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Manchester City 2, Liverpool 1: First Thoughts

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It’s a game of inches, and the inches were not kind to Liverpool tonight.

Manchester City v Liverpool FC - Premier League Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Manchester City 2 - 1 Liverpool

Man City: Aguero 40’, Sane 72’
Liverpool: Firmino 64’

  • Pre-match Thought: One thing is clear: win, lose, or draw, I’m not emotionally prepared for any outcome. Kloppo uses the occasion to call for experience and solidity in the center of the park, giving the nod to Georgino Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson, and James Milner. Fabinho, Xherdan Shaqiri, Keita, and Daniel Sturridge all remain options off the bench (hopefully to see a game out, not to chase a goal). Not much more to say. I’m a bag of nerves. I hope the players are coping better than me!
  • Alisson with a nervy (and shanked) clearance with his first touch, as it looks like City want to take the game to us early.
  • Liverpool can barely get a foot on it in the first five minutes. Andrew Robertson takes a Fernandinho elbow to the head (somehow a foul on him?) to slow things down. Atta lad.
  • Fifteen minutes gone and City are dominating possession, but Liverpool are doing well at limiting their chances. However, the high press is leaving LOADS of space to exploit, and Liverpool have managed to look dangerous in their forays forward.
  • HOW DID THAT NOT CROSS THE GOAL LINE!? Liverpool very nearly get in, after Mane gets played in by Salah, and hits the inside of the post. City then nearly score an own goal when trying to clear it. Goal line technology shows that the ball doesn’t cross by a mere fraction of an inch.
  • Lovren goes into the book after a sloppy give away, hauling down Aguero. Not great to be under a caution with so much time remaining.
  • Nearly half an hour gone and City create their best (and turns out, first) attempt, when Sterling beats Robbo down the wing, and plays in David Silva. However, Virgil van Dijk is there to block the shot.
  • Now it’s Gini’s turn to take a card, stopping a Sane run in midfield. A “professional foul.”
  • Goal. City get their breakthrough. And of course it’s Aguero, getting his customary goal against us and it’s a beauty. Lovren might have done better, but very few players can take, turn, shoot, and score from that angle.
  • Halftime Thought: I really hope that fraction of an inch doesn’t come back to haunt us. Liverpool did well at (mostly) containing City, but there’s only so much any defense can absorb. And we didn’t really do enough to punish them when we could get a foot on the ball. However, we’ve seen City tire in the second half of matches in recent weeks, which should give the Reds some degree of hope.
  • Mane is...struggling tonight. Aside from his big miss, his touch has been awful tonight. So far several counterattacks have broken down because of his poor touches.
  • Liverpool are all over the place at the back to start the second half. This is not the response we all hoped for.
  • Klopp makes an uncharacteristically early sub (which, to be honest, is needed), bringing on Fabinho for Milner.
  • Liverpool craft a chance from a set play, but Firmino cannot beat the oh, five City players on the line to clear the shot.
  • GOAL! LIVERPOOL EQUALIZE! Out of practically nothing, Trent picks out Robertson at the back stick with an inch-perfect cross. Robbo squares it to Firmino, who heads home from point-blank range!
  • Goal. That didn’t last long. Just when it looked like Liverpool were getting a foothold, Sterling plays in Sane who squeezes a shot just past Alisson, banging it in off the far post. Fuck.
  • Klopp brings on Shaqiri for Mane. Give ‘em hell, Power Cube.
  • Alisson makes a fantastic save to keep us in it when City have a 3 on 2 break.
  • Klopp makes a last roll of the dice, bringing on Sturridge for Gini. Another late equalizer would be great, Danny. No pressure.
  • Sterling misses a sitter. Long may his mental block against us continue.
  • Final Whistle Thought: It wasn’t the great performance, but we area allowed to lose football matches to the second best team in the country on the road. A couple of moments of brilliance and a fraction of an inch separated the two sides tonight. The title race was never going to be decided tonight, but the road certainly got bumpier.

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.