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Liverpool go eight points clear after pulsating win over Man City

Liverpool go eight points clear after pulsating win over Man City
By Eurosport

10/11/2019 at 17:20Updated 11/11/2019 at 08:26

Premier League, Anfield. Liverpool 3 (Fabinho 6', Salah 13', Mane 51') Manchester City 1 (B. Silva 78')

Ruthless Liverpool extended their lead at the top of the Premier League table to eight points and inflicted a hammer blow to Manchester City's title hopes in the process with a comprehensive victory over Pep Guardiola's shell-shocked side at a raucous Anfield.

Fabinho gave the Reds the lead with just six minutes on the clock with a beautiful pinpoint effort from all of 30 yards that nestled in the corner of Claudio Bravo's goal after a textbook counter-attack - but City felt they should have had a penalty after the ball brushed the arm of Trent Alexander-Arnold inside his own box just moments earlier.

Seven minutes later and Liverpool were celebrating their second after another devastating break, Andy Robinson crossing for Mohamed Salah who slipped in between City's centre-backs and finished with a stooped header after being adjudged narrowly onside.

While City's approach play was fluid, their decision-making in the final third let them down. Their biggest problem, however, was their defensive shape and Liverpool looked like scoring from every attack.

After the break, Sadio Mane added a third, running to the far post unmarked to head home from a delicious Jordan Henderson cross, as City players argued and blamed each other on a hugely frustrating evening on Merseyside.

Bernardo Silva pulled one back for City but they appeared a beaten team and a comeback was never likely to materialise.

The result leaves City in fourth place, nine behind the leaders, ahead of the international break and is in stark contrast to Liverpool's secure position. The Reds move eight points clear of second-placed Leicester - only Manchester United in 1993/94 have had a bigger lead after 12 games of a Premier League season.

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TALKING POINT - Reds deliver a psychological blow on rivals

Titles may not be won in November, but Liverpool have delivered a huge psychological blow on their rivals with the most convincing of victories. Had City won, they would have closed the gap to three points. Instead, Klopp's side are now nine points clear of the reigning champions and a Liverpool team who have lost just one of their last 51 games would have to lose three or more of their next 26 to let Guardiola's men back in.

At the end of the season, Guardiola may well look back on this game as the day his side lost the title. He will also reflect on Michael Oliver's decision not to reward City a penalty in the build-up to the opening goal. Criticism of the official shouldn't deflect from City's horrible defending though. They have had problems since losing Aymeric Laporte to injury in September, while the absence of Ederson didn't help, but questions will be asked of Guardiola's inconsistent selection in his defence.

Klopp played down the importance of this game ahead of kick-off, but there is an unbelievable momentum behind the Reds now and there are no signs of it slowing down.

MAN OF THE MATCH - Fabinho (Liverpool)

Believe it or not, Liverpool actually made a slow start to the game, but Fabinho's sensational goal was a huge boost to Liverpool. Fabinho was inspirational thereafter with a calm performance in the middle of the pitch.

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PLAYER RATINGS

Liverpool: Alisson 8, Alexander-Arnold 8, Van Dijk 7, Lovren 7, Robertson 7, Fabinho 9, Wijnaldum 7, Henderson 8, Salah 8, Firmino 7, Mane 8. Subs: Milner 6, Gomez 6, Oxlade-Chamberlain N/A.

Manchester City: Bravo 4, Walker 4, Stones 5, Fernandinho 5, Angelino 6, Rodrigo 5, Gundogan 5, De Bruyne 6, Bernardo 6, Sterling 7, Aguero 4. Subs: Jesus 5.

KEY MOMENTS

6' - GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Man City: Ooooooohhh what a goal, Fabinho! City appeal for a penalty as the ball looks to brush Alexander-Arnold's arm, but the referee waves play on and Liverpool break to devastating effect. Fabinho strikes with an outrageous hit from 30 yards into the top corner. City are FURIOUS, but after a quick VAR check the goal stands.

13' - GOAL! Liverpool 2-0 Man City: The Reds double their advantage with another textbook counter-attack! Robertson curls a cross from the left, Salah slips in between the City centre-backs and heads past Bravo. Was it offside? Close, but VAR says it stands. City have a mountain to climb!

29' - Post! Angelino works his way through a crowded Liverpool penalty area and pokes the ball at goal, it takes a deflection, bounces off the outside of the post and out for a corner.

51' - GOAL! Liverpool 3-0 Manchester City: That should do it! Mane times his run to perfection and squeezes in Henderson's beautiful cross at the far post. Guardiola looks disgusted - City are crumbling at Anfield.

67' - Close! Sterling switches the ball to De Bruyne on the left. His cross is perfect for Aguero but somehow he misses the connection at the near post. Ten games and still no goals for the Argentine at Anfield.

78' - GOAL! Liverpool 3-1 Man City: City have one back! Angelino drags the ball back to Bernardo Silva who swivels and finishes with a low shot which creeps in at Alisson's near post.

KEY STATS

  • Liverpool have won 11 of their first 12 Premier League games this season and lead the table by eight points – only Manchester United in 1993/94 have had a bigger lead after 12 games of a Premier League season (nine points).
  • Pep Guardiola has lost more away games in all competitions at Anfield than he has at any other stadium in his managerial career (four).
  • Mohamed Salah has been directly involved in 52 goals in just 44 Premier League appearances at Anfield for Liverpool (38 goals, 14 assists).
  • Liverpool have never lost any of the 233 Premier League matches at Anfield when they have lead by two or more goals, drawing five and winning 228 of those matches.
  • The Reds have conceded in nine consecutive matches for the first time since September - October 2014, under Brendan Rodgers.
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