As Liverpool saw off the defending champions at Anfield the headlines focused on decisions, the use (or not) of the VAR, and Guardiola’s touchline gesticulating.
Away from this pantomime, it was an absorbing game of football in which both teams created chances and tried to outwit the other tactically.
After the game, Guardiola admitted that he had watched a lot of games at Anfield and seen many teams struggle, but he wanted his own team to play their game.
Despite having won every domestic trophy available to them last season, defeating Liverpool playing their football is the next step in their development.
He usually speaks with nothing but respect for Liverpool—his Mane jibe last week being a rare exception, and it was jumped on accordingly. They are his biggest rival, his biggest challenge, and Guardiola likes a challenge.
Liverpool are seen as an obsession for the former Barcelona and Bayern boss, but why wouldn’t he study his biggest challenge and the manager he has the worst record against in his managerial career, by far?
Even with Ederson and Aymeric Laporte out, this was not a weak Man City side. They had three defenders on the bench which cost more than Liverpool’s back four.
Everything other than the goalkeeper and left centre-back was the first-choice XI.
Klopp wasn’t fooled by talk of City being underdogs and set his own team up accordingly. He used three formations in the game—a 4-3-3 in the first half before switching at half-time.
“We changed the system to 4-4-1-1 at half-time, changed back late in the game to 4-5-1,” he said.
“I liked the game, I loved the atmosphere. It was incredible, the people were just amazing, and against an outstandingly strong opponent.”Early Intensity
The game kicked off with some high-intensity play from both sides, as each tried to impose their game on the other.
Liverpool and City fans have become used to watching opposition teams (with a few honourable exceptions) defend deep and set a challenge to break them down, and much of their work will be based around facing such teams.
But this game is an entirely different proposition for both managers.
Man City set up in a 4-2-2-2/4-2-4 with pairings of Rodri and Ilkay Gundogan, Raheem Sterling and Bernardo, and Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero.
For Liverpool, it was a 4-3-3 to start with, but Jordan Henderson was the most advanced midfielder, playing a role not too different to that which De Bruyne usually plays for City.
Klopp then made the switches he referred to in his press conference, with the third goal coming from the advanced Henderson down the right.
The captain regularly found space down that channel due to City playing with a two in midfield rather than a three, and he even managed to reach the byline before crossing for Mane to head home.
Liverpool tired after this and forced Klopp into a number of changes.
“I had to suffer in moments because of the way City play, but I would say until around the 75th minute when they scored the goal, we could control [the game] in some way,” said Klopp.
“But after that, we saw immediately, when our legs got a bit tired, I don’t know how many balls rolled through our six-yard box then to the far post area.
“It doesn’t feel too good, you always think there must be a blue player, but there wasn’t. You need in moments a little bit of luck. After 3-1 they had a lot of momentum and we had heavy legs.”
The average positions (below, via Whoscored) are misleading given there were a number of formation changes from Klopp, but what they do indicate is how advanced Henderson (No. 14) was.
Klopp withdrew Henderson after the City goal (he did have the sub lined up beforehand but wasn’t able to get the referee to stop the game, even when the ball went out of play).
He made a number of changes in an attempt to stop the City momentum, and the game finished with Trent Alexander-Arnold ahead of Joe Gomez on the right, Mane up front, and a midfield five containing James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
According to the expected goals data, Man City’s biggest chance came from Angelino’s cross to Kyle Walker with five minutes to go, as shown by the big yellow blob on the left on the graphic below from Understat.
But this was much more difficult than the xG suggests, as the right-back was stretching to get anything on the cross at all, moving at pace and out of control.
Some of Aguero’s chances down the left channel looked better than the xG is giving credit for, and overall this was a game of fast, attacking football in which Liverpool took their chances and City didn’t.
This at least backs up Guardiola’s insistence of trying to play this way against Liverpool but doesn’t change the fact that Klopp still has the upper hand in their battles since the pair have been in England.Guardiola on how to beat Liverpool
“All the time we come here Jurgen says I adapt to him, but we played with incredible personality,” Guardiola told reporters after the game.
“I know tomorrow’s table [will show] a nine-point [gap], but to grow as a club, as players, to make the next step after back-to-back Premier League titles, is to do that in these kinds of places, playing the way we play.
