Liverpool, April 2018:
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain hasn’t scored for three months since he smashed home a long-range strike against Manchester City.
Pep Guardiola’s Premier League champions elect are back at a bloodthirsty Anfield and Mohamed Salah already has the Reds in front, so why not have a go?
Oxlade-Chamberlain larrups it beyond Ederson and before the half hour Sadio Mane has made it 3-0.
There would be no way back for City, who would finish the Premier League season 25 points better off than Liverpool, as they threw caution to the wind in the second leg but lost 2-1.
Guardiola talked himself into a half-time red card when Leroy Sane had a goal incorrectly ruled out for offside before UEFA were using VAR. The competition the Catalan threatened to make his own at the start of the decade had already become a nagging irritation.
Seven goals in his last eight games.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) April 4, 2018
London, April 2019:
After losing three consecutive semi-finals at Bayern Munich, not to mention two out of four on the occasions his Barcelona didn’t win it under his leadership, Guardiola is wary of a pressure-cooker Champions League night.
Embroiled in a titanic title battle with Liverpool, he rests Sane and Kevin De Bruyne and picks an unusually cautious line-up. Nevertheless, VAR intervenes to award them a dubious penalty against Tottenham, granting Sergio Aguero a punt at a priceless away goal.
Hugo Lloris saves from City’s all-time record goals scorer and there will be no away goal as Son Heung-min gives Spurs a 1-0 win thanks to an Ederson mistake
At the Etihad, all hell breaks loose as the sides trade goals and Aguero puts City 4-2 ahead on the night to lead the tie for the first time. Then Fernando Llorente bundles home and survives a VAR examination for handball. Raheem Sterling has a stoppage-time winner ruled out because replays show Aguero’s heel to be offside in the build-up.
Guardiola crumples to his knees. City are out on away goals to a team that would finish 27 points behind them in the Premier League.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) April 9, 2019
Lisbon, August 2020:
No away goals to bother City this time, as the pandemic-delayed final stages of the Champions League take place as one-off matches in Lisbon.
After seeing off 13-time European champions Real Madrid, Guardiola has to reckon with Lyon – a team who finished seventh in Ligue 1 in 2019-20.
However, one point from two games against the same opponent in the previous season’s group stage spooks the City boss into a rarely used 5-3-2.
They fall behind to a Maxwel Cornet goal, their attack disjointed. De Bruyne, who appears to be fighting a lone hand, equalises but Gabriel Jesus and Sterling miss glorious chances and Ederson is culpable as Moussa Dembele’s brace ensures City’s biggest European humiliation to date.
Phil Foden, so impressive in the second leg against Madrid, looks on as an unused substitute.
— Olympique Lyonnais
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