LIVERPOOL 4-3 Manchester City

Liverpool have just beaten Manchester City!!! Yes, it’s true. The side that sits about 15 points clear of everyone else at the top of the Premier League table and hadn’t lost a game all season was just defeated by Liverpool at Anfield.

The lineup had a couple of very  noticeable differences. First of all, no Virgil Van Dijk. He’d gotten injured very recently, with Jurgen Klopp not being able to select him even on the substitute bench due to a hamstring injury. Then… well, do you see Coutinho anywhere? NO?

Well, he’s not injured or suspended, he’s left for Barcelona. His “dream club” as he says. As if playing for Liverpool isn’t enough of a dream, he has to go live his dream of playing professional football in Spain. Well, he’ll surely be regretting his decision if Liverpool start to win trophies (remember when Michael Owen left for Spain as he signed for Real Madrid in 2005? We won the Champions League without him – he could have had a winner’s medal) and we’re doing perfectly fine against the top Premier League clubs without him. Doing well in cup competitions too. Progression past Everton in the FA Cup will see us continue to a fixture against West Brom, a team who we’re unbeaten against this season. We’ll surely not lose in that and with some more lucky draws to go up against a few more teams we’ve beaten before, could continue to the FA Cup Final eventually. No exaggeration here, it’s possible we’ll get to that Final but there’ll be no medal for a certain Brazilian if we make it there.
We’ll also be continuing our Champions League campaign as we begin going up against FC Porto from the middle of February to early March and they certainly are not the toughest team in the whole competition. With a good chance of progression to the next round and beyond, Liverpool may keep on going all the way to the Champions League Final without him.
Does he even know what he’s done? I’m not saying this out of spite or bitterness. It’s mostly pity I feel for him, at the fact that he cannot share in Liverpool’s success any longer. All he had to do for that was stay loyal to the club (Liverpool) that turned him from a Serie A (Italian league) player that Inter Milan quite easily could continue without, into a globally known (Premier League and beyond) “priceless” superstar. He was worth £8M when we bought him. Now, Barcelona had to give up at least £140M to lure him away from us.
I just hope he understands that this (like Michael Owen’s transfer) could end up being one of the biggest regrets of his entire career.

ANYWAY… back to the game.

Liverpool were never going to have an “easy time” going up against the currently 1st placed Premier League team. Manchester City have not won at Anfield in a very long time but the run they were on this season made it seem like maybe they’d have a chance of doing it this time around.Having said that, Liverpool only needed just less than ten minutes to take a lead.

Oxlade-Chamberlain would open up the scoring in the 9th minute as he pushed forward before unleashing a low, powerful effort from 20 yards away that smashed into the far corner of the net. Liverpool 1-0 Man City

 

Surprisingly, there was no quick reply of a goal for the visitors. Liverpool kept their lead for most of the 1st half. It was only when the 41st minute came that Man City drew level. Karius had been making some good saves against players like De Bruyne and Aguero. It was unlucky then that Sane would unexpectedly get past Joe Gomez and was able to take a powerful shot from a narrow angle that crept past Karius and into the net. Liverpool 1-1 Man City and it would stay his way until half time and beyond.

Once the break had finished, both teams came back out to see if either could stop the Dreaded Draw from happening and maybe claim all 3 points. It wasn’t a very defensive game, both teams seemed determined to attack with every possession of the ball and push for the win. Risky tactics, leaving you open for counter attacks. Exciting football for the fans at least.

The next goal would come in the 59th minute and would bring a flurry of 3 goals in 9 minutes for Liverpool. Firmino was next up for putting himself onto the scoresheet as he legally (not fouling) pushed Stones off the ball before delicately lifting a shot accurately over Ederson. Liverpool 2-1 Man City

Two minutes later, Liverpool are looking to increase their lead. Mane had already recently clipped the outside of the post, but obviously wasn’t satisfied with being denied. He’d straighten up his shot this time and made sure it went into the net, scoring Liverpool’s third (in the 61st minute). Liverpool 3-1 Man City. 

