Selling a star midfielder earlier in the week, having a club-record signing injured, and having to play a team on a 22-game unbeaten run might faze a lot of teams in the Premier League.
Just not the Reds of Liverpool
In what was a dazzling offensive display in the Merseyside, Liverpool emerged victorious over Manchester City at Anfield on Sunday, beating the previously unbeaten league leaders 4-3, in what was a thrilling and explosive match.
The Reds began the match with tons of energy and motivation, playing at home against a team in great form.
They wasted no time getting the scoring underway as Roberto Firmino stole the ball in the middle of the park, allowing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to pick it up, run with, and provide a low, well-driven shot from outside to eighteen-yard box into the left corner to beat Ederson. 1-0 Reds.
From there, the game was end to end. City and Liverpool swapped chance after chance, as both defensive units came up big with stops.
City would not waste all their first-half opportunities, however, eventually finding the equalizer through Leroy Sane’s effort that beat his fellow countrymen Loris Karius at his near post. 1-1 All.
The half-time whistle came and so did some moans from around Anfield. An energetic first half ended on a bad note, and the supporters felt like Liverpool deserved more. And the Reds did as well.
Riding off energy from the crowd and the confidence they had gained from breaking down a stalwart City back four, the Reds worked the ball around well early on in the second half.
But it wasn’t clever play that led to Liverpool’s second goal on the day. In fact, it was Firmino’s physicality again that came into play.
After Oxlade-Chamberlain played a through ball to the Brazilian forward up top, Firmino muscled off John Stones (hit the gym, mate) and created an angle for himself to hit a curling chip shot that nicked off the inside of the far post. The lead restored at home. 2-1 Reds.
But Liverpool weren’t done just yet. Just a few moments later, Mohamed Salah won the ball on the right wing, dribbled in and squared a lovely pass to Sadio Mane at the top of the box. Mane composed himself and ripped a shot into the upper left corner of the net to send Anfield into a state of euphoria. 3-1 Reds.
In the words of Billy Mays: “But wait, there’s more!” Less than 2 minutes later, Salah tried to send Firmino through on net, but Ederson pulled a sweeper keeper move and came in to clear the ball. Well, he tried at least.
The clearance swirled right back to Salah, who took one touch before sending the ball back over Ederson’s head and into the net for a three-goal lead over the Citizens. You just don’t stop, Mo. 4-1 Reds.
Liverpool arguably made their biggest mistake of the match at this point. Up three with 22 minutes remaining, the Reds sat back, let City control the ball and seemingly invited pressure and shots. It worked well for the most part, when City super-substitute Bernardo Silva netted one back in the 84th minute, the leaders suddenly had life.
Liverpool handled the next few minutes well, clearing the ball and actually creating some opportunities that would’ve seen City off. Andrew Robertson, the left-back for Liverpool, actually found himself in the box after charging down the ball from across the field, but committed a foul in the process.
But the Reds found a way to make the game dramatic in the end, giving Ikay Gundogan time in the box to chest down the ball before sliding it past Karius with just 3 minutes remaining on the clock. 4-3 Reds.
With Anfield hearts beating fast, Klopp’s angry snarl in full view and Arlo White and Lee Dixon suddenly rooting for the visitors, City won a free kick just outside the penalty area in the last minute.
But the football gods would not rip the day from Liverpool, as Sergio Aguero’s effort off Kevin de Bruyne’s free kick was ruled offside and the win for Liverpool was confirmed. Unbeaten no more. Final 4-3.
- Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain played the game of his life today. A goal and an assist is great, but the England international was fantastic on the defensive end as well, winning tackles, making smart passes and being aggressive on every play.
- Mo Salah is the man. Seriously. I don’t know what else I can say about him that I haven’t already. He scores, he creates, he’s physical and he shined at Anfield in by far the biggest game of the season so far.
- Karius makes me nervous. That dude never looks confident back there. He made some solid saves but didn’t command the defense very well. I wonder why Simon wasn’t in.
- Despite the loss, City played like league leaders, and probable champions, when trailing 4-1. They controlled the ball, took their chances and scored goals. They got hit in the mouth by a stunning offensive performance from Liverpool, and didn’t deserve anything from this game. But City are still up 15 points on second place for a reason.
- Take that, Phil! Just kidding. It’s huge for Liverpool to have this kind of win, after a player of his nature left.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Roberto Firmino. Needs to work on finishing some of his shots, but his physical nature and offensive threat in this game gave Liverpool the edge they needed. Take a bow, Bobby.
Amazing game. They scrapped out 3 points in a win that was closer than it needed to be.
3 points and the Reds are in third place.
Thanks again. Chat me in the comments.