Manchester city 1-1 LIVERPOOL
Liverpool came away from Manchester without being defeated. A share of the points went to both Premier League teams as an equal sided fixture ended in a draw.
Jürgen Klopp’s team would see Firmino return to the starting 11, shortly after a spell of injury kept him out of the side for a bit. Our central defence still has actual central defenders in it as Klopp keeps Lucas on the substitute bench more frequently than previous fixtures now. Klavan and Matip hold their places in the center of the back line. Henderson still isn’t at full fitness yet and the squad continues without their regular captain.
City had a former Liverpool player (Raheem Sterling) and Liverpool had a former Man City player (James Milner) yet the only fans who were booing were the City fans, every time Milner got the ball.
Regarding the weather, Manchester was pretty wet for this fixture. Liverpool have gone up against lesser teams in the rain and come away without a single point earlier in the season. It can effect your play and even your ability to get goals, but both Liverpool and Man City were able to score in this fixture eventually.
The scoreline wouldn’t be massive by the end of the game but this really didn’t reflect just how much attacking was done by both sides. Liverpool made multiple attacks and tried hard in their offensive duties within the game. Coutinho, Mané, Lallana and Wijanldum were all seen regularly running up the pitch at the Etihad Stadium to make their move on trying to score.
Early on in the game, Roberto Firmino would get himself booked after he threw in what looked like a rough challenge to win the ball in the middle of the pitch.
To be fair to Firmino, it really did look like he won the ball. Referee Michael Oliver mustn’t have been impressed with the roughness of the challenge that flew towards the Man City player though, as it quickly prompted him to pull the Yellow Card out for the Brazilian.
This had an impact on Liverpool’s game, because with Firmino needing to play more carefully and avoid a second booking so that he wouldn’t be sent off the pitch, he started to look less and less dangerous, usually giving the ball to a teammate instead of roughly pushing past players and shooting himself which would be his standard tactics.
Later on in the game when it was time to make substitutions, Coutinho was taken off the pitch but Firmino continued to play. I’d have taken the booked player (Firmino) off, personally. Klopp can do what he wants, though. He’s the boss!
Not longer after that Firmino challenge, Yaya Toure also ended up being reprimanded by the referee and receiving a yellow card for what was a two footed challenge directly into the chest of Emre Can. Only a yellow card?
That’s what he got but he could and should have had a red card for that. The referee didn’t seem to be on Liverpool’s side while making his decisions.
Later on in the first half, Wijnaldum was on his way towards goal with the ball when Vincent Kompany practically rugby tackled Gini down to the ground inside the penalty area. Very rough challenge but no penalty given.
Otamendi would also get in on the rough action, to bring Mané down to the ground as he was challenged for the ball within the penalty area but again, referee says “no” to the penalty claim.
The first half ended level and though both sides had their chance, the referee wasn’t helping much and no goals were seen until the 2nd half.
Liverpool started off the next 45 minutes like a new team. Within 4 minutes, Roberto Firmino had been making a superb run towards goal with the ball. At the last moment when Caballero looked like he was about to come off his line, providing Firmino for an excellent chance to score, Gael Clichy came in and swung a foot so high that he ended up kicking Firmino in the face! This isn’t a Karate tournament, this is football. You can’t kick people in the face, Mr. Clichy.
Despite no red card, Firmino was judged to have been clearly fouled and Liverpool were awarded a penalty. James Milner would take it and score it.
Milner hit his penalty powerfully and accurately to his left hand side of the goal. It may have hit the left post as it made it’s way into the net but it was always going in. The goalkeeper was sent the wrong way and never had a chance of stopping it. Even if Caballero had dived in the correct direction, it would have been very difficult to get that far over to reach the ball for saving it. Man City 0-1 Liverpool
So, Liverpool led from about the 49th to 50th minute and now the game was getting even more exciting. If City wanted any points at all, they’d never be able to just sit back and defend any more. They’d have to move their players up the pitch considerably to start looking for a goal of their own.
After much attacking from the 50th minute onwards, City eventually found the net themselves around the 68th minute.
Kevin De Bruyne threw in a crucial cross which found Sergio Aguero who managed to race past Klavan to connect with it and hit the ball past Simon Mignolet and into the net from close range.
Man City 1-1 Liverpool
Both Liverpool and Man City still had 20 minutes (and 4 minutes extra time) to get another goal for what would likely have been the winning goal of the game, to make it 2-1 (or 1-2). Neither side could achieve this though and so, it ended in a 1-1 draw, with a point for each team.
The closest Liverpool came to winning the game was when Adam Lallana was provided an assist at close range and in an excellent position but could only scuff the ball, not directing towards the goal. Had he connected properly, there would surely have been no coming back for Man City and Liverpool would likely have been the winners, taking all the points. It really was terribly disappointing that Lallana couldn’t convert his opportunity into a goal.
Klopp confirmed in a post match interview that Lallana’s first word after seeing him at full time were “sorry” and he had been referring to almost getting the match winning goal, but failing to do so. Well, apology accepted but please try a bit harder next time and we could be celebrating a win instead of a draw. 2 extra points are always useful.
Man Of the Match
James Milner never ceases to amaze me. He impresses in his defensive duties and impresses in his offensive duties. You never know where you’ll see him… getting back to defend our opponents attacks or racing down the left wing, to assist the Liverpool attackers. Or maybe taking a set piece, which he is so very good at. Free kicks, corners, throw ins, penalties. Milner’s the man for all those jobs. He works hard and has contributed to goalscoring by officially scoring 7 penalties this season, with the only Liverpool player to score more Premier League penalties than that being Steven Gerrard (who scored 10 pens back in 2013-2014). Well done, James!
Liverpool get their Merseyside rivals Everton to play next, this is always an entertaining fixture to watch. Don’t miss it!
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