Liverpool inflicted Manchester City’s worst home defeat at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday evening. Jurgen Klopp’s team put four goals past a hapless City team in what was a disastrous afternoon for anyone affiliated with blues. Here is a look at the main talking points from the game.
Credit to Liverpool
For as bad as City were in almost every department, Liverpool were excellent and deserve credit for that. Klopp, in a matter of weeks, has transformed this Liverpool team into a team that presses incredibly well and works very hard for one another, and that was on show yesterday. When they got possession they moved the ball quickly – almost all of their goals came as a result of quick passing and movement. The fact that they played without a recognised centre-forward until Christian Benteke was introduced in the 77th minute is testament to their high pressing success. City are unlikely to play as badly again this season but Klopp deserves credit for ruthlessly exposing City’s shortcomings yesterday.
Team Selection Causes Problems
I hate to be one of those people who moans about the starting 11 from the moment that the team news is released, but the warning signs for bad afternoon were there when the team was announced. Inexplicably, Pellegrini opted to drop two of the most in-form players in Fernandinho and Nicolas Otamendi. I can only assume that the Juventus game on Wednesday was in mind but given that we have already qualified in the Champions League it seems odd that it would take priority over the Liverpool game, especially after dropping points against Aston Villa before the international break. Whatever the rationale was is irrelevant now but no doubt many blues will be scratching their heads thinking “what if” had the aforementioned pair been included in the starting 11.
As it was, City were torn apart by a rampant Liverpool team like a hot knife through butter. For those that haven’t seen the game or watched the highlihgts, it was a bad as it sounds. Even City set pieces seemed to work in the favour of the opposition. Indeed, Liverpool’s second came directly as a result of a City throw in well inside Liverpool’s half. What is worrying is that despite conceding three goals inside 30 minutes Pellegrini seemingly did nothing to arrest the decline and by the time half time substitutions were made the game was all but over.
Martin Demichelis On The Decline
Linked to the bizarre team selection was the inclusion was Martin Demichelis in the heart of defence. It finally seems as if his age is catching up with him as this was a day to forget for the veteran. It is no coincidence, in my opinion, that he has been playing in the two biggest defeats this season (yesterday and against Spurs). Whilst I still feel he can play a valuable role in the squad wheeling him out for big games against teams that are notorious for pressing high up the pitch, like Liverpool and Spurs, seems strange, to say the least. I hope to see him in a City shirt again but hopefully against less dangerous opposition.
Well, yes, there were a couple, believe it or not. Firstly, Aguero’s goal was beautiful and is worth watching, even if you daren’t watch the highlights of the rest of the game. Also, Fabian Delph acquitted himself extremely well when introduced from the bench at half time. He seemed to be everywhere and actually managed to get close to the opposition, which was a feat in itself. His range of passing was also excellent. He has made a very compelling case to get a starting berth in the next game, indeed. Joe Hart also made a number of fine saves to make the result ever so slightly less embarrassing. He, along with Delph, were the only City players to come out with any credit from the game.
The Bigger Picture
Well, Leicester now top the table as City drop down to third. Who saw that one coming? Whilst the result in itself is not terminal as it is only three dropped points the manner of the performance is extremely worrying. City, in the last four or five years, are not a team that takes a proper beating like yesterday. Already this season there have been two such occasions and I do wonder how long it will be before there is another. The Etihad Stadium has been something of a fortress in both of the Premier League title winning seasons but we have already suffered two defeats at home this season. City have shown mesmerising ability going forward this season but that brilliance looks like it could be seriously undermined by a vulnerability in defence. After the midweek trip to Turin City welcome Southampton to the Etihad where three points is a must.
Written by Rob Toole