Liverpool 1-4 Man City
Premier League (23), Anfield
February 7, 2021
Goals: Salah pen 63′; Gundogan 49′ 73′, Sterling 76′, Foden 83′
A big clash between recent rivals saw one side without a recognised centre-back taking on another without a recognised centre-forward, with nine midfielders on the pitch between the two.
Perhaps typically, then, the game began with a tentative pace, with both City and Liverpool reluctant to pull the trigger, and the Reds in particular slowing play down too often.
Curtis Jones, given a big opportunity in replacing James Milner in midfield, was perhaps most guilty of this early on, with one instance seeing him drive forward to pick up a loose ball only to hesitate with Mohamed Salah through for the pass.
The first real chance of the game came in the 24th minute, with Jordan Henderson pinning Oleksandr Zinchenko down with a long ball, allowing Trent Alexander-Arnold to pick it up and supply the cross which Sadio Mane could only head over.
Liverpool were the better side for much of the first half, but allowed City a chance to get ahead as Fabinho brought down Raheem Sterling in the box, only for Ilkay Gundogan to blaze his spot-kick over the bar.
HT: Liverpool 0-0 Man City
- Alisson errors help two-goal Gundogan punish former mentor Klopp
- Jones a rare bright spark in another pitiful Liverpool display
- Klopp loses back-to-back league games for first time at Liverpool
- First time losing three in a row at Anfield since start of 1963/64
- Reds now 10 points behind in title race; City still have game in hand
Gundogan could not be silenced after the break, though, with his goal stemming from some truly sloppy defending from a ball-watching Reds back line, the German finishing after Alisson had initially denied Phil Foden.
Jones was arguably Liverpool’s standout player throughout, and after a speculative shot from range that failed to test Ederson, he went inches wide minutes later after pushing onto Alexander-Arnold’s brilliant crossfield pass.
It was an Alexander-Arnold ball that helped curate the equaliser, with Salah producing a questionable fall under minimal pressure from Ruben Dias and, having won the penalty, firing home for 1-1.
With the wind in Liverpool’s sails, Klopp opted for a double change as Xherdan Shaqiri replaced the anonymous Thiago and James Milner came on for Jones – only for it to halt the Reds’ momentum entirely.
Unfortunately, a parade of awful possession play from Alisson gifted City two more, with a shanked clearance teeing up Gundogan for his second of the game, before an overelaborate attempted pass allowed Bernardo Silva to cross for Sterling’s header.
Foden, outstanding throughout for the visitors, then hammered home a fourth for City – and despite the pace on the shot, Alisson will have been disappointed again as it shaved his fingertips.
Another Anfield loss, then – a third in a row in the league for the first time since 1963 – and, undoubtedly, Liverpool’s title chances are now well and truly over.
TIA Man of the Match: Curtis Jones
Referee: Michael Oliver
Subs not used: Adrian, Kabak, Phillips, N.Williams, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Origi
Man City: Ederson; Cancelo, Dias, Stones, Zinchenko; Rodrigo, Gundogan, Bernardo; Mahrez, Foden, Sterling
Subs not used: Steffen, Garcia, Laporte, Fernandinho, Mendy, Bernabe, Doyle, Torres, Jesus