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Liverpool 3, Manchester City 2: First Thoughts

Liverpool's title bid took a huge step forward in an insane match, but not all is rosy at Anfield.

Alex Livesey

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Liverpool 3 Sterling 6', Skrtel 27', Coutinho 79'
Manchester City 2 Silva 57', Johnson (og) 63'

  • It probably doesn't need saying, but I'll say it anyways: The Hillsborough tribute at the start of the match was touching and all kinds of emotional. Justice for the 96.

  • There was nothing about the opening goal that wasn't amazing. The through ball from Luis Suarez, the moment of calm and control from Raheem Sterling to just hold up the ball for a moment and let City's defenders make a mistake expecting him to cut across, and that picture-perfect finish to fire past Joe Hart. Gorgeous. I BELIEVE.

  • That early yellow on Suarez is huge. It was maybe a little harsh of a call, but one that's to be expected from a ref like Mark Clattenburg looking to take early control of what had the potential to be a very physical match. It also serves to force Suarez is be less aggressive 

  • That ball in from Sterling to Daniel Sturridge was hnnnnnnnnnnnngh. So good. Shame the finish was so bad.

  • Having Yaya Toure go off injured after just 19 minutes was so huge for Liverpool's chances. He's as big a game-changer as there is in the league, and no one City has to replace him is anywhere near his quality. His replacement, Javi Garcia, getting booked for a sloppy tackle all of 45 seconds after coming on sure helps a lot too.

  • It's going to go unmentioned by most match reports, so I want to make sure it's said here: Jordan Henderson's and Philippe Coutinho's pressing was immense. Absolutely immense. No City player was allowed to be comfortable on the ball near them, and that went a long ways to how dominating a start Liverpool had to the match.

  • Speaking of Coutinho, when did he become such a big tackler? Seems like he's been blowing people up for a few weeks, but I can't put my finger on when it started.

  • Sneaky by Liverpool to have Steven Gerrard not take a corner to see if he could go unmarked, and he did only to be denied a goal by a fantastic Joe Hart save. But the follow up corner fell to Martin Skrtel and sD:lfkjadsf;lksjf;asdlkfjsadlkfjas;dlkfjasd;lfkjs;df OH MY GOD YOU GUYS!

  • Hey you guys, Simon Mignolet is really, really good. Please don't forget that.

  • The second half saw Liverpool having a much harder time holding on to the ball than before, which was discouraging. The ease in which City sliced through the defense for their first goal was even more discouraging.

  • David Silva was quiet in the first half because Henderson and Coutinho were closing him down quickly and marking him tightly. In the second half, that stopped, in part because Coutinho was gassed and in part because I don't know why. His goal and his playmaking contributions around it show why it's so important to keep him out of the match as Liverpool did in the first half, and they paid for letting him back in very quickly.

  • Brendan Rodgers is a very good manager, but he still has things to learn. One of those is reading when to use his subs, and today was a sterling example of that. He brought on Joe Allen about ten minutes too late, and even then it was only because Sturridge had to come off after getting hurt. Liverpool had been struggling in midfield the entire half and needed a fresh set of legs, but they were too long in coming.

  • I get that Suarez was lucky to be on the pitch and was being theatrical earlier in the match, but when a striker is grabbed by the shirt collar, held for five yards, then thrown to the ground, that's a penalty. Period. End of.

  • David Silva, who doesn't have the ball, charges straight through Flanagan, who does have the ball, in Liverpool's box, hurts Flanagan in the process, and throws himself to the ground dramatically, and Clattenburg doesn't even look at him. Meanwhile, Suarez gets beaten blue, and Clattenburg spends the whole match tut-tutting him? Right. OK.

  • COUTINHO!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Why on earth won't Rodgers use his subs? The match is SCREAMING for fresh legs in midfield, but Rodgers is just standing there hoping his exhausted midfielders can keep City out. Then when he does make a change, it's... VICTOR MOSES?! Come on, Brendan. You're better than this.

  • Jordan Henderson's sending off couldn't be more disastrous with the Chelsea match coming off. That tackle's a guaranteed three game suspension, and he's vitally important. Also, that doesn't happen if Moses isn't completely incompetent out of possession. With him out and possible Sturridge as well depending on his injury... UGH.

  • No rendition of You'll Never Walk Alone has ever been more welcome. The title race is firmly in Liverpool's hands now. Don't screw it up.

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We'll be back shortly to take an in-depth look at everything that happened in today's game with the full recap. Until then, let us know your take on the ups and downs of the match in the comments, and if you haven't already, join the community on the Liverpool Offside, where we'll have full coverage and lively in-game discussion for every match this season.

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