On a night where Anfield hosted it’s first Champions league quarterfinal in nearly 10 years Liverpool came out on top as Klopp’s Men tore apart Guardiola’s Manchester city in the first 31 minutes. Salah, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sadio Mane all made the score sheet as Manchester City’s defense was left shattered in a brilliant display of counter attacking football from the home side.
Liverpool made couple of changes to their starting line-up, with Oxlade- Chamberlain coming in for Wijnaldum. While James Milner kept hold of his place in midfield in the continued absence of injured Emre Can. Virgil Van Dijk who missed the previous meeting between these two sides at Anfield was present in the backline alongside Lovren who replaced the injured Joel Matip. Guardiola had surprise package in his line-up as midfielder Ilkay Gundogan was given the nod ahead of ex-Liverpool player Raheem Sterling.
The KOP was in full voice as the game kicked off on an evening, which promised an enthralling game of football. Manchester City were composed in the first 10 minutes and Leroy Sane came close to breaking through the Liverpool backline only to end up side netting the goal. Twelve minutes into the game James Milner released Salah down the right hand side who slotted in Firmino. Ederson blocked Firmino’s shot. However, Firmino was quick to slide the deflected shot in to the path of Salah who made no mistake in smashing into the back of the net leaving Vincent company and Ederson helpless on the Manchester City goal line.
After the first goal Manchester City’s shape began to deteriorate and Liverpool began finding space much easier through the City midfield. Gundogan was brought in to dominate the midfield, which was one area Manchester City fell short in the game back in January. However, Liverpool’s high press was too much for the City midfield to handle. City began pressing much higher as well exposing space at the back. Kyle Walker and Laporte were caught off position several times by Liverpool wide men Sadio Mane and Mohammed Salah.
In the 20th minute a series of 50-50 challenges led to the ball eding up at the feet of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlian and he put his laces through to strike the ball hard into the goal. Ederson was wrong footed and the ball was already into the net before Ederson was even in the air. Guradiola was in disbelief as he found his side 2-0 down within the first twenty minutes.
Liverpool continued their high press and kept finding space in between the lines as Manchester were now sloppy in their play. Midfielders Gundogan and fernadinho gave away silly possession and it nearly cost city as Liverpool came close on the counter. In every situation Liverpool were quick to win the second ball, which proved to be crucial to the final result.
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Slightly after a third of the game had been played Salah had a shot deflected on Kyle Walker. Quickly recovering possession Salah lofted the ball towards Firmino and Sadio Mane who had made runs towards the City goal. Firmino missed but Sadio Mane was able to lad a sharp header which made it’s way into the goal putting the home side 3-0 up within the first 30 minutes.
Liverpool fans were treated to a different Liverpool side in the second half of the game. Neutrals watching the game may have been disappointed as they second half was lackluster. However, the Liverpool fans were surely please as they were able to see through a 3-0 game without conceding late on or giving away the lad as they have done several times in the past. Mohammed Salah suffered what appeared to be a groin injury and was taken off as a precaution. Georgino Wijanldum replaced the in-form Egyptian who went straight down the tunnel.
In the second half Liverpool’s now front two of Sadio Mane and firmino began dropping much deeper to support the midfield and defense which was on the receiving end of a series of attacking play from Manchester City who were looking for a way back into the game. Henderson and Milner ensured the Liverpool fullbacks; Andy Robertson and Trent alexander Arnold had enough cover to prevent any space opening up at the back.
With the derby in mind Jurgen Klopp made substitutions to much earlier than usual. Solanke replaced Roberto Firmino in the 70th minute. Additionally Alberto Moreno came on as well. Both these substitutions allowed Liverpool to strengthen up at the back while giving them a focal point for the counter attack in the form of Solanke. The game ended 3-0 in favor of the home side.
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The night saw the Manchester city bus get attacked by Liverpool supporters. The club had to issue an apology immediately after the incident. Additionally, Jurgen noted in his post match notes that Salah was alright and that the substitution was precautionary.
Overall, Liverpool were able to keep a steady shape and see out the second half and after the final whistle the Anfield faithful were relieved to know that their side would be taking a 3-0 lead into the Etihad next week. Allez Allez Allez echoed into night!!
Loris Karius (10/10) :- Karius was composed in goal and quick to release the ball to kickstart any potential counter attacks.
Alexander-Arnold (10/10) :- After taking some heavy criticism Alexander Aronold “Came Good” in this game, in the words or Rio Ferdinand.
Dejan Lovren (10/10) :- Lovren was up to the mark in the game and rarely made any mistakes.
Van Dijk (8/10) :- Virgil Van dijk carelessly gave away the ball a few times and was on the receiving end of some harsh words from captin Jordan Henderson during the game.
Andy Robertson (10/10) : – Andy Robertson once again proved how 8 million was a bargain deal as he completely dominated the left flank of the game.
Jordan Henderson (10/10 MOTM) :- Jordan Henderson was captain fantastic on the pitch and my Man of the Match. He was vocal and controlled the play in midfield. He also covered for Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander Arnold when city attempted a counter attack.
James Milner (10/10) :- James Milner brought all of his expericne to the field as he was a major physical presence on the field. The ex-manchester city star also bagged an assist as he played in the ball to Alex-Oxlade Chamberlan for his wonder strike.
Alex Oxlade- chamberlain (10/10) : – Chamberlain had an energetic evening and was high on the press from the start. Another amazing performance from the new signing, who has stepped up since the departure of Phillipe Coutinho.
Sadio Mane, Firmino and Salah (10/10) :- The front three were absolutely stellar and gave the city midfield and defense massive problems form the start. Additionally, all three of dropped back to help out when Manchester city were on the attack. It is no longer an understatement to say that Liverpool have the deadliest attack in Europe.