Man City 3 - 2 Liverpool
Sportwashers: Haaland 10’, Mahrez 47’, Ake 58’
Reds: Carvalho 20’, Salah 48’
Jurgen Klopp sends out a pretty strong lineup for a 4th round League Cup tie, but after a month off, the lads will be eager to get back to it, and the coaching staff will be eager to build up match fitness. Up top it’s Darwin Núñez through the middle, flanked by Mohamed Salah and Fabio Carvalho. Youngsters Harvey Elliott and Stafan Bajcetic start alongside veteran Thiago. And the backline has James Milner and Andy Robertson at fullback, with a center half pairing of Joe Gomez and Joel Matip. Caoimhin Kelleher starts between the sticks.
Men’s competitive football is back! Hurrah!
Manchester City threaten immediately after Haaland is played in waaaay too easily and Kelleher is caught in no man’s land. Thankfully Matip recovered just enough to put the Norwegian striker under enough pressure to force an early shot, which he put high and wide. And then Núñez goes right down and wins a corner at the other end. If the first two minutes are any indication, this should be fun.
Haaland, again, causing the Reds a lot of bother. He put one on a plate for a City academy product, but he thankfully put the shot well wide.
Goal. And it was coming. Haaland beat Matip to a cross and poked it home. It was a good finish, but the Reds are waaay too open at the back against this City side.
GOAL! It’s an excellently worked goal, starting with Matip picking out Milner’s run into the box. Milly squared it to Carvalho, who slotted with a cool, first time finish!
Kelleher is making himself counted today. He’s come up with two excellent saves in short order. Another heroic cup performance in the making? Elsewhere Milner pulled up with a knock, and immediately made way for Nat Phillips, who slots into the left sided center back spot, and Gomez moves to right back.
On the whole, City have looked the better side, but Liverpool have picked their moments well, and could very well find a winner with a bit more control in and out of possession in the second half.
Fabinho comes on for Bajcetic, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain comes on for Carvalho. I’m a bit surprised by the latter move...and City take the lead again.
Goal. That didn’t take long. Liverpool are a bit unlucky with a...fuck it, Liverpool just equalized!
GOAL!! The dust hadn’t even settled and the two sides are back on level terms. Ox plays an excellent ball through to Darwin, who drives directly toward goal and then lays it off for Mo to slot!
Jordan Henderson comes on for Elliott just before the hour mark.
Goal. City take the lead again off a pretty well-worked corner routine. Fair fucks.
The last twenty minutes or so go off without much drama. Both sides are punched out.
It was a decent performance, under difficult circumstances, but ultimately not enough. However, not having to fuck about with the League Cup during this condensed season is no bad thing. On to Villa on Boxing Day.