Manchester City’s unbeaten streak in the league came to an end thanks to Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool’s excellent performance at the Anfield. The game had a frenetic nature to it but it seemed that both sides had an element of control over what was happening rather than the game being just about a lot of turnovers in possession. Two costly mistakes by Ederson and Stones proved fatal in the end for Guardiola’s men as this proved to be decisive in the final outcome of the game. The game had a of individual errors in it, and they were efficiently taken by either side in one of the best games of the season so far.
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Tactical Breakdown of the match:
- Liverpool started off excellently in the first half and were in complete control of the game. They ensured that City could not play out with ease and started off with great intensity. The first goal from Oxlade-Chamberlain inside ten minutes ensured that City had to chase the game.
Liverpool opened the scoring through Oxlade-Chamberlain but the goal had elements much more than just the excellent strike by the midfielder. Salah’s run helped open the space necessary to go with the shot, while Liverpool did excellently well to outnumber City in the midfield. This set the tone for the game
- Liverpool’s high pressing meant that City could not play out from the back during goal kicks. Edersn’s distribution did help in evading the press at times but Liverpool were able to manage themselves and shift quickly enough.
Liverpool did a great job in containing City for the majority of the half thanks to their excellent pressing. The work rate shown by Ox and Wijnaldum has been terrific so far and they have ensured that the passing options have been blocked well. The shifting in between the lines and also the lateral coverage was fantastic from Liverpool as they were able to keep a leash on what happened on the pitch. Despite City being able to play through Liverpool the odd occasion, the backline was solid enough and disciplined to keep City at bay. Kevin De Bruyne in particular had some dangerous moments when he was able to create a few openings for City, but Liverpool managed to keep them at shore.
- Man City scored as an error from Joe Gomez allowed Leroy Sane to cut in and score the equaliser for the away side. This was damning on Liverpool’s part as they were able to restrict City to minimal chances until the goal, to which Karius might have arguably done better, being beaten at his near post.
- The second half saw City come out controlling the game but Liverpool were able to set camp in their mid block.
Liverpool’s other approach for the half, initially, saw them set camp in a mid block that was effected with high intensity. Closing off the channels, they stayed compact in the centre and broke in numbers when they got the ball- cue Firmino’s goal. On the break, Liverpool punished City as they scored their second goal, down to some delightful play by Klopp’s men on the break. They were able to outnumber City in midfield and could break with pace, due to their forwards’ pace and incision.
- There was also the element of high pressing from Liverpool. They managed to get bodies up front and outnumber City in their own half, forcing dangerous turnovers.
Liverpool’s high pressing set City off into unstable possession and they were able to force City into misplacing passes. Sadio Mane hit the post the first time around but scored the next time, as Liverpool showed some really good pressing actions in City’s half. Mane was able to score the third goal with a wonderful strike on his weaker foot, after some excellent pressing in City’s defensive third. It was a bit surprising that Ederson was used a tad lesser than usual in buildup as every time they did bring the Brazilian into play, they were able to play out of the press, albeit very rarely.
- City showed great character to come back and score two goals, bringing the game to a very tense finish, despite almost being completely out of the game. They were able to take their chances in scrappy fashion in the last ten odd minutes, when the game turned into a typical farce with chaotic turnovers in possession.
Credit when due, Jurgen Klopp got his plan spot on and was able to get one over Guardiola as he put an end to the unbeaten streak of Man City. They also put four goals past the best defense in the league, something that is worthy of being lauded.
The match was fantastic in both tactical and entertainment terms, with a lot of quality on offer, largely down to the managers of both the sides. It will be interesting to see how the two teams carry on from here, as City’s unbeaten streak is over while Liverpool can kick start their bid to seal a top four berth this season. Having already beaten the likes of Manchester United away at Old Trafford earlier in the season, Guardiola can reassure himself that much of the tougher tests are over for his side. Jurgen Klopp meanwhile will be delighted that his side were able to hang on to a well deserved win.