A Sadio Mane sending off shaped a game in which Liverpool performed poorly at both ends of the pitch, losing 5-0 away to Man City
Man City 5-0 Liverpool
Premier League, Etihad Stadium
September 9, 2017
Goals: Aguero 24′, Jesus 45+6′, 53′, Sane 77′, 90+1′
Simon Mignolet – 6
Hung out to dry by the hopeless and hapless defenders in front of him.
Had an easy early save to make from Kevin de Bruyne, and a slightly bigger test from a Fernandino shot from distance.
He was rounded by Sergio Aguero as the City striker broke through unopposed from De Bruyne’s excellent pass.
Saved well with feet from a close-range effort from John Stones following a corner, and spared Joel Matip‘s blushes in the second half as his team-mate diverted the ball goalwards.
Made another good save later on but was powerless to stop the onslaught from City as they took full advantage of their extra man.
Miskicked a back pass for Mignolet out for a corner in a moment which summed up the difficult time he had throughout the game.
Fouled De Bruyne in a dangerous area but recovered with good defensive intervention in a central position not long after.
Regularly committed too early in the challenge, allowing attackers to find space to get crosses in.
Joel Matip – 4
Was nowhere near dominant enough against the evasive Aguero and Gabriel Jesus, and often left gaps between himself and Ragnar Klavan which the opponents exploited with ease.
Occasionally good bringing the ball out, but as a defender he needs to be better in the other side of the game against opponents of this level.
Diverted a cross goalwards in the second half but Mignolet bailed him out with a fine save.
Ragnar Klavan – 3
Despite a good early block on De Bruyne, he went on to have a torrid time on his return to the side and looked uncharacteristically uncomfortable on the ball.
Made a meal of playing out from the back, allowing Jesus to get the better of him and eventually work a shot on goal.
Never really recovered from his early errors and you’d expect Dejan Lovren to start the next game.
Alberto Moreno – 6
One of those rare occasions where a poor Liverpool defensive display can’t be blamed on the Spaniard.
Couldn’t make inroads in attack as he would have liked, but kept Kyle Walker quiet throughout the game.
Jordan Henderson – 4
Good cross to the far post for Roberto Firmino who couldn’t make anything of it. Tried the same again but there were no team-mates anywhere near where he aimed it.
Poorly aimed long ball was intercepted by Fernandinho who sprang Aguero, leading to City’s third goal.
Couldn’t rally the troops in the second half as they looked to pick themselves up after going two goals and a man down, and provided little in the way of support for the defenders.
Was outmuscled by Fernandinho in the buildup to the first goal, and was generally second best in most of his midfield battles.
Taken off in the second half, which shows Klopp sees him as a key part of the team ahead of Wednesday’s game against Sevilla.
He, along with the rest of the squad, will be hoping to put this performance behind him as the club returns to the Champions League.
Emre Can – 5
Helped out in defence more than Henderson, and moved to the centre of the back three in the second half, showing his versatility.
However, once in the back three he was just as culpable as Matip and Klavan when it came to losing City attackers at vital moments.
Had a shot from distance easily saved, and another from a free-kick which went well wide.
Mohamed Salah – 5
Move on Nicolas Otamendi took the ball through the defender’s legs and led to a free-kick in a dangerous area.
Burst down the right put him in a good position but there was no end product as he passed the ball into Ederson’s arms rathe than shooting.
Was put through on goal by Sadio Mane but again he couldn’t finish what was probably the best chance Liverpool had.
Withdrawn at half-time, probably with the midweek Champions League game in mind, but perhaps also because he lacked any cutting edge despite getting into numerous good positions.
Roberto Firmino – 5
Did his work in deeper areas fairly well, but didn’t pose enough of an attacking threat to the City defence.
Was fighting a losing battle after Mane went of, but at least he tried to fight it.
Brought off in the second half.
Sadio Mane – 5
Great pace to speed past Benjamin Mendy but cross couldn’t find a Liverpool man. Excellent pass to put Salah through but his fellow winger couldn’t finish.
Raised his boot in a high-speed challenge with City ‘keeper Ederson. Was sent off but only ever had eyes for the ball.
Had he not gone for the ball questions would have been raised about his commitment, but perhaps he should have headed it, which may have seen the red card go the other way.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (on for Salah, 45′) – 5
Couldn’t make an impact in what was an unfortunate game for him to make his debut for the club.
Played just behind Firmino in attack and on the right of a midfield three in defence.
James Milner (on for Wijnaldum, 59′) – 5
Was booed by the fans of his former club as he entered the pitch, and played a pass straight out of play shortly after coming on.
Didn’t add anything to the midfield but at least it gave Wijnaldum a rest.
Dominic Solanke (on for Firmino, 67′) – N/A
Jurgen Klopp – 5
The Liverpool manager’s first big call was to change the back four which had performed so well against Arsenal.
Klavan came in for Lovren, in a change which Klopp said was forced due to the Croatian “feeling the intensity” of the international break.
The same reason was given for not going with Joe Gomez at right-back.
The two changes to the back four weren’t working even before the sending off, and the defence in general looked ragged.
After the sending off he was tasked with salvaging something from a difficult position, but instead Guardiola took control, changing his own tactics to make sure he was able to beat Klopp for the first time in the Premier League.