Liverpool 3: Salah 12’, Oxlade-Chamberlain 21’, Mane 31’
Manchester City 0:
- Pre-match Thought: I’m a big ol’ bundle of nerves right now. It’s here. No real surprises for Liverpool: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is in for the injured Emre Can, and the rest of the side more or less picks itself. Also academy defender Conor Masterson makes the bench because playing center back for Liverpool is apparently like drumming for Spinal Tap at the moment. Also, Pep decided to relegate Raheem Sterling to the bench tonight. Although Sterling has yet to produce a great performance against us, he’s still a dangerous threat, and one I’m glad not to have to face for most of the evening.
- City making us attack the Kop in the first half. So that’s how it is, is it?
- GOAL! LIVERPOOL DRAW FIRST BLOOD ON A COUNTER FROM A CITY CORNER! It’s scrappy as hell, with a weak Firmino shot and a poor clearance, but Salah is in the right spot at the right time to slot for the Reds!
- City almost level moments later on a quick counter of their own. Sane had options left and right, but took on the shot himself, which thankfully went just wide of the post.
- GOAL!! Another City match at Anfield, another Oxlade-Chamberlain rocket from outside the box! Edinson had NO chance, and it’s 2-0 to the REDS!
- Less than a half an hour gone and my heart can hardly take it. It’s a frenetic pace, with Liverpool in the ascendency since that second goal.
- GOAL!!! Liverpool get a third and we are DREAMING! Salah’s cross has no fewer than three Reds who could have nodded it home, but it was Sadio Mane who got the decisive header. 3-0 to the Scousers!
- Halftime Thought: Holy fuck, is it only halftime? It’s hard to imagine a better opening half for this tie, but Liverpool have to finish it off in the second half. Going to the Etihad with any advantage at all would have been a plus, but going there with a multi-goal lead (and Fowler willing a cleansheet!) would be massive for our chances of advancing.
- Oh no. Mo Salah pulls up and heads to the sideline with a possible groin injury. The doctors take a look and immediately take him into the locker room. He’s replaced by Georginio Wijnaldum. Ox moves up to the attacking trio, with Gini replacing him in midfield.
- City immediately respond with more attacking thrust than they’ve shown all night. Oh dear.
- And the move that we all expected: Sterling coming on for Gundogan.
- 65 minutes gone and this second half has largely been one-way traffic for City. Liverpool’s defense is bending but not breaking...yet.
- Kloppo makes a second change, this one not forced: Dominic Solanke coming on for Roberto Firmino. Bobby ran his damned ass off tonight, and got the assist on the opening goal.
- Ten minutes of regular time left and the Kop is doing everything they can to drag the lads over the line. The players are visibly tiring, but still flying into every single 50/50 challenge. Come. On. You. Reds.
- City finally find the back of the net, but Sane is blown (perhaps not correctly) offside. Unlucky.
- Klopp makes his final sub of the night, Ox making way for Alberto Moreno.
- Hendo booked for a tactical foul on Sterling. Fair.
- Final Whistle Thought: If ever there was a way to put a damper on festivities, it would be the possible injury to current talisman Mohamed Salah. Regardless, it’s a dream first result for the Reds. They didn’t book their semifinal ticket yet, but they went a long way toward that goal.
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.