Penalty appeals for two handballs by Alex-Arnold were denied by VAR and the City boss did not hold back from showing his emotions.
The stage was set for the Premier League rivalry of this generation. Anfield, the Kryptonite to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side was blistering as it so often does and rallied on the Red Troops of Jurgen Klopp. A night that wasn’t short of controversy.
There were plenty of mind games in the build-up to the game and in the end, the Premier League table leaders got the better of the reigning champions. Manchester City ditched their conservative approach that has plagued their performances on the biggest of stages and went with a more open mind into the game, arguably playing the better football.
#LIVMCI Highlights: Liverpool 3-1 Manchester City
However, this Liverpool side is that much more efficient which quite possibly makes it the best side in football at the moment and they ran away with a 3-1 victory, opening up an eight-point lead at the top.
Here are a few #LIVMCI talking points:
Was Klopp right to set up the Liverpool offside trap from set-pieces?
Since the scoreline suggests a comfortable victory for The Reds, this might slip under the radar but City had two glorious chances in the first half to score from dead-ball situations. Manchester City broke past the Liverpool offside trap twice from Kevin De Bruyne’s freekicks and with better luck, Raheem Sterling and Aguero could have put them 2-0 up before Fabinho drew first blood on the night.
Jurgen Klopp would want to address that point so as to not let it be a chink in the defensive armour of Liverpool.
Should Manchester City have started with Ilkay Gundogan?
Ilkay Gündogan had a really poor game as an interior in the City midfield. He wasn’t press-resistant enough and often looked sloppy with his passes, the biggest instance of which led to Liverpool’s first goal from Fabinho.
Having intercepted Mane’s cross from the flank, the ball fell to Gundogan who half-heartedly tried to clear the ball but instead, paved it right at Fabinho, which allowed him to take that shot from distance and catch Bravo out cold.
Gundogan did not even try to close up on Fabinho having made that mistake and instead got out of its way to mark Firmino allowing Fabinho acres of space and ages of time to take a jab at the ball with his foot.
His glaring mistake aside, he had a poor game where City failed to build comfortably and giving David Silva a nod ahead of Gundogan would not have been a bad decision.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 10, 2019
Has Liverpool got the best fullbacks in the world?
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson have been in a league of their own when it comes to talking about the best fullback pairings. The magnificent duo combined once again to give Liverpool the second goal that stunned and shocked Manchester City.
Receiving the ball on the right flank, Trent sprayed a cross-field diagonal with his weaker left foot, bypassing the entire City midfield. Robertson took it in his stride and delivered the sweetest of crosses to Salah with just the perfect bend and power and all Salah had to do was guide it homewards.
It does not come as a surprise that fullbacks are probably the most influential players in modern football given how many zones they cover and how many tactical nuances their presence provides and Liverpool have two absolute gems as their fullbacks.
Should Gabriel Jesus have come on sooner?
Sergio Aguero did not have the best of nights at Anfield. He missed some simple chances and looked obsessed with scoring to the detriment of often killing attacks. Pep recognised this flaw and eventually brought on Jesus but it was too late until then and Liverpool were too far ahead to catch up with.
Are the inconsistencies surrounding VAR going to be solved?
There was plenty of buzz material during the match as City were allegedly robbed of two clear penalties when the ball struck Trent Alexander Arnold’s hand twice. The newest rule update made it clear that the involvement of hand (even without deliberate intent) would nullify a goal being scored from a play of it and would be given as a handball.
In Liverpool’s first goal, the ball cannoned off Bernardo Silva and Dejan Lovren and hit Trent in the arm, which was then cleared and Fabinho scored from the resulting play at the other end of the pitch. VAR looked at it and surprisingly the goal stood. The case as the same in the second half when Sterling’s pass was deflected off Alexander Arnold’s arm.
“Thank you so much!”
— Standard Sport (@standardsport) November 10, 2019
This comes off as quite ridiculous especially given how penalties have been given for those and it is also baffling how the general consensus still has no idea about the application of VAR which has been especially horrendous in the Premier League.