The attacks kept coming from the home side at Anfield but if you’ve been watching us for the whole season, you wouldn’t have been surprised at this and will know why we didn’t just sit back and defend the two goal lead. We’ve seen Liverpool go as much as 3 goals up this season so looking for a 4TH goal wasn’t cheeky or greedy. It was basically, ensuring that we’d be able to avoid a 3-3 draw. Nobody wants that Dreaded Draw.

The 68th minute saw Ederson rushing off his line to attempt a clearance… but it’s “cleared” straight to Salah, who from 40 yards out coolly chips the ball over Ederson who never has a chance to save it, only being able to watch it float right into the net behind him from range. Liverpool 4-1 Man City 

So after all the celebrations are done with and the referee has taken the ball back to the center circle for kick off, the game still has about 20 minutes of regular time left to play.

Raheem Sterling gets himself booked for a late challenge, then the manager Guardiola decided that he was done for the day. As he was substituted off the pitch boos and jeers around Anfield sounded out for the former Liverpool player who had decided he wanted the mega-bucks at Manchester City back in the summer of 2015. Bernardo Silva would come onto the pitch and made quite an impact in a short time.

By the 79th minute, Emre Can was replaced by James Milner. Can received a much deserved round of applause, having worked very hard for Liverpool, never letting up in his efforts to help us claim victory.

The 84th minute saw a ball delivered perfectly over the Liverpool defence to Bernardo Silva. I did mention that he’d make an impact since being substituted on and he’d do that by scoring. He was waiting at the far post and didn’t need to be incredibly accurate for striking the ball from very close range into the net, making it Liverpool 4-2 Man City.

Liverpool still have a two goal lead… for now. Though that would turn into a 1 goal lead soon! The reds got more and more nervous as each minute passed by. At the 90th minute, FOUR minutes were declared as added on for extra time to be played at Anfield.

In the 91st minute, there was another goal! Gundogan met a cross, chesting it down and then striking it past Karius. STILL 3 whole minutes to be played and the score is Liverpool 4-3 Man City. 

A draw is within our opponents reach and Liverpool are doing all they can to just keep the ball away from the visitors now as any touch they get could be yet another push forwards towards Karius to put the ball past him. Can’t let that happen! The win has to be fought for. Or else it’ll be a draw. Doubtful that they’d keep going for a 5th goal and a win but taking two points away from Liverpool would be just as serious as a loss, really. We want all three points!

The 93rd minute sees James Milner make a hasty challenge and he gets given a yellow card. Mane comes off and is to be replaced by Ragnar Klavan. We all know how he had a massive impact on the Burnley game (this year) beyond the 93rd minute as he scored a late header. Could he score again? Maybe not, but the least he can do is stop City from scoring. Defend, oh mighty defender.

The 94th minute came and it was time for Manchester City to take their free kick after that horrible Milner challenge. The referee’s likely to blow up shortly after it’s taken but that doesn’t mean City can’t grab a goal before the game ends.
De Bruyne takes the free-kick…  Aguero meets it at the near post but his header hits the side netting. The linesman had called it as offside anyway! He could have scored and it wouldn’t have counted. What a relief. The final whistle blows up and Liverpool have won!

Man of the match

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (also known as OX to fans) worked “as hard as an ox”. Yeah, not so funny. I know. Still, this player had a great pass rate and assisted a goal as well as scoring himself. His goal was the one that set Liverpool’s domination over Man City into motion. Taking a lead within 9 minutes over the current Premier League leaders was quite an achievement and he didn’t stop there. Many of Liverpool’s attacks began or ended with him and he didn’t just try to do everything himself. He’s a team player that will be very important to Liverpool in the future. Keep your eyes on Alex, he’s already been scoring more goals for us than he did in over his last 70 games (about two full seasons) for Arsenal. I think we give him a more important role here. With Coutinho gone, he’ll have one less thing to worry about as his position is not in danger of becoming “back up”. He’s one of our key attackers. Just let him run free at the far end of the pitch and I’m confident we’ll see more great performances and goals from him yet.

What’s next? 

Swansea away, within a week. We beat them just after Christmas Day 2017. 5-0.s Now we’ll have another chance to claim 3 more points from them. I hope you look forward to that. 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.

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