put Anfield on edge and supporters’ minds probably flooded with recollections of Sevilla earlier in the season and other games where good leads have been thrown away. Liverpool are likely the only team in World football capable of making games this complex. Thankfully by then City had used up their quota of late goals and the Reds emerged as winners. The three points take Liverpool up into third and above Chelsea, with a second place finish seemingly a real possibility now. Long may this brilliant run continue.

Reds execute pressing to perfection…

Much was made before the game about how Man City could be beaten, with the main way established as pressing their midfielders and particularly their defenders as they try to pass it out from the back, win the ball and then counter-attack at speed and just hope you take your chances. There is arguably no better team in the League at doing exactly this, and Klopp’s players did it to perfection. The midfield trio of Emre Can, Gini Wijnaldum and Oxlade-Chamberlain were superb, and the latter’s goal was exemplary of them forcing City into mistakes and driving forward to score. Emre Can gets far too much stick from some Liverpool fans, he really is a quality holding midfielder and turns up frequently in the big games. On the day that Arsenal lost at Bournemouth, Oxlade-Chamberlain surely cannot be happier about joining the Reds. Of course ahead of the midfield was the attack, who also all played their parts in getting the win. Mane and Salah tracked back and defended well – crucial against the dangers of City’s wingers and Kyle Walker, and did the business in front of goal too. It was the period between the 59th and 70th minute that Liverpool’s press really provided bountiful reward – capitalising on mistakes from Nicolas Otamendi, John Stones and Ederson to go 4-1 up. The red arrows at their best is truly a sight to behold.

Robertson letting no winger stand in his way…

First, it must be stated how fantastic Alberto Moreno was before his injury – the game against Sevilla aside the Spaniard has truly turned his Liverpool career around. But since Moreno’s injury, Andy Robertson could not have taken his chance in the side any better and is adding countless victims to ‘Robertson’s list’ – the Scotsman’s growing list of all the attackers he has pocketed this season. Raheem Sterling is the latest addition, being offered no chance by Robertson to make a mark in the game. Robertson’s defending is brilliant and consistently reliable, and he puts in a mean cross when given the opportunity. The moment that epitomised his hunger and desire was when he sprinted countless yards to press the City defence and Ederson one by one. You can tell that he is already gained the respect and trust of Liverpool fans, and it has been nice this season to be looking good in the full-back positions compared to last season’s James Milner at left-back and ‘can’t cross Clyne’.

We sold Coutinho, but that doesn’t matter because we’ve got…

Salah du du du du du du oh Mane Mane du du du du du du and Bobby Firmino! The departure of Philippe Coutinho will still of course hurt and annoy some Liverpool fans, especially given the news that Naby Keita won’t be coming early and a replacement for the Brazilian may not be signed until the summer, but the trio that have remained on Merseyside in Salah, Mane and Firmino will continue to provide plenty of attacking quality and brilliance as seen in Sunday’s win. Mane has not had the best of times recently, and when his shot hit the post it seemed like his bad luck would continue. But this is a player who is not deterred easily, and in very similar fashion to his finish against Burnley – Mane rifled a left-footed shot into the top-left corner. Magical, which is also funnily enough exactly how you could describe Firmino’s and Salah’s lofted finishes over Ederson and into the back of the net. As previously mentioned, the attacking trio worked their socks off, and just as importantly provided the killer instinct to finish when it was required. Whether attacking reinforcements will come in January, who knows. But with Salah, Mane and Firmino, Klopp has one of Europe’s best forward lines at his disposal.

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