LIVERPOOL 3-0 MANCHESTER CITY
Liverpool have gotten their first Premier League win at Anfield of 2016. Previous Premier League fixtures at our own stadium had seen the home side draw with Sunderland, lose to Manchester United and draw with Arsenal this year.
After recently choosing to use Lucas and Sakho in central defence but both currently attempting to recover from short-term injuries, Klopp would now go back to using Kolo Toure and the recently returned from injury Dejan Lovren. Jon Flanagan would also get to start, a welcome face as the local lad has waited many months to return to action after operations on his knee that kept him out on the sidelines since Brendan Rodgers was his manager.
Martin Skrtel is fit enough to be included in the squad now, but was just an unused substitute for this fixture. We would see Joe Allen play after returning from injury though. He came on late in the game (75th minute) and had a volleyed shot from 20 yards around the 91st minute that almost became a goal to remember shortly after Christian Benteke headed a pass to him, but it went just over the crossbar instead of into the top of the net.
Daniel Sturridge is reported to have had cramp after the recent League Cup Final and would not be a part of the squad at all for this fixture. While cramp is definitely not a long-term injury, he would not be risked to provoke it further and Divock Origi would make a start for Liverpool, with Benteke as a substitute striker. Benteke did get to play from the 70th minute.
Liverpool’s first half went rather well. In the first half hour of play we saw shots attempted by James Milner and Adam Lallana, though both would be blocked by Man City defenders. It wouldn’t be our best attempts to score though as we’d see a couple of Liverpool goals give us a 2-0 lead by half time.
The first Liverpool goal came around the 34th minute when James Milner gave the perfect pass to Adam Lallana who was in just the right place to shoot and would strike a shot from outside the Man City penalty area, powerfully placing a long-range left-footed effort between a couple of City defenders and into the bottom right corner of the net. Liverpool 1-0 Manchester City.
The next Liverpool goal came just 7 minutes later when as Roberto Firmino could have taken a shot from the edge of City’s penalty area but decided unselfishly to pass it off to James Milner who moved into the box a little before striking a left footed shot past Joe Hart and into the bottom right corner of the net. Liverpool 2-0 Manchester City.
By the time the 2nd half would start, Wilfried Bony had replaced Raheem Sterling and the fans actually cheered that we would not need to see Sterling play at Anfield any more, his selfishness and greediness over the transfer to Manchester City he’d make saw Reds fans develop a strong dislike for him now. Players aren’t supposed to play for the money, Raheem. They’re supposed to play for the club and you had a club which had turned you from a youth player into a senior squad member and first team Premier League star. You repaid all their hard work with disloyalty and betrayal, mostly because you just wanted to earn more money than Liverpool were offering to you. You had started using your agent to attempt to negotiate new contracts that were all insisting you’d be going from around £35000 per week (as if that’s not enough for anyone to earn on a weekly basis) to more than £100,000 per week. We wouldn’t be held to ransom so your only choice was to leave our club for one with billionaire owners that would agree to pay your exorbitant wages and our fans can’t really forgive that. That’s why your exit was met with cheers and we were all glad to see you leave.
Liverpool’s second half started well. Kolo Toure played a nice through ball to Divock Origi early on, but Origi was just offside unfortunately. Origi would get to take another shot (this time on-side) after James Milner provided a pass to his teammate. It was saved in the middle of the goal by Joe Hart but Liverpool were looking dangerous and likely to score again.
It would not be very long before we’d see Liverpool score again, around the 57th minute. Adam Lallana had the ball on the edge of the (Man City) penalty area, although he had a few defenders closing in to take the ball from him. He’d have just enough space to provide Roberto Firmino with a pass as he ran into a dangerous position inside the penalty area and Firmino would strike the ball with his right foot and shoot it with accuracy past Joe Hart and into the bottom right corner of the net for Liverpool’s third and winning goal of the game.
All of Liverpool’s goals were assisted by teammates who also scored. Lallana had assisted Firmino for his goal in the second half. Firmino had assisted Milner’s goal and Milner had assisted Lallana’s goal in the first half. There was a lot of teamwork going on that repaid unselfish play which had provided assists and goals throughout the game in both halves. With the team playing this way, it’s difficult to choose a Man Of The Match, since any of these three players at least would deserve it for both 1 goal and 1 assist. However, of the three I would actually say that James Milner really worked just a little harder than the rest against his former club. Aswell as his assist and goal, he spent more time shooting and attempting to increase Liverpool’s lead beyond the three goals we already had. He did not ever give up in his efforts to secure our win. It was great to watch him play and you could see that he wanted nothing but victory every time he had the ball. James Milner is the Man Of The Match.
So Liverpool would keep on playing from the time of the third goal until the final whistle, and won without conceding at all against Manchester City. The only possible bad thing about our victory was that it brought about feelings for Liverpool fans that “we should have played this way at Wembley, to win the League Cup Final”. It’s clear that Liverpool can (and previously have) beat Manchester City, even within 90 minutes. If the Final was a two leg tie and this was the 2nd leg, then Liverpool would have won 3-1 on aggregate! Unfortunately, that’s not the way it is and the only thing we can get from this “revenge” is that by the end of the Premier League season, Manchester City may have needed the 6 points we’ve taken from them in league games to win the Premier League title. If they fail to win the Premier League this season, we can say “we stopped you winning the league” but I’m sure most fans would rather be saying “we stopped you winning the League Cup”.
It leaves disappointment and frustration that we did not manage to secure the trophy we had worked so hard for in every round of the competition, against a team we know how to beat. We may still however be able to use these points gained to attempt for a top 5 or top 4 place by the end of the season, with Liverpool only 6 points away from the teams in those places right now and ten games left to play. If the teams there (Manchester City and Manchester United) lose two of their ten games, it gives Liverpool a chance to catch up (by winning as their rivals lose) and claim a European qualification spot.
There were some landmarks made in our fixture, also.
Liverpool have passed the 1500 Premier League goal mark now.
So, we move on from our bitter-sweet victory against the League Cup Winners and will soon be playing Crystal Palace in the Premier League, just a few days before our Europa League encounter with Manchester United. I hope you’re ready for all this. We go again!
Walk on with hope in your hearts, Anfield Family. You’ll Never Walk Alone.
[written by] Stuart Drewery.
I’m an Englishman (born and raised in Liverpool in the 80s). My whole family including my parents and grandparents were Liverpool fans so I was born into being a red.
I’ve seen Liverpool win the league (more than 25 years ago) and I’ve been 100% loyal and committed while supporting the Reds through all the good times AND the bad times since the 80s.