The story appears on

Page A16

November 12, 2019

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Sports » Soccer

Reds’ ruthless streak lays bare City’s frailties

Liverpool has lived through too many false dawns to take a first English Premier League title in 30 years for granted, but in overpowering its biggest rival Manchester City 3-1 to open up an eight-point lead at the top of the table, it showed why the long wait looks set to end.

Only City’s brilliance kept Juergen Klopp’s men waiting last season when even the third highest points tally in the league’s history still saw the Reds miss out on the title by one point.

That disappointment has broken Liverpool sides of the past which have finished second best and quickly regressed.

But Klopp’s outfit is a different mould. A mix of strength and blistering speed, blended with the inspiration of a fan base that has waited too long to see another title challenge falter.

“At Anfield yesterday you could not escape the stirring evidence of a team on a mission,” said The Times newspaper.

“Even those of a Manchester City persuasion could not fail to see opponents more ruthless than last year, even more committed to this challenge.”

Ruthlessness was the difference between the two sides. Where Fabinho, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane produced differing finishes each of their own special quality, City’s difference makers were wayward.

Sergio Aguero is still to score at Anfield and the usually clinical Argentine may not get a better chance than they one he dragged wide with just Alisson Becker to beat just before half-time.

Raheem Sterling thrived off the jibes of the fans he left to join City four years ago as he twisted, turned and teased England teammate Trent Alexander-Arnold but always found an extra Liverpool body in the way to thwart him.

The course of the game and the title race could have been very different had Alexander-Arnold been penalized for a handball inside his own box 22 seconds before Fabinho struck the first dagger into City’s hearts just six minutes in.

When Salah stooped to head home Andy Robertson’s brilliant in-swinging cross seven minutes later, Liverpool had scored with its first two attacks.

While the European champion’s efficiency was exceptional, the holes in City’s defense were entirely predictable.

A failure to replace captain Vincent Kompany after his departure to take charge of Anderlecht has been compounded by a long-term knee injury to Aymeric Laporte to leave Pep Guardiola scrambling for solutions.

Another untimely injury left the Catalan without first-choice goalkeeper Ederson and the Brazilian’s back up Claudio Bravo should have done better to prevent Mane’s diving header at the back post extinguishing any hope of a City comeback early in the second half.

The makeshift back-four of Angelino, on his second EPL start, an out of position Fernandinho, John Stones and Kyle Walker was never likely to resist Liverpool.

Defiant in defeat, Guardiola said: “There is still seven months to go. If Liverpool win the title, I will be the first to congratulate them for how good they are. We want to fight until the end.”

City now finds itself in the unusual position of fourth, nine points behind Liverpool.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend