Trent’s influence helps Reds to ‘big six’ edge – 5 key stats from Liverpool 3-1 Man City

11 November 2019

Trent Alexander-Arnold was key to Liverpool’s dominance as they bulldozed a meek Man City side to win 3-1 at Anfield and extend their lead at the top.


The Reds head into the last international break of the year with an eight-point gap between themselves and second-placed Leicester.

That stretches to nine ahead of City, after goals from Fabinho, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane sealed a comfortable victory over the champions on a dramatic afternoon.

Pep Guardiola was left seething over the influence of VAR, but his post-match protests and bizarre praise for his side’s performance could do little to mask how off-colour City were.

Liverpool took advantage and pushed further distance between themselves and the chasing pack with an 11th win in 12 league games so far.

Here are five key statistics from Sunday’s win.

 

Trent’s Touches

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 5, 2019: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold prepares to take a throw-in during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Our No. 66 was involved in a number of big decisions on Sunday, with much of the focus after the game being on his handball in the penalty area, 22 seconds before Fabinho struck.

He was also central to arguably the key battle of the game, going up against Raheem Sterling in a fascinating duel between two of England’s finest talents.

But most importantly, his importance to Liverpool’s system moving forwards was emphasised once again, making the joint-most key passes along with Mane and Andy Robertson (two), while his cross-field ball set the left-back on his way to assist Salah for the second.

Alexander-Arnold made the most touches of the ball of any Reds player (89), and this was the seventh consecutive league game he has done so, and the eighth this season.

Topping the charts against Arsenal (108), Chelsea (75), Sheffield United (144), Leicester (113), Man United (112), Tottenham (131) and Aston Villa (121) too, this shows how Jurgen Klopp builds around his right-back.

 

250th for Henderson

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, November 10, 2019: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson embraces manager Jürgen Klopp as he is substituted during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

While there were calls for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to keep his spot after another goal in midweek, Jordan Henderson took his more progressive midfield colleague’s place in a tried-and-trusted midfield.

There is clearly a reason Klopp prefers the trio of Henderson, Fabinho and Gini Wijnaldum in big games, and all three were at their best in a suffocating display.

It was remarkable how often they were able to push ahead and pin City back, and they ended the game with a goal and an assist between them—Henderson’s being a sumptuous cross for Mane’s header and 3-0.

Before the game, Henderson reflected on a “blessing in disguise” in 2012 when he was offered to Fulham as part of a swap deal for Clint Dempsey, explaining how it fuelled his rise to captaincy at Anfield.

Sunday was the 29-year-old’s 250th league appearance for Liverpool, with club statistician Ged Rea revealing how he became only the sixth player to do so for the Reds in the Premier League era:

He finds himself in legendary company, and is likely to surpass Fowler (266), Reina (285) and Hyypia (318) in the league appearances list in the near future.

 

Guardiola Cracks

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, November 10, 2019: Manchester City's head coach Pep Guardiola complains after Liverpool's opening goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The images of Pep Guardiola’s vitriolic exchange with fourth official Mike Dean on the touchline have already become the subject of memes across the internet.

And his “thank you so much” barb at referee Michael Oliver after the game—which he claims was, in fact, not sarcasm—further highlighted how frustrated he was by Liverpool’s excellence.

For such an accomplished manager, it must be strange to suffer so regularly against the same side, with Opta detailing after the game how poor Guardiola’s record at Anfield is:

Further motivation for his outbursts came as Opta added that 25 points from the first 12 games is the lowest Guardiola has tallied in his career as a top-flight manager.

 

Liverpool’s ‘Big Six’ Edge

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, November 10, 2019: Manchester City's Raheem Sterling (L) and Liverpool's Joe Gomez at the final whistle after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It could get worse yet for City, as their relatively poor start to the season has come despite only taking on two of the Premier League‘s ‘big six’ so far.

In those games—against Spurs in August (2-2 draw) and Liverpool on Sunday (3-1 loss)—the champions have taken just one point.

Among their next five league fixtures are Chelsea (H), Man United (H) and Arsenal (A), which will serve as a further test of their character in a difficult period.

Meanwhile, the Reds have already played the rest of the ‘big six’ once and have taken 13 points, with victory over City following wins against Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs, and a draw with United.

Liverpool’s next five games in the league come against Crystal Palace (12th), Brighton (11th), Everton (15th), Bournemouth (ninth) and Watford (18th).

 

The Eight-Point Lead

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, November 10, 2019: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Given the results of the weekend, it is important to note that this can no longer be considered a two-horse race for the title.

Leicester produced an excellent display to down Arsenal at the King Power on Saturday, after Chelsea sealed a 2-0 win over Palace earlier in the day; City were already in fourth when they arrived at Anfield.

Now, Leicester and Chelsea are level on points in second and third respectively, while City are a point behind the pair.

Liverpool, though, preside over an eight-point lead over their closest challengers which, as explained by Opta, is an incredible position at this stage of the campaign:

Klopp and his players have been keen to stress that an eight-point lead in November does not guarantee the title, and the focus remains on taking each game as it comes before May.

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