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Manchester City Can’t Cope with the Anfield Pressure

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The message to Liverpool’s players was clear and the result puts proof to it. Now it’s about seeing out the tie.

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Liverpool v Manchester City - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Leg One Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Manchester City can’t cope with the pressure. That was Jürgen Klopp’s message to his players ahead of Wednesday night’s Champions League quarter final tie, and right back Trent Alexander-Arnold says the proof of it is in the result.

“Make sure we got after them and tried to win the ball back high and put them under as much pressure as possible,” said the young fullback when asked about Liverpool’s approach to the game that saw the home side run out to a 3-0 first half lead.

“The two games we’ve had at Anfield, the 4-3 and this one, that’s what we’ve done and they couldn’t really cope with it. That’s what we pointed out during the week: how we got the win in January. We used that to our advantage and tried to do the same again.”

With City manager Pep Guardiola setting up specifically to try to target Alexander-Arnold after a few recent shaky outings for 19-year-old, though, none of that might have mattered if the visitors had managed to get themselves an early goal.

But instead of being bowed by the pressure—of the occasion, of his recent stumbles, of being run at by Leroy Sané—he stood tall and put in one of the game’s top performances. Alexander-Arnold, though, insisted afterwards that it was a team effort.

“He’s probably one of the best wingers in the league, if not the world,” Alexander-Arnold noted. “He was a really tough opponent. It goes down to the likes of Ox, Gini when he came on, Mo, and Hendo for helping me.

If you’re left one-on-one with such a talented winger you’re going to get caught out. Thanks to the lads I mentioned, I wasn’t left one-on-one too often and I always had cover around me. That’s what helped me.”

With Alexander-Arnold having a standout night—with a little bit of help from his teammates—and Liverpool’s press again unsettling City, the Reds earned a standout result. Now, the focus shifts to seeing it out at The Etihad next week.

“The clean sheet is just as important as the three goals we scored,” added the right back. “Taking a clean sheet there next week is important, knowing if we keep another clean sheet we’re through to the semi-finals.

“That will be in our minds. We’ll go there, we’ll have a game plan for the away leg and we’ll try to get through to the semis.”