“They are incredibly strong in set-pieces. When you sit back and defend in the box they open with Alexander-Arnold and Robertson starting to make the crosses, and when they arrive with not just Mane, Salah, and Firmino, but Henderson arriving at the right tempo, and Wijnaldum for second balls.
“It’s almost impossible to live with that situation—and again, and cross again. When you are able to get back in that position they have incredible backwards. When you are attacking, every mistake you make [can be punished] in transition.
“The biggest quality of Jurgen’s throughout his career is doing this kind of situation.
“You decide before you play [them]. You can spend 90 minutes sat back there, waiting for crosses, crosses, crosses, crosses; waiting [to make] one-counter attack or two counter-attacks, and if you are lucky, get something from both.
“Or try to play the game, to create chances that we created today. We decide to do it in that way because it’s the way we won two Premier Leagues in a row and seven titles in two or three seasons.
“People say they like to watch Manchester City play football, sometimes playing at home against some teams, [but] the difficulty is coming here and doing it.
“I watch a lot of games and the teams who come here to play know how difficult it is.”Notes from the Press Box
Liverpool find themselves nine points clear at the summit of the Premier League table thanks to a 3-1 win over Manchester City at Anfield.
Goals from Fabinho, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané gave the rampant Reds a 3-0 lead before Bernardo Silva snatched a late consolation for the visitors.
Manager Jurgen Klopp elected to pick what is known as his tried and tested midfield — with Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum ahead of Fabinho — and he was rewarded in a performance of tactical and physical dominance.
Fabinho, in particular, was dominant throughout and not only in a defensive sense. The Brazilian offered an attacking thrust, too, and it was through him that the European Champions opened the scoring.
Mané’s cross from the left flank into the City box caused consternation and a limp clearance found Fabinho outside the box. With time to compose himself, the former Monaco man walloped a 25 yard strike into the left corner and past Claudio Bravo for a goal that sent Anfield into raptures after six minutes.
City were growing into the game and probing, but it wasn’t long before the famous old ground erupted with noise again.
In a game with technical footballers of the ilk of Bernardo Silva and Kevin De Bruyne, Trent Alexander Arnold stood out as a beacon of creative application and quality and it was through the academy full back’s pass that Liverpool doubled their lead.
Alexander Arnold’s searching and arched, left footed pass completely filleted Pep Guardiola’s midfield and found Andrew Robertson on the front foot. The Scot then produced a cross of the highest calibre, perfectly bouncing into the path of Mohamed Salah. Despite the pinpoint accuracy of the cross, the Egyptian scoring was no gimme. But the reigning Premier League golden boot winner deftly directed the ball past Bravo with his head for 2-0.
Staring down the barrel of a big defeat the visitors kept pushing, with Aguero neatly knitting the play when dropping deep from his centre forward role, but the Reds held firm. Angelino, starting at left back ahead of Benjamin Mendy, almost grabbed a goal back when his deflected strike hit the outside of Alisson’s post, but Liverpool held their 2-0 lead at the break.
Two goals became three just after the break when Mané headed past the despairing Bravo. Jordan Henderson, showing no ill signs of the virus that afflicted him during the week, powered past Kyle Walker and when tight to the right hand touchline fashioned a brilliant cross for Mané.
The Senegalese’s power prevented Bravo — who got a hand to the ball – from keeping the header out and the table toppers were in dreamland and held a commanding 3-0 lead.
Predictably, the defending Premier League Champions began to assert themselves after the concession of the third. Using Raheem Sterling heavily, City created a glut of half chances — with Walker and Bernardo both going close — but Liverpool remained defensively sturdy.
Finally, after what felt like an interminable wait, the light blues broke their goal scoring duck.
In a move seen a thousand times before, City scored from a cut back from the touchline. Angelino supplied the cross and Bernardo, with the aid of a deflection from Lovren, supplied the finish on the 78th minute mark.
A nervy final 12 minutes awaited the Anfield faithful, but Liverpool — who brought on Joe Gomez to shore up their right hand side and counteract Sterling’s influence — held on for a massive win in the context of the Premier League title race.
Liverpool team: Alisson; Alexander Arnold, Lovren, van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mané.
