Liverpool torn apart by super City

Manchester City hosted Liverpool on Saturday – with Pep Guardiola’s side desperate for a win that would help close the gap to league leaders Arsenal. Their opponents sat sixth in the league, with Brighton and Brentford just a point behind the Merseyside outfit – but the Seagulls have two games in hand over Jurgen Klopp’s side.

MCI: Ederson; Ake, Dias, Akanji; Rodri, Stones; Grealish, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Mahrez; Alavarez

LIV: Alisson; Robertson, Van Dijk, Konate, Alexander-Arnold; Henderson, Fabinho, Elliott; Jota, Gakpo, Salah

City looked to take the lead eight minutes in as Kevin De Bruyne whipped a ball in towards Ilkay Gundogan at the far post – but the German midfielder’s back heeled finish from a tight angle was claimed well by Alisson to keep the game at 0-0. Early on, Pep Guardiola’s side seemed to be focusing their attacks down their left flank, putting Jack Grealish against an out-of-form Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Rodri could have scored the opener a minute later as he picked up the ball on the edge of the penalty box, and fired a powerful shot towards goal though Alisson was able to catch it fairly easily. City were back on the attack soon after though, and that earned them a free kick on the edge of the area as Jordan Henderson’s leg tripped Kevin De Bruyne. Riyad Mahrez’ effort whistled just wide of the far post.

Against the run of play, it was Liverpool that took the lead! Diogo Jota was sent through on goal after a long ball over the top from Trent Alexander-Arnold – but the Portuguese star was held up by Manuel Akanji. That wouldn’t matter though, as Mo Salah ran in from the right flank to steal the ball and power it past Ederson to give the visitors the lead!

Liverpool looked very threatening on the counterattack, and this time it was Harvey Elliott who sent Mo Salah through – but the Egyptian was dispossessed by Jack Grealish when he attempted to fire a cross into the box.

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City responded in sensational fashion less than a minute later. Riyad Mahrez found Ilkay Gundogan, who played it back out wide to Jack Grealish, and the Englishman fired a cross in towards Julian Alvarez who duly fired it past Alisson to level this incredible game. The hosts had a couple more chances towards the end of the first half, but Pep Guardiola’s side couldn’t make them count – and they headed into the break level.

Pep Guardiola’s side started the second half in the best possible manner, taking the lead less than a minute after play resumed. Riyad Mahrez was played in on the right flank, and the Algerian’s cross into the box evaded Alisson, finding Kevin De Bruyne who hammered it into an empty net to send the Etihad into rapture.

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Ilkay Gundogan wanted in on the action too, and he got his goal less than ten minutes later – taking advantage of a dire clearance from Trent Alexander-Arnold before placing his strike between the post and the English right-back to give City a remarkable lead.

Liverpool were understandably desperate for a goal that would bring them back into this tie, and felt they should have been awarded a penalty as Cody Gakpo was downed in the box – but replays showed that the Dutchman had dived, and Simon Hooper waved their appeals away.

City were next to score though, and it felt as if the goals would never stop coming for Pep Guardiola’s side. Jack Grealish fired home in the 74th minute, sending De Bruyne further down the left flank before receiving the return pass and sending it crashing past Alisson. It has to be said, Grealish has probably been the best player on the pitch for City this afternoon.

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Grealish came close to bagging his second in the 81st minute, receiving the ball from De Bruyne once again before he attempted to fire a volley past Alisson – but his strike was directed straight at the Brazilian ‘keeper.

The Reds looked for a late consolation goal in stoppage time, but it was a rather tame cross from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain that was claimed by Ederson. Ultimately though, it’s a well-earned result for Pep Guardiola’s side, who had been dominant ever since they scored their first goal to level the scores. It keeps the pressure on Arsenal at the top of the table, with the Gunners preparing to face Leeds United later on Saturday. It’s far from the ideal result for Liverpool though, as they are now susceptible to be leapfrogged by Brighton, Brentford and even Fulham.