City scores easily even without Haaland, pushing Liverpool deeper into worry
Manchester City narrowed the gap with leaders Arsenal to five points by brushing Liverpool off the field 4-1 at home. The guests still took the lead, but in the end Nathan Aké’s team was far too strong for ‘The Reds’ of Virgil van Dijk and Cody Gakpo.
In the first quarter of an hour, the home side had the best chances. Rodri shot once into the hands of goalkeeper Alisson Becker and Riyad Mahrez curled a free kick just wide of the goal. Yet it was Liverpool that took the lead.
Mo Salah made it 0-1 in the 16th minute on a pass from Diogo Jota with a well-aimed ball into the cross. VAR did take a quick look at whether Jota was not in an offside position earlier in the attack, but City defender Manuel Akanji was a fraction behind the Portuguese and so the goal stood.
Ten minutes later it was already level. After a fine combination, Jack Grealish delivered a measured cross to striker Julián Álvarez, who slid in with control. The Argentine had a starting place because club leading scorer Erling Haaland was in the stands with an injury.
After 34 minutes, there was a heated discussion between players from both clubs and the referee, which occurred after a foul by Rodri on Gakpo. The Dutchman’s holding appeared to be a foul ripe for yellow, but referee Simon Hooper spared the midfielder.
Rodri had received a yellow card shortly before and thus would have been sent off with a second yellow card. The flame flared every so often after this moment, but Hooper kept his cool. There were no major chances until halftime.
Two goals in eight minutes
City shot off like a comet after the break. After barely a minute, Rodri fed a deep ball to Mahrez, the Algerian laid the ball off ready for the on-running Kevin De Bruyne: 2-1.
A few minutes later, the match was decided. After a fine attack, a shot by Álvarez was still blocked by Trent Alexander-Arnold, but İlkay Gündoğan’s rebound was unstoppable for goalkeeper Alisson. Thus, eight minutes after halftime, Liverpool suddenly found themselves trailing 3-1.
Fifteen minutes before time, things got worse for Jürgen Klopp’s team. Jack Grealish rounded off a one-two with De Bruyne while falling and made sure that even the last glimmer of hope from ‘The Reds’ disappeared.
This defeat leaves Liverpool in sixth place with as many points as number seven Brighton and number eight Brentford, Brighton having played two games less. A place among the top four, and thus Champions League soccer, is thus increasingly out of the picture.