Liverpool: Karius, Gomez, Lovren, Matip, Robertson, Can, Wijnaldum, Ox, Salah, Mane, Firmino.
Man City: Ederson, Delph, Otamendi, Stones, Walker, Fernandinho, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Sane, Aguero.
Liverpool were in a rampant mood on Sunday afternoon as they handed Manchester City their first Premier League defeat of the season in a thrilling 4-3 contest.
The Reds got off to the best possible start when Oxlade-Chamberlain’s long-range effort found it’s way into the far post, marking his third of the campaign – a record that means the Englishman has scored as many goals in his last 20 league games for Liverpool than in his last 71 for Arsenal. This was the latest evidence of the marked improvement Ox has made since joining the Merseyside outfit, with his pace, power and determination on and off the ball instrumental in the opening forty-five.
Despite being the much better side throughout the first-half, Liverpool were once again undone by poor defending as City equalised before the interval. Walker’s cross-field ball found Leroy Sane on the left-hand flank, and with Joe Gomez caught by the flight of the ball, the German forward was able to wriggle his way into the box and hammer home at Karius’ near-post. In truth, he should have done far, far better with the shot as Liverpool’s hard work was needlessly undone.
Yet, Klopp’s side came out in rampant mode for the second-half, turning on the style to inflict real damage on the runaway league leaders. Within a period of eight minutes, Liverpool inflicted more damage on Pep Guardiola’s side than anyone has managed all season, with the remains of the ‘Fab Four’ showing their class to deadly effect. The first of the three quick-fire goals came from Firmino, who cleverly out muscled John Stones before scooping the ball deliciously over the head of Ederson and into the net. Just two minutes later and it was 3-1 to The Reds. Some brilliant pressing from Salah saw Liverpool win the ball back high up the pitch, with the Egyptian slotting it through to Sadio Mane on the edge of the box. On his weaker foot, Mane delivered a brilliant shot to deceive Ederson at the near post and ensure Liverpool’s dominance was reflected via the scoreboard.
High pressing was a feature of Liverpool’s afternoon, providing the source of the goal for the fourth. Quickly hunted down by Klopp’s side, Ederson’s clearance fell straight to the feet of Mohamed Salah who made the ‘keeper pay for his mistake with another delightful finish. That takes Salah’s tally up to 24 goals for the season and with plenty of games left to play, the Egyptian shows no signs of slowing down.
4-1 and cruising, it seemed as though Liverpool were going to ride out a comfortable result in style. Wrong.
In typical Liverpool fashion, things took a nervy turn when Bernardo Silva pulled one back for the away side with six minutes left on the clock. Ilkay Gundogan’s injury time goal to make it 4-3 ensured a sense of unease within the Anfield crowd as the clock wound down. Luckily for The Reds, Aguero’s header right at the death found it’s way into the side netting to ensure Liverpool held on for a huge three points.
4-1 up in the final ten minutes before allowing the opposition to pull it back to 4-3, no one will ever say that this team isn’t one of the most entertaining in the Premier League. The ruthless attack was on hand to capitalise on Chelsea’s goalless draw with Leicester as the post-Coutinho Reds got off to a memorable start.