Following Liverpool’s sensational dismantling of Man City at the Etihad, we pick five talking points from the comprehensive 4-1 victory.
Jurgen Klopp’s Reds turned in a magnificent performance to romp to a stunning 4-1 victory against Manuel Pelligrini’s City.
A grateful Coutinho then returned the favour, squaring for the sublime Firmino who notched his first goal for the club, to put the Reds’ in dream land as Klopp watched his side hand out a brutal 32 minute blitz of the home team.
Sergio Aguero reduced the deficit firing home from 25-yards in an incredible first half, before a composed second 45 minutes saw Martin Skrtel blast home a fourth to cap a memorable afternoon in Manchester.
Klopp’s Reds are really beginning to take shape, and here are the talking points from the resounding win.
The Boys From Brazil Blitz City
On a day key players were needed to step up, the brilliant Brazilian’s did just that with two masterful performances.
From minute one, City had no answer to the fluidity, tenacity and quality of Firmino and Coutinho, who ripped the home side to shreds time and again – especially in a simply spectacular first 40 minutes.
All three clear-cut chances in the first half were created by the Firmino (created 1) and Coutinho (2) partnership.
— Andrew Beasley (@BassTunedToRed) November 21, 2015
The pair linked for two of the Reds first three goals – with Firmino also grabbing an assist for Mangala’s own-goal after Coutinho’s through pass – and the flexibility and unpredictability they offered, with penetrating runs and clever interchanging, proved too much handle for the Blues.
But for all their brilliant work with the ball, their work off it set the tone for the afternoon, with the Brazil duo – aided by the excellent Adam Lallana – allowing the City’s defence and midfield not even a second’s rest as throughout their duration on the pitch.
Firmino leaves the field having been involved in all four clear-cut chances (created one, shot three) and also 'assisted' the opening goal.
— Andrew Beasley (@BassTunedToRed) November 21, 2015
Firmino could be have had a hat-trick with his finishing the only dampener on a great performance, while Klopp will hope the hamstring injury Coutinho suffered isn’t too serious, to ensure the boys from Brazil link up again as soon as possible.
Gegenpressing Proves Too Powerful
“Gegenpressing” was the buzzword surrounding Klopp’s arrival, and it provided the catalyst for an emphatic 4-1 victory.
The Reds were relentless all over the park – and especially in attack – engaging head-on in one-against-one battles all over the pitch quickly, aggressively and on the front foot, giving City absolutely no respite as Liverpool went straight for the throat.
Great work from Liverpool's front line pressing the City defence, Coutinho, Lallana and Firmino all pulling their weight. #LFC
— Jack Lusby (@jacklusby_) November 21, 2015
It worked, with Firmino, Coutinho and Lallana unsettling the home side from the front, and the energetic Emre Can and James Milner covering almost every blade of grass to support the attacking trio, as Lucas closed space well in his anchoring role.
When the ball went forward, it was met by a sharp and strong challenge from the solid back four, who nullified City’s threat at source more often than not, dealing with what they had to with the minimum of fuss for the most part.
The high-energy, front footed approach paid dividends again with the high quality that complimented work-rate off the ball, and Klopp will be thrilled as his side take to his methods like a duck to water.
Emre Can Commands Midfield
The German responded to a flat performance against Crystal Palace magnificently with a dominating display at the Etihad – made even more impressive considering the tough week endured.
From the first whistle Can was relentless with his chasing – thwarting City – while offering a composed figure in possession – helping instigate and support attacks as a marauding midfielder that the home side failed to stop.
For Emre Can to have the week he did, to then come and give a performance like that, shows he's made of something special.
— Ritchie (@JohnRitchie84) November 21, 2015
He ran the game between both boxes with his use of the ball intelligent throughout – including a superb back-heel that released Coutinho to set-up Firmino’s tap in.
Destructive and a driving force, the 22-year-old bossed the game, and when City enjoyed brief passages of control, he was disciplined in his positioning before winning the ball and using it wisely to set the Reds on their way again.
Also Emre's backheel has to be pass of the season
— Tom McMahon (@tomjpmac) November 21, 2015
He was harshly booked for a perfectly timed sliding challenge in the second half, but not even that could dispirit the sensational performance from Can, who is becoming an increasingly influential member of Klopp’s growing side.
New and Improved Big Game Mentality Key to Etihad Success
An almighty challenge at a bogey ground stood between the Reds and three points, but another showing of the fresh big-game bravery provided the points.
In comparison to under Brendan Rodgers, who won only once away from home against the ‘big-sides’, the Reds notched their second in as many ‘big’ away games under Klopp, with a fearless performance following the execution of the perfect plan.
Klopp watched on as his side blitzed City with their ambition, energy and belief, reflective of an attacking team selection from the German that provided the confidence that a result could be obtained – a far cry from Rodgers playing Firmino at wing-back and whimpering to defeat on the last trip to Manchester.
After winning 1 of the last 14 away league visits to Man C, Man U, Arsenal and Chelsea @LFC have won each of the last 2…
— Ged Rea (@ged0407) November 21, 2015
Liverpool – urged on by Klopp throughout – executed the plan perfectly, with excellence at both ends of the pitch while playing some real superb football, and picking up a result the manager convinced them could be achieved.
City had no answer to the confidence filled Reds, just like Chelsea three weeks ago, and Liverpool marched on to another thoroughly deserved victory at one of the league’s giants.
Reds Start Crucial Period Perfectly
The first fixture of a vital 11 in 42 days, Klopp’s men ensured they started as they mean to go on in Manchester.
The toughest of those fixtures, the Reds romped to victory at the Etihad, setting the tone for the upcoming games and handing a warning to the opposition who lie in wait, that this is the new animal that will be faced when taking on Liverpool.
Klopp’s side can qualify for the Europa League knockout stages on Thursday night – something they must do to relieve potential pressure further down the line – before struggling Swansea visit Anfield, a game that must see the sensational win backed up with another three points.
If the Reds can establish wins quickly and momentum can be found a strong run from games against Newcastle, West Brom, Watford, Leicester and Sunderland, could really catapult Klopp’s side into top four reckoning with the second half of the season to play.
A fantastic start it was, but it must provide the catalyst for further progress and a positive run over the coming weeks.
MAN CITY 1-4 LIVERPOOL