Welcoming Manchester City to Anfield on Wednesday evening, Liverpool romped to a 3-0 victory, producing an immediate response to the weekend’s disappointment.
Liverpool 3-0 Man City
Premier League – Anfield – Wednesday 2nd February 2016
Goals: Lallana 34′, Milner 41′, Firmino 57′
Days after a crushing League Cup final defeat to Manuel Pellegrini’s side, Liverpool took on City once again—this time in the Premier League.
Jurgen Klopp made five changes to his side for their return to Anfield, with Jon Flanagan and Divock Origi among those to come into the starting lineup.
Lucas Leiva, Mamadou Sakho and Daniel Sturridge all missed out through injury, while Philippe Coutinho and Alberto Moreno were rested, with the latter coming under fire after Sunday’s penalty-shootout loss.
Seemingly turning his focus towards the Europa League, Klopp’s selection was noticeably weaker than the City lineup, but his changes proved to be pivotal.
A frenetic start saw Liverpool look to impose themselves early on, compounded by a crunching challenge from Flanagan, operating at right-back for the evening, on former Reds winger Raheem Sterling in the opening stages.
City were the more sluggish of the two sides as the first 20 minutes played out as a stalemate, with no solid opportunities at either end.
Roberto Firmino found himself in a great position to test Joe Hart outside the penalty area on 22 minutes, but sent his long-range effort into the City goalkeeper’s clutches, spurning one of the best chances of the half.
Adam Lallana made the most of his opening from a similar position 13 minutes later, however, with the midfielder charging inside from the right to send a low shot trickling beyond Hart.
With the Reds 1-0 up after 35 minutes, the volume increased around Anfield, and a defiant Kop were rewarded soon after as James Milner met Firmino’s pass with a surging run, before poking the ball past Hart to put Liverpool two goals ahead.
The half ended with a goal-line scramble at the other end, but as Martin Atkinson called for the interval, Liverpool were looking comfortable and confident.
Anfield was handed another moment of positivity at half-time, with Sterling replaced by Wilfried Bony as Pellegrini changed up his attacking unit, while Kelechi Iheanacho joined the Ivorian soon after.
This did little to disrupt Liverpool’s momentum, and some powerful off-ball work from Lallana saw the England international lay on his side’s third just before the hour mark.
Latching onto a loose ball 30 yards out, Lallana dancing through flailing City legs and threaded a pass into the path of Firmino, who coolly placed the ball beyond Hart.
After vowing to “strike back” from Sunday’s defeat, Klopp’s side were in full flow at Anfield, pressing high and winning every challenge.
This saw tempers flare up throughout the City midfield, with both Jesus Navas and Fernando leaving challenges in on the inspired Lallana, highlighting the No. 20’s dominance.
With Liverpool cruising, Klopp sent on Christian Benteke and Joe Allen, allowing Origi and Firmino rest ahead of this Sunday’s clash with Crystal Palace.
The Reds then took their foot off the gas, with a late free-kick from Jordan Henderson giving Liverpool their best opportunity to make it 4-0, while City offered little in response as the contest played out to an enjoyable conclusion.
TIA Man of the Match: Adam Lallana
Liverpool: Mignolet; Flanagan, Toure, Lovren, Clyne; Henderson, Can; Milner (Ibe 88′), Firmino (Allen 75′), Lallana; Origi (Benteke 69′)
Substitutes: Ward, Skrtel, Moreno, Allen, Ibe, Coutinho, Benteke
Man City: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Otamendi, Clichy (Kolarov 74′); Fernando, Fernandinho (Iheanacho 55′); Navas, Silva, Sterling (Bony 46′); Aguero
Substitutes: Caballero, Sagna, Kolarov, Mangala, Demichelis, Bony, Iheanacho
LIVERPOOL 3-0 MAN CITY
REPORT: Reds strike back in style at Anfield
REACTIONS: “Fantastic performance from all”
RATINGS: Can, Flanagan and Toure shine