Substitutions: Milner for Henderson, Oxlade Chamberlain for Firmino, Gomez for Salah.
Subs not used: Adrian, Lallana, Keita, Origi.
Liverpool fans are enjoying being eight points clear at the top as we head into the international break; the aftermath of the win over Man City means the Reds are everywhere in the news on Monday.
The big message coming out of Anfield today is that it’s simply business as usual: beating Man City does not mean the title is wrapped up.
Few Liverpool fans would be so foolish as to voice any such opinions anyway, especially after the way we lost out in 13/14, but both Jurgen Klopp and Virgil van Dijk have been vocal about maintaining focus.
The Dutch defender has pointed to our ridiculous upcoming run of games, while the boss has reminded those in the media who want to get carried away that it’s still only November – an absurdly early time for title claims.Salah injury concerns
Mo Salah put in a much-improved performance and scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal at Anfield, but he also took a very heavy tackle on his already damaged ankle.
Thankfully, the Egyptian forward continued playing, but ESPN suggest that there are those within the Reds camp who are significantly concerned about the problem flaring up again.
Mo is off on international duty this week; it has been nice having him left out of the last couple of squads, but that was never going to last forever.
A cynic might suggest the headlines are nothing more than titles for clicks, now that Salah is back among the goals – surely he’d be kept back at Melwood if there was any substance to re-injury claims?Match catch-up
If there’s one problem with Sunday evening games, it’s that the following day when all the reaction comes out, people have to work or study. Infuriating, really.
Fear not – we’ve got you sorted so you don’t miss a thing:Big news for Hoever
Ki-Jana Hoever is at the U17 World Cup right now with the Netherlands – and his side, after a dreadful start to the competition, are now through to the semi-finals.
Hoever did a fair Trent Alexander-Arnold impression, too: playing from right-back and scoring a brilliant solo goal, which you can check out here – as well as why he’ll miss the semis and when the potential final is.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) November 11, 2019Stupid transfer story of the day
The Mirror‘s Jake Polden has managed to turn Klopp talking to Salah and Kevin de Bruyne in the Anfield corridors after the match into a “sparks wild transfer rumour” headline. Yes, wild is one word for it. We can think of another one though…What we’re reading
Two good pieces for your football-world reading today:
Nicky Bandini of the Guardian extolls the exciting, aggressive brilliance of Serie A surprise side Cagliari, led by Radja Nainggolan’s thunderous midfield play.
And for the Athletic, Adam Crafton and Matt Slater give an insight into what the life of a referee is really like, on and off the pitch.Worth watching tonight
It’s the start of international week, so not much – but if you’re keen on youth football and watching the stars of tomorrow, the U17 World Cup continues with Spain vs. France at 7:30pm (UK).Naked Wines £75 off offer for This Is Anfield readers
Maybe you like your wines like you like your football team; a smooth and zesty classic red?
Our friends at Naked Wines have a great offer for all This Is Anfield readers today — a £75 off voucher to spend on their range of reds, whites, rosé and fizz. Just in time for the festive season!
Continuing LFC Retail’s handy guide to help with your Christmas present shopping, we present our top Reds gifts for women.
Highlights of Liverpool U23s' 2-1 win over Sunderland in the Premier League Cup on Sunday are now available to watch on LFCTV GO.
Despite the home side taking the lead, Rhian Brewster played a big part in the comeback.
Firstly, his cross led to Michael Collins deflecting the ball into his own net and then the 19-year-old won a penalty and duly converted it to claim the victory.
Click play above to watch highlights of the game via LFCTV GO. Sign up now and claim your first month free.
For all those of a Liverpool persuasion, Sunday's 3-1 victory over Manchester City was cause for excitement - not least for our official match commentators.
Goals from Fabinho, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane sealed a fine win for the Reds, which moved them eight points clear at the top of the Premier League table heading into the international break.
As always, club commentator Steve Hunter was positioned in the Sir Kenny Dalglish Stand gantry to cover the game, joined by John Aldridge for the visit of Pep Guardiola's men.
We placed a camera on the duo throughout the 90 minutes to capture their emotions - and you can see how they reacted to events on the pitch in our entertaining clip above.
