Manchester City were supposed to have a huge advantage over Liverpool but they failed to translate that dominance onto the pitch. This shows how quickly things can change in football and maybe even proves Man City are not as strong as has been suggested.
The “man city vs liverpool” is a matchup that has been talked about for the last few weeks. Liverpool and Man City both have strong squads but it will be interesting to see which team can come out on top.
The discussion about who is better at full strength, Liverpool or Manchester City, will go on for some time, but the Reds are starting to build an enticing case for having the stronger team.
Liverpool’s quest for four major trophies is still alive, thanks to a 3-2 FA Cup semifinal triumph at Wembley on Saturday, and to the club’s improved depth. Manchester City had the tougher Champions League quarterfinal encounter in midweek — Liverpool had the luxury of a two-goal lead going into their second leg at home against Benfica, whereas Pep Guardiola’s side went to Atletico Madrid with their tie hanging in the balance — and City were unable to hide their scars.
Pep Guardiola made seven changes for Saturday’s encounter in an attempt to freshen up his players after flying straight from Madrid to London on Thursday and training at Millwall on Friday to avoid weariness. City, on the other hand, were a shell of their former selves, unable to deal with Liverpool’s ferocity from the start and further jeopardizing their performance with a slew of individual errors.
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As Nathan Ake and Gabriel Jesus made a mess of defending a straightforward set-piece, Ibrahima Konate headed in Andy Robertson’s ninth-minute corner for his third goal in as many games. When these two teams played six days ago, Zack Steffen attempted and failed to match Ederson’s calmness. Diogo Jota nearly brought Ederson down on the goal line with the ball at his feet, but he played a careless pass out to clear the danger. Sadio Mane pounced when Steffen got the ball trapped under his boots after a simple John Stones back-pass, tackling City’s back-up goalkeeper and turning the ball into the net in one move.
On the stroke of half-time, Mane scored his third goal, the result of a breathtaking play that saw Trent Alexander-Arnold beating the City press with a fantastic cross-field ball to Luis Diaz and a wonderful chipped assist from Thiago Alcantara.
Klopp compared their last encounter to a boxing bout, and if this one followed like, it may be called off due to City’s lack of competitiveness. Surprisingly, there were no City changes over the vacation. Less than two minutes into the second quarter, Jack Grealish scored following superb work by Jesus. Gabriel will be replaced by Riyad Mahrez, a goalkeeper from Liverpool.
After receiving Phil Foden’s pass and driving to the byline to fire, Mahrez had time to record an assist. In extra time, Alisson rescued the day, but Raheem Sterling squandered golden opportunities, but it was difficult to avoid the conclusion that something needed to be changed early in the game.
Guardiola later explained how strained his team is, noting that only Kevin De Bruyne had four stitches in his right foot the day before.
When asked whether Liverpool had a better team, Guardiola replied: “Yes, for now. It’s just the way things are given the season we’re in. We don’t have a large roster and play a lot of games. It’s fine when everyone is healthy, but we have a few injuries on the bench and academy guys on the bench.”
Klopp also made seven changes from the game against Benfica on Wednesday, although they were mostly to bring back crucial players like Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Virgil van Dijk. However, Konate and Luis Diaz — perhaps one of the better January acquisitions in recent years — are not regular players who made significant contributions here. Klopp hailed Konate’s third goal in as many games as “extremely useful” in terms of navigating a rigorous schedule.
“We have to strive to create line-ups and formations to be as recovered as possible in each game,” Klopp added, “but you also need rhythm.” “I believe the first half was one of our greatest ever. We did everything properly, scored at the appropriate times, and played a great first half, which I enjoyed every second of.
“The second half began with Man City’s goal, and then it opened up – City’s talent is unbelievable, and you could see it was a lot more open game.”
“We have a great deal of respect for City’s talent, and defeating them is really tough. But we have a chance because we have these lads in our dressing room.”
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Although Liverpool appears to be handling this period better than most, reaching the FA Cup and Carabao Cup finals for the third season in a row (no other club has done so more than twice), Klopp dismissed any talk of completing the historic Quadruple by also winning the Premier League and Champions League trophies.
“I can’t believe the quadruple talk,” he remarked. “With this victory, we have another game and then we have to face Aston Villa in the middle of the week, which means they have to move one game.”
“I don’t believe we have a full week off before the last matchday — it’ll be tough, but who cares?”
“We came here with the goal of making it to the final.” We were aware of the issues, but qualifying for this final makes the quadruple more difficult — it’s the only way to complete it, but it also makes it more difficult, so it’s an odd position.
“But we’re ecstatic; we defeated the world’s best football team, and that’s a very great experience.”
City now leads the Premier League by one point and might meet Liverpool in the Champions League Final next month. Few would bet against them bouncing back, but Liverpool has shown that they are more than capable of fighting back.
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