The Reds started well in the opening period, absorbing the City pressure and striking surgically to open the scoring through Mohamed Salah for his 23rd goal of the campaign. However, the Egyptian was unable to pick out a wide-open Diogo Jota in a 2-on-1 moments later, with the missed opportunity marking the end of Liverpool’s attacking ambitions for the rest of the game.
The Citizens scored minutes later to equalize, seizing the initiative and methodically dismantling the visitor’s defenses through three early second half goals.
The loss was another mark on Liverpool’s miserable away record, with the Reds form away from home this season worse than league bottom side Southampton. It also represented yet another demoralizing blow to their hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League, as Jurgen Klopp’s side now languish in 6th place and the sides immediately above and beneath them in the table, Newcastle and Brighton respectively, both having games in hand.
The Liverpool boss gave a damning verdict following the match.
“There is nothing good to say about this game,” Klopp said speaking to BT Sport post-match.
“This is a game we have to use unfortunately and make clear which things cannot happen. We cannot not have challenges in key areas or be that open. Now I stand here and have to explain it but I cannot explain it.
“I cannot change it now, here, I can just report what I saw and we will talk about it tomorrow. These things happened too often.
“The first half [was what] we expected,” Klopp went on to say to the BBC. “City were dominant but we were organized. We scored a wonderful goal. The key areas were clear.
But Klopp admitted that conceding twice in the opening eight minutes of the second half was down to an unacceptable attitude from his side coming out of halftime:
“The goals, how we conceded is difficult to accept,” he continued. “We didn’t put in a challenge for either. That’s absolutely not acceptable to be honest.
“City [were] completely in control after that and we were open, and they could do whatever they wanted. That they only scored one more goal is well, thank you. It could’ve been different and that’s really bad news for us.”
The Reds will have to find some way of turning things around in short order as they travel to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday to take on another desperate side in Chelsea also looking to salvage their season.