MANCHESTER CITY 5-0 LIVERPOOL
Some days in life are simply not worth remembering. For Red fans, yesterday’s match proved to be something similar.
Liverpool went to the Etihad stadium hoping to show some brilliant attacking game. However, one event in the 37th minute changed the entire course of the match for the Reds, following which a strong Manchester City side, utterly dominated against Liverpool.
Klopp fielded a fairly balanced squad for this away fixture, although some fans and experts did express a bit of doubt towards the defensive group. Liverpool were to play in a 4-3-3 formation that’s been so commonly employed by Klopp of late. However, despite the return of star playmaker Philippe Coutinho from Brazil, he was left out of this fixture probably as a cautionary measure going into a crucial UCL fixture in the midweek. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was also kept on the bench for the fixture, with a possible hint that the new signing would indeed be getting a debut as a Red player.
Both teams looked fairly dangerous in the attacking situations in the early first half, although, none of them could manage to find the back of the net for the first quarter. Manchester City saw good runs from Gabrial Jesus and Kevin de Bryune, while Liverpool answered equally well through Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. Liverpool did miss the opportunity to capitalize from two promising free-kicks, with Alberto Moreno and Emre Can both failing to score in their respective attempts. One could fairly argue that perhaps Trent Alexander-Arnold should have been handed the responsibility of taking set-pieces for Liverpool, considering his excellent demonstration against Hoffenheim in the second leg of the Champions League playoffs.
However, the deadlock would be broken in the 24th minute as a clever run by Sergio Aguero following a perfect pass by Kevin de Bruyne resulted in a 1-vs-1 situation against Simon Mignolet, which the Argentine star had no problem in capitalising. It was now City 1-0 Liverpool.
Considering the way that Liverpool had thumped Arsenal at Anfield in their previous Premier League fixtures, fans hoped that Klopp’s army would somehow get back into the game. Despite the strong defensive lineup that City boasted, Liverpool’s attempts at attacks did try to hint that maybe a successful attempt could follow sooner or later.
Yet, all of these hopes for Liverpool’s fans would end in the 37th minute when Sadio Mane unintentionally committed a major foul against the opposing goalie Ederson Moraes, while trying desperately to create an 1-vs-1 situation. While Mane had his eyes fully on the ball, he couldn’t see Ederson jumping forward to prevent the ball, and when the Senegalese attacker raised his feet, it directly hit the goalie’s face resulting in a concussion-type injury. As the goalie was lying down and Mane was trying to make sense of what had just happened, the referee showed no mercy and handed Liverpool’s star midfielder a red card and he was off! While Klopp and fans protested, there was no denying that the challenge was somewhat reckless and had caused injury to the Ederson. Ultimately, Ederson had to be substituted and Claudio Bravo would take the responsibility of the city goalpost. This incident came to be the changing point of the game.
Now Liverpool were left with 10 men, having to defend 11 players from a really strong City lineup, which also boasted a lot of quality attackers on the bench, and worst of all, the Reds were already a goal down. Most fans knew that only a miracle would be able to save the Reds from certain defeat. That miracle was not to come this day.
In the injury time of the 1st half, Liverpool would concede their second goal through a header by Gabriel Jesus off a cross from Kevin de Bruyne, that easily beat Mignolet. The Reds were now 2-0 behind.
The best that Liverpool fans could hope in the second half was to reduce the margin of defeat by the least possible. However, Klopp decided not to hold the defense and instead handed Oxlade-Chamberlain the opportunity to make his debut for the club, replacing Mohamed Salah.
However, City were already starting to look unstoppable and in the 53rd minute Gabriel Jesus would end up scoring his second and his team’s 3rd goal through an assist by Sergio Aguero. It was 3-0 and was almost clear that Liverpool wouldn’t be taking any points from the game.
Klopp finally decided to deal with the weak defense and brought in James Milner in the place of Georginio Wijnaldum. However, it was too little too late, as Manchester City had already brought in a pair of talented and fresh legs in the form of Leroy Sane to incite more damage to a worn out Liverpool defense.
In less that 20 minutes of his arrival, the German striker would score his 1st goal through a volley, making the scoreline 4-0. In the dying moments of the game, he would add another from outside the box to add to his tally and finish the game 5-0.
While the score does look embarrassing for the Reds, it has to be said that Liverpool could have got something from the game, if Mane hadn’t been sent off. Over the years, Manchester City has been similarly prolific against other top opponents with a man down (e.g., against Manchester United in 2011). Red cards in the early parts of the game can easily make way for a one-sided encounter and this occasion was no different. Even the opposing manager, Pep Guardiola confessed that the result would have been entirely different without the sending off of Mane.
So, perhaps fans need to be fair towards the Reds and not spell out their negativity just yet. It’s just the 4th game of the season with 38 games and to be fair, we haven’t had the worst start too. It was just one of those days when things just go bad. So let’s keep our calm and hold our heads up high.
Our next match will be a Champions League fixture against Spanish powerhouse Sevilla at Anfield on the 13th of September. Anfield Family will surely be looking at that match as well. Hope that the Reds will be able to bounce back and bring joy to fans again. YNWA.