Liverpool FC welcomed representatives from the Royal British Legion and members of LFC Foundation’s Military Veterans programme to Anfield yesterday to mark Remembrance Sunday.
Prior to kick-off, LFC Foundation’s Military Veterans formed a guard of honour and both teams were led onto the pitch by Royal British Legion standard bearers Lyndsey Taggart and Eddie Flaherty, along with two service men from the Royal Navy - petty officer Michael T Bishop and leading hand Steve Haig, who signalled the minute's silence.
Liverpool FC chairman, Tom Werner, was also presented with a special plaque – a replica of the HMS Eaglet’s badge - from the Royal British Legion representatives.
The Reds played in shirts embellished with poppies to commemorate those who have sacrificed themselves to secure and protect our freedom, and after the match they players signed their jerseys for donation to the Royal British Legion to auction to raise funds for the Poppy Appeal.
The club would like to thank the service men and women for their contribution to yesterday’s Remembrance activities and for their impeccable representation on the pitch before the game.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists he feels no pressure to win the Club World Cup.
Liverpool will get the chance to prove that—and lift a trophy they have never won before—in Qatar next month.
However, Klopp is not concerned about being the man to bring home that particular piece of silverware for the first time.
“I didn’t think about that. I’m not someone who has to be the first on the moon or the first winning the World Cup with Liverpool, but when we are there then we will try with all we have,” he told FIFA.com.
“I don’t feel any pressure. I see it as an absolute opportunity as you don’t often have the chance to play for it.
“You have to win the Champions League [to qualify] as the European team, so that already makes it special.”
Liverpool’s participation in Doha has caused more than its fair share of problems with the club faced with fielding two separate sides on two different continents within 24 hours of each other as they also have a League Cup quarter-final to play.
With the club in pole position to secure their first league title in 30 years everything else seems to be taking a back seat but Klopp said when they go to Qatar—a trip which will give their domestic rivals a chance to reduce their advantage while they are away—they will be focused on the task in hand.
“When we go there, we will be prepared and looking forward to it,” added Klopp.
“The boys want to play it, so it will be very interesting, and it will feel big for us, 100 percent.”
Liverpool’s clutch of loanees endured contrasting fortunes over the weekend.
Harry Wilson opened the scoring from a well-worked set-piece routine for Bournemouth, but the Cherries ultimately fell to a 2-1 defeat to Newcastle United at St James’ Park in the Premier League on Saturday.
There was better news for Sheyi Ojo, who came on as a 58th minute substitute for Rangers in their 2-0 win at Livingston on Sunday – a result that keeps Steven Gerrard’s side level on points with Celtic at the top of the Scottish Premier League.
Elsewhere in Scotland, Liam Millar entered the action in the 77th minute as Kilmarnock were held at home by 10-man Hamilton Academical in a 2-2 draw.
Loris Karius was between the posts to help Besiktas to a 1-0 home win over Denizlispor in the Turkish Super Lig, but fellow custodian Kamil Grabara suffered a 3-1 defeat for Huddersfield Town at Preston North End. Shamal George’s Marine, meanwhile, played out a 1-1 stalemate with Pontefract Collieries.
Marko Grujic was an unused substitute for Hertha Berlin in their 4-2 Bundesliga defeat to RB Leipzig at the Olympic Stadium in the German captial on Saturday, while Nat Phillips remained on the bench for Stuttgart as they lost 1-0 at VfL Osnabrück.
In Brazil, Allan Rodrigues de Souza completed the 90 minutes as Fluminense were defeated 2-1 at Internacional.
Virgil van Dijk acclaimed Liverpool’s 3-1 victory over Manchester City as ‘a bit special’, but insisted no-one within the dressing room is getting carried away by the team’s standing at the Premier League summit.
A rampant Reds performance defeated the reigning champions at Anfield and opened up an eight-point lead at the top of the table, nine in front of Pep Guardiola’s men.
Nevertheless, while delighted by the outcome of a satisfying Sunday afternoon's work, Van Dijk explained why it’s far too early to draw conclusions from their position in the division.
He said: “It's like any other three points of course but it was a bit special because you are playing against the champions, your direct rival, and I think it was a very good game to watch. We are very happy to get the three points.
“We all know - and we all feel - there are so many games left that so many things can happen between now and May.
