Liverpool opened up a eight point lead at the top of the Premier League as they defeated Manchester City 3-1 at Anfield on Sunday evening.
The hosts snatched an early lead and it was a controversial one as Fabinho netted a stunner only seconds after City had seemingly strong appeals for a penalty turned down. Jurgen Klopp’s men doubled their advantage only six minutes later through a cool header from Mo Salah. A quickfire third came just after the half-time break as Sadio Mane nodded in from close range.
The visitors got on the scoresheet late on through Bernardo Silva as he shot into the near post but it did not matter as for all their endeavour, City weren’t quite able to threaten Liverpool enough, allowing the Reds to open up a huge gap at the top of the Premier League.
Electric start for Liverpool
Predictably, the game begun at an absolutely frantic pace with Manchester City appealing for a penalty from a handball by Trent Alexander-Arnold. Those shouts were waved away though and the hosts broke up the other end, with Fabinho hammering the ball into the bottom corner as it fell to him on the edge of the penalty area.
Their second goal also had a little controversy about it. Andrew Robertson’s stunning ball in was nodded firmly past debutant goalkeeper Claudio Bravo by Salah, sending Anfield into raptures. VAR intervened to check a tight offside call but the Egyptian was ruled to be in line and was awarded his sixth Premier League goal of the season.
Pep Guadiola’s troops attempted to respond, with Sergio Aguero going the closest in the opening quarter of the match as he forced Alisson into a good stop. Full-back Angelino also went close as he bustled through the Liverpool defence only to see his effort bounce off the base of the post.
Reds begin to edge away
Both sides continued to look particularly dangerous before the break in what was an encapsulating clash on Merseyside. Roberto Firmino tested Bravo with a low drive before Aguero again put an excellent opportunity wide of the far post. Salah also went close with a curling shot from outside of the penalty area that the City goalkeeper was equal to.
That third goal did eventually come and it was another brilliant cross that was the key just after the break. This time it was Jordan Henderson who whipped in an excellent cross to Mane at the back post and he headed into the back of the net.
Bernardo Silva gives City a slight life line
Manchester City did remain dangerous and they really should have reduced the deficit through Aguero but he completely fluffed his lines from De Bruyne’s cross.
They did eventually get a goal in the closing stages as Angelino’s low cross trundled all the way through to Bernardo Silva at the far post and he powered the ball into the bottom corner to reduce Liverpool’s lead to just two.
Kyle Walker could even have earned another for City but ballooned his header high over the crossbar. Guardiola’s men enjoyed the majority of the possession late on but weren’t able to grind out any clear cut chances to trouble Liverpool’s lead any further.
But for all of the attention surrounding the potential handball by Trent Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool most definitely deserved this victory. The Reds blew their opponents away at the beginning of both sides, periods that were crucial in the game. Manchester City meanwhile struggled both in attack and defensively and are now eight points behind Liverpool and sit in fourth.
Liverpool: Alisson (7); Robertson (7), van Dijk (8), Lovren (7), Alexander-Arnold (7); Wijnaldum (7), Fabinho (8), Henderson (7) (Milner (7), 61′); Mane (7), Firmino (8) (Oxlade-Chamberlain (N/A), 79′), Salah (8) (Gomez (N/A), 87′).
Manchester City: Bravo (5); Angelino (5), Fernandinho (6), Stones (5), Walker (6); Gundogan (5), Rodri (6), De Bruyne (6); Sterling (6), Aguero (5) (Jesus (5), 71′), B. Silva (7).
Goals: Fabinho (6′), Salah (13′), Mane (51′), B. Silva (78′)
Referee: Michael Oliver
Yellow Cards: Rodri (65′)
Red Cards: N/A
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