LIVERPOOL 3, MAN CITY 1
It’s a long way back for Manchester City in their pursuit of a hat-trick of Premier League titles.
City’s comprehensive defeat at Liverpool leaves them nine points adrift of the leaders who are striving for their first title in 30 years.
Though the season not yet one third completed, City have already lost three of their 12 league fixtures to Norwich, Wolves and Liverpool.
They no longer look the near invincible team of the last two seasons and currently lie fourth with Leicester City also ahead of them.
After all the pre-match hype in the build-up to this Titanic clash of the Premier League’s top two, it was certainly a match that did not disappoint with spectacular goals and VAR controversy with City having claims for three penalties rejected.
Liverpool made a whirlwind start as goals from Fabinho and Mohamed Salah in the opening 13 minutes left City confronted by a mountainous job.
Sadio Mane added a third goal early in the second half and it was job done with Bernardo Silva’s late goal little more than a consolation.Embed from Getty Images
Pep Guardiola described it as “one of my proudest performances” as City manager.
“Unfortunately we lost and congratulations to Liverpool. It was a good game for both sides and a great advertisement for the Premier League,” he said.
He would not comment on the decision that went against his side saying questions ought to be directed to referees’ chief Mike Riley.
“Don’t ask me about decisions, ask the big bosses,” he said.
Guardiola added the game reminded him of the Champions League, quarter final between the two teams.
“Liverpool had three shoots and scored three times. Today they scored with their first two,” he explained.
Klopp described the game as “intense from the first second” and there was “a sense it was important for both teams”.
He said the first two goals were “incredible” and was especially impressed with the second one.
“I don’t think you will see a better goal, a 60 yard ball from the right back to the left back who took two touches and hit a 40-yard pass for Salah to score,” explained Klopp.
Klopp said his side deserved three points adding they may be nine points clear but there is a long way to go.
“People will say Liverpool can only lose it which is very negative, but we don’t care. We only focused on this game.
“Nine points is not important. Who wants to be first in November. We want it in May.
“Pressure is not there yet. It is just an opportunity and we are going for it.”
Ederson was ruled out through the injury picked up in the midweek Champions League game at Atalanta so Claudio Bravo took over in goal.
But there was cheer for injury-hit City as Rodri returned to the starting line up and David Silva was on the bench.
Sergio Aguero was, as expected, to get the nod over Gabriel Jesus up front as he made his 250th Premier League appearance.
Liverpool were at full strength with their formidable front three of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino all in the line-up.
After the electrifying and error-strewn opening, Liverpool made the breakthrough in the sixth minute through a fabulous strike from Fabinho.
City were furious, however, claiming they ought to have been awarded a penalty at the opposite end for a handball by Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Liverpool’s speedy counter attack ended with Mane crossing from the left, Ilkay Gundogan only clearing as far as Fabinho. The Brazilian advanced and walloped an unstoppable drive past Bravo.
It got better for Liverpool as they doubled the lead in the 13th minute following an amazing build up.
Alexander-Arnold’s superb crossfield ball released Andrew Robertson who raided forward down the left and crossed for Salah to head home from 10 yards.
It wasn’t until the 25th minute that City forced Alisson into action when the Brazilian goalkeeper dived to his left to turn away a shot from Aguero.
City gradually began to become more of a threat and overlapping left-back Angelino burst into the box and saw his effort strike the outside of the upright and Aguero fired narrowly wide.
Bravo kept out a Firmino shot with his legs after a terrific break by Alexander-Arnold as Liverpool remained a threat and the keeper also did well to deny Salah in what was a pulsating opening period.
City’s night got a whole lot worse when Liverpool added a third goal in the 50th minute.
Mane got on the end of a perfect cross from Jordan Henderson as he squeezed a header low past Bravo from four yards.
City made their first change with 20 minutes left when Aguero was replaced by Jesus.
They scored a consolation goal with 12 minutes left when Bernardo Silva fired home an excellent cross from Angelino.
Klopp was furious claiming Fabinho was fouled in the build-up.
It gave City momentum in the latter stages as Klopp admitted there were “heavy legs” as his side had put in so much effort into the game, though there was no way back from a 3-0 deficit.