Liverpool and Manchester City yet again delivered another battle for the ages. Mohammed Salah’s lone goal not just put The Kop back into the winning column but also made a trenchant statement. Let’s look at four takeaways from the Super Sunday game.
Manchester City and Liverpool started the season in opposite directions. Erling Haaland and City’s daunting attack went on a nine-game unbeaten streak to begin their Premier League title defense journey. Conversely, last year’s runner-up Liverpool’s inconsistency saw them dropping to mid-table after nearly a quarter of the season. But even with the stark form contrast, both sides know the other is formidable. Sunday’s game was back and forth, with no team condescending to the other. Tight space, heated moments, and only the brink of stardom from Mo Salah determined the result of this battle. These two teams went against each other with the utmost respect, giving the fans an ultimate feast of attacking football. What a clash of tactics!
Liverpool’s big stars stepped up at the right moment.
Criticism of the Liverpool stars has been overflowing in every media outlet this season. And they chose this particular game to send these forthright replies back to the critics.
Virgil van Dijk was nothing but class. He virtually pocketed Erling Haaland, giving him little space to play his football. VVD provided some trustworthy cover for his teammates and always read the play perfectly to neutralize any danger. A rock-solid performance keeps his unbeaten streak at Anfield alive!
Alisson Becker put up a Man of the Match display. Every Man City shots on target felt like hitting a wall and bouncing back into play. And can we talk about that assist? He saw Salah’s motion and whipped a masterful ball upfield for a 1v1. Alisson has shown Brazillian’s gaffer Tite why he deserves to be the starting goalie this upcoming World Cup!
When Mohammed Salah missed that sitter in the early minutes of the second half, some fans demanded Jurgen Klopp replace the Egyptian winger. He initially did try to pull out Salah but eventually kept him in the game. And just minutes later, with some trickery to escape Cancelo’s marking, he made Anfield explode into jubilation after slotting the ball past Ederson into the back of the net.
Manchester City’s late-game discomposure.
As the game sped up in the second half, we witnessed some unusual game management from the Manchester City players. They seemed to be impatient after not being able to score in the first 60 minutes. They rushed into shooting the ball, although a little more composure could get them in better scoring positions.
And this situation got worse after they conceded. Pep directed the players to push higher upfield, leading to multiple 2v1 and 3v1 fast-break opportunities for the home team. Had it not been for Darwin Nunez’s questionable decision-making, Ederson would have conceded more than just one. The Cityzens are used to these slower-paced games when they dominate the whole field. A back-and-forth, up-tempo game like this proves detrimental to Pep Guardiola’s side. The Spanish boss must adjust before the Champions League’s Knockout phase begins.
How will this match affect the Premier League title race?
The first beneficiary of the result of Manchester City versus Liverpool is Arsenal. They now stay four-point clear of second place after ten weeks. Another sneaky team that benefits from Manchester City’s loss are Tottenham, who is now level with Man City in terms of points and only trails to third by goal differences. On the other hand, Liverpool, with a game in hand, is now a win away from a top 6 spot.
Overall, the league title race is still pretty much a toss-up. Only ten match weeks have gone by anyways. But the fans are sure to see many faces competing for glory this season.
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