"The only thing which can happen is for everyone to stay fit and we need everyone to play as well as they can.
"We are very happy with the position we are in, but we cannot take it for granted. We just have to keep going and take it game-by-game.
"They are the champions first of all, so they will definitely be up there again. The other teams have been doing well, too.
"The only thing we focus on is the game ahead of us, it's pretty boring and I keep saying it, but it is actually a fact. Let's just go for it.
"You can imagine everyone is happy we got three points again, especially before an international break. It is not a nice feeling if you go into the international break having dropped points – especially at home – so we were very good and we had to be if we were going to get the three points."
Liverpool return to action following the international recess with a trip to Crystal Palace on November 23.
Overall, the Reds will contest 13 matches in four different competitions between now and January 2 and Van Dijk knows it’ll be a testing period.
“We have so many games left," he continued. "The busy period is still to come: December is unbelievably busy. Then we have January and February and you never know what can happen.
"We want everyone to be fit and at their best but you can't be at your best every other day. Hopefully we will do it but we can't think about it. We are very happy with the situation and we shouldn't take it for granted. Anything can happen."
Fabinho was one of the game's outstanding performers as Liverpool defeated Manchester City 3-1 at Anfield on Sunday - and you can take a closer look at his display in our special video.
The midfielder opened the scoring for the Reds after just six minutes, firing in a long-range effort to beat Claudio Bravo and give Jürgen Klopp's men the perfect start.
In addition, Fabinho was imperious in the centre of the pitch, turning in a typically robust performance.
Take a closer look at his finest moments from the win in our video above now.
Liverpool produced a fine display to record a 3-1 victory over Manchester City at Anfield on Sunday.
The victory saw the Reds extend their lead at the top of the Premier League to eight points.
Fabinho opened the scoring with a stunning strike while Mohamed Salah added a second following a superb combination between Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson.
Sadio Mane made it 3-0 after a brilliant cross from Jordan Henderson and although Bernardo Silva pulled a goal back it was to be Liverpool's day.
Here is what the media made of the victory...
Henry Winter, Times
They talk of never walking alone in these parts: a celebration of togetherness, a trait that defines this special collection of men in red. They are bonded by a crest, a community, a captain in Henderson who keeps challenging teammates to strive for the heights, and a charismatic manager in Jürgen Klopp whose emotional response to a game’s ebb and flow invigorates his players further. So much of Liverpool’s prodigious work is rooted in sports science, in ensuring their peak conditioning, and in their tactical approach, raiding rapidly, switching play and crossing. It is something deeper, too, more visceral. Liverpool players are running on adrenaline. Players, supporters and manager share this dream of a first title since 1990 and all at Anfield yesterday could not escape the stirring evidence of a team on a mission. Everyone present, or tuning in, was privileged to witness a classic. This was Premier League football at its intoxicating best, fast and furious, skill at speed, and Liverpool embodied it best. Klopp’s side look best equipped to last the course, not simply because of their healthy eight-point lead, and medical staff’s ability to keep players fit, but because it is in their hearts. Emotion is so often central to the narrative at Anfield.
Neil Jones, Goal.com
The big game got the big performance required. And for Liverpool, the biggest of three points, and the biggest step towards ending that long wait for a Premier League title. Jürgen Klopp would have dreamt it like this last night. His team had been asked the question, could they deliver when the lights shone bright? Could they stare down Manchester City, the champions, the record-breakers, the treble winners? They could. The Reds’ 3-1 win takes them nine points clear of Pep Guardiola’s side, who once more found Anfield a hurdle they just couldn’t clear. City, the great City, had no answers. They remain fourth in the table. Leicester and Chelsea, for now, are Liverpool's nearest challengers. Even those two are eight points adrift. Their 11th league win of the season was by far their best, a triumph of grit, aggression and clinical finishing. The concentration levels shown, from start to finish, were astounding. Klopp had urged everyone, including the hot-dog sellers, to play their part in making City’s life as uncomfortable as possible. He got his wish. His fans were noisy, his team were wired. Anfield crackled, it booed and it roared. Liverpool’s players responded. Fabinho, meanwhile, has established himself as one of Klopp’s big players
Paul Gorst, Liverpool