Liverpool trash Manchester City 3-1 amidst VAR hoopla

Fabinho scored for Liverpool after 6 minutes
Fabinho scored for Liverpool after 6 minutes
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Liverpool, wiping the floor with the defending champions, have six months to plan for its momentous homecoming.

Surely 30 years of hurt – the three decades since Liverpool’s last league title – are finally coming to an end.

They head for the international break with the psychological security of a nine-point lead over their obvious challengers.

City, 3-0 down after 51 minutes when Sadio Mane added to the earlier efforts from Fabinho and Mo Salah, were outclassed.

The rancour and bitterness that followed, with Pep Guardiola’s testosterone-fuelled rage about two Trent Alexander-Arnold handballs, betrays the scoreline.

This was Liverpool’s day.

Nobody can take away the manner of the performance, the controlled aggression and ruthless finishing of this vibrant Liverpool team.

City, angered that Trent Alexander-Arnold was not penalised for handball in the build-up to the first, were soundly beaten.

Even Bernardo Silva’s goal, wrapped inside Alisson’s near post after 78 minutes, does not detract from the significance of the result.

This is a brutal defeat for Pep.

For City to win back-to-back-to-back Premier League titles from here would be nothing short of extraordinary.

It is also a fantasy.

The great Pep – not the Fraudiola tag that gnaws away at him – is supposed to have a strategy for the biggest games.

They showed no mercy, coming through a frantic opening spell to put three goals past the defending champions.

City started fast, quickening the tempo with a sequence of set-pieces given away cheaply by Liverpool.

Corner, free-kick, then corner were all wasted by sub-standard balls in to the box from Kevin De Bruyne.

City needed creativity and quality, not careless crosses miscued off his right boot. They paid for it.

Pep’s players were still busy chasing referee Michael Oliver around the pitch like Benny Hill when Liverpool went up the other end to score.

City wanted a penalty, demanding the immediate intervention of VAR when Alexander-Arnold handled inside the area.

They should have played to the whistle.

With Sadio Mane sprinted down the left, City’s defence committed a crime by losing track of Liverpool’s onrushing forwards.

Ilkay Gundogan’s abysmal clearance, barely making it outside the penalty area, fell straight to a very happy Fabinho.

His shot was hard and true, belting it beyond back-up keeper Claudio Bravo to put Liverpool into an early lead.

Easy to say Ederson would have saved it, but that would be to take something away from the quality of the midfielder’s effort.

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In a big game, it was the perfect start.

It felt like the Champions League tie between these two in April 2018, when Jurgen Klopp’s side blitzed them with three goals in the opening 31 minutes.

City could not compete that night either.

It was a similar story here, eye-popping stuff because Liverpool’s endless supply of energy exposed City’s fragile defence.

The inexperienced Angelino, picked ahead of Bernard Mendy at left-back, was especially poor, but the bigger picture is a painful defeat.

For Pep’s side to win here for the first time in the Premier League since 2003 it would need to be a crazy 4-3 or a momentous 5-4. Never going to happen.

To outscore Liverpool at basketball Sterling needed to head in De Bruyne’s free kick, or for Sergio Aguero to beat Alisson Becker.

They came to regret those missed chances.

From Liverpool’s next attack, another counter, they went two clear when Salah steered in a header at the far post.

Alexander-Arnold switched play from one wing to the other, setting the chance for Andy Robertson down the left.

What happened next happens every time one of these two full-backs gets the ball halfway inside the oppo’s half.

Robertson’s delivery was up to scratch as usual and Salah strayed beyond City’s defence to meet the cross firmly with his head.

City, try as they might, could not perk up.

De Bruyne, picked to play wide right at the start, is supposed to be more influential.

So it Aguero, but his lousy Anfield record drags on after another no-show in a City shirt.

He was after 71 minutes, with the damage already done by Mane’s strike at the start of the second half.

Pep retracted claims that the Liverpool forward is a diver, but it is too late to undo the damage.

He scored, rising at the far post when he met Jordan Henderson’s deep right wing cross, put Liverpool three clear.

With the party in full swing inside Anfield, they invited the neighbours in to pull a goal back through Bernardo.

They want this trophy so badly, living up to their motivational slogan This Means More on a sensational Anfield night.

After this, They Want It more.


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