Liverpool 1 - 1 Manchester City
Liverpool: Matip 78’
Manchester City: Sterling 12’
This is it, we’re mostly back in action. Preseason training and fun videos are over, it’s time to put in some real work and put our mark on the season to get things started. We’ll be up against our new rivals City and eager to let them know that we’re here to fight for every place.
We’re officially back in action, for real, since the first of June, and honestly it feels good. This may not mean a whole lot going forward, but it might be the best way to get an idea of where the team sits before Friday’s match against Norwich. Things start a little shaky but most of my attention is on Pep’s outfit, who looks like he came from a walking tour of London on his vacation.
The first goal comes through a defensive error and a lucky Raheem Sterling, catching some unfortunate bounces on the ankle and just barely pushing it past Alisson. Nothing like an early goal to revive the “mentality monsters” from last season and make sure they’re awake to fight. Liverpool, somehow, have forgotten where the goal is and Mohamed Salah keeps shooting wide.
Defensively things haven definitely looked better in the past, as Manchester City are able to get forward and look fairly threatening now that they’ve opened things up, but Liverpool have been plenty threatening themselves - they just haven’t been able to find the back of the net. Andy Robertson even got into the midfield action, as Salah pushed forward, putting himself into space but was quickly closed down by City defenders.
We know, this isn’t really a game or a cup or anything that matters, but it would be nice to think that we could actually get out of this deficit and do all the things that this fake cup would allow us to do. Mostly just telling City to take their money and shove it. Things look promising around the 28th minute, with a poor clearance going straight to Salah once more, only he skies the ball instead of controlling it.
As the match has gone on, Liverpool have looked a bit more ruthless as they’ve moved through City’s players, and with six subs at our disposal, there’s very much a feeling that goals could come in the second half. There is no need to be upset, Reds, we can get ourselves out of this mess.
We’re back for the second half and Liverpool haven’t made any changes, but there’s plenty to be had ahead. The stadium in certain parts is also surprisingly empty for a Wembley match, but who knows what the snack and drink lines are like?
Salah, for all the work and attention in the game he’s gotten, hasn’t made the best choices in this game. And for my obligatory Jordan Henderson praise, he’s done well to throw in a couple tackles and break up City’s play to get things back on Liverpool’s side. Roberto Firmino (who I’ve missed dearly ) wins us a corner in the 55th minutes and things look like they’re going our way for a second as Virgil Van Dijk receives it and pushes it just over the line but it’s ruled out for I guess not looking like it went over the line enough because that’s what happens when we play City.
This is just the kind of payback Liverpool need to use in their fight right now, because it doesn’t really look like a lot of anything right now. We have half an hour and at least a couple players that could come off in the interest of fresh legs. We have six subs that we’re allowed to use, let’s please use them because some players look a little tired.
It’ll be around the 67th minute when Klopp makes some changes, bringing on Joel Matip and Naby Keita for Trent Alexander-Arnold and Fabinho respectively, after Hendo makes a signature run to run down Otamendi and win the ball back. Hendo will move deeper and Naby will take his forward mid spot - which I don’t agree with but I’m not in charge. What would be super helpful, and I think even Klopp can agree, is if Salah would stop shooting right at the keeper and trying to slide in a goal on the bottom corner.
We have twenty minutes to go and uh, it doesn’t look like anything special is going to happen right now or anytime soon, and that needs to change. Adam Lallana gets up to come on, along with Xherdan Shaqiri, hopefully to get some fresh legs into our attack. It’s pretty clear that Salah still needs some practice to shake off the rust from the summer, as he’s not looked great in the final third. Liverpool are getting sloppy now, with passes getting taken from them unfortunately easily.
FINALLY A GOAL! Just as Liverpool are about to make their third, fourth, and fifth subs, Joel Matip finds an equalizer for the Reds and things finally come our way. Adam Lallana, Xherdan Shaqiri, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain come on for Roberto Firmino, Jordan Henderson, and Divock Origi. This feels like a monkey’s paw situation. I asked for a change but not to take off Hendo. We have ten minutes, roughly, to find a winning goal and keep this from going to penalties, and with one of our best attacking players now on the pitch, things seem a little more likely.
Things are probably gonna go to penalties and I can feel the nausea and anxiety already. We have four minutes to find a winner. Four minutes and who knows what can happen, and with this Liverpool team it’s anything. Especially with another clearance off the fucking line, holy toledo, I don’t want that. That control from Lallana in the last minute to push forward was a spark of brilliance but only for a second because it ended in nothing when City packed all their defenders in the final third.
We’ve gone to penalties and it is my least favorite thing ever. Things were getting testy there in the last five-ten minutes so pep talks are needed as we figure out who is going to line up for these and I still hate everything.
Shaqiri starts us off and is the first to send one home, scoring a rocket to the right and sending Claudio Bravo to the other side. Next up is Gundogan for City and Alisson gets sent the other way to make it 1-1 so far.
Georginio Wijnaldum is next up for Liverpool, and has his shot saved unfortunately by Bravo. Silva scores the second for City as Alisson goes the other way once again, and 1-2 City.
Lallana comes up for the third shot, making things even more nervy, but tying it up for Liverpool as he sneaks one into the bottom left corner. Phil Foden comes forward for the third and wow Alisson is not good at this today, making it 2-3.
Chambo walks up for the fourth, pointing it into the top of the net to make it 3 before City’s chance. City put up a veritable child in Zinchenko and Alisson saves it only to have it bounce into the back of the net.
Last up is Salah and judging by his shooting earlier today he might not have made it, but he does. We just need Alisson to save this one and get us through, but Gabriel Jesus is the one up and he wins it for City.
Welp that’s not how we wanted to start things this season, but at least it’s a nothing trophy and means nothing for the season going forward. Not to rest and get ready for Friday.