City’s win over Liverpool show fine margins are the difference


City’s win over Liverpool show fine margins are the difference

Fine margins stood between Liverpool and a positive result tonight. What Jurgen Klopp and his Liverpool team must learn from the narrow 2-1 defeat to Manchester City is the game represented a title race in a microcosm.

Roberto Firmino cancelled out a Sergio Aguero opener before Leroy Sane smashed the hosts back into the title race.

The game that could have seen them go ten points clear at the top of the Premier League table ended in their lead being trimmed to four.

While there is still a lot of football left to play this could be the game that is analysed to death come May.

Man City after all famously won the title by the finest of margins when tonight’s match winner netted a theatrical winner against Queens Park Rangers to topple Manchester United and be crowned champions of England for the first time in 44 years.

Liverpool nearly took the lead only for millimetres to deny them. Mohamed Salah brilliantly slid in Sadio Mane who’s shot cannoned back off the post leading to a defensive mix-up between John Stones and Ederson when the former attempted to clear the ball only for it to strike the latter in the head and goalward. Stones recovered to clear the ball and the goal line technology revealed the ball was agonisingly close to a crucial first goal.

A millimetre that, come season’s end could be even more painful.

Fernandinho buzzed around the pitch with his usual energy that City have missed in his absence while also stringing together a series of delightful passes to keep the hosts ticking over.

The home side were perhaps fortunate to remain with 11 players after Vincent Kompany lunged into Salah late and with his studs up. Referee Anthony Taylor awarded a yellow card in a decision that could have been justified either way.

Liverpool pushed for the equaliser and nearly got it just after the hour when Ederson got nowhere near a Trent Alexander-Arnold free-kick delivery, but the Brazilian managed to scramble back to help block Firmino’s effort.

Roberto Firmino headed Liverpool level (photo credit: Premier League).

A minute later they did get restore parity. Alexander-Arnold sent a wonderful pin-point cross over to Andrew Robertson on the left and the Scotland international cushioned the ball into the path of Firmino to guide in with a simple diving header.

Both teams pressed and attacked relentlessly with the clash having the feel of a big title fight.

Salah, Alexander-Arnold and Mane all testing the focus of the City defence. Meanwhile, Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva continued to make life hard for the Liverpool rearguard.

Sane lashed home the winner with 18 minutes left to play. Sterling ran at the heart of the Reds back line before passing the ball to the German winger who’s strike hit the inside of the post before nestling in the net.

As time ticked away, the game opened up and the margins continued to get tighter. A goalmouth scramble in City’s penalty area, caused by another menacing Alexander-Arnold cross, could not break Liverpool’s way as the hosts were able to clear their lines.

Yet immediately up the other end of the pitch Sterling sprung free to play in Aguero. The Argentine forward rounded Alisson but the former Roma shot-stopper recovered with a brilliant fingertip save.

Not long after Salah forced Ederson into an equally fine save from his low drive. Meanwhile, on the touchline Pep Guardiola went berserk at fourth official Martin Atkinson with the Catalan boss certain there had been a foul on Fernandinho in the build up.

The nerves started to set in during the dying embers of the game. Xherdan Shaqiri sent a nervy pass to Dejan Lovren who lost out to Bernardo Silva in his own penalty area. The Portuguese midfielder blasted a shot at Alisson. The rebound fell to Sterling but the England winger put his shot wide.

The full-time whistle brought great cheers from the stands and Guardiola raising a finger in the air pointing to the fans. They all knew how massive the result was and how they have walked this road of the finest of margins of before.

As have Liverpool.

An unfortunate Steven Gerrard slip in a 2-0 home defeat against Chelsea in the 2013/14 campaign compounded a miserable week in which they had surrendered a three-goal advantage to Crystal Palace to only come away with a point as Man City pipped them to the title by two points.

Liverpool remain in the driver’s seat for the title, but they will know this moment could matter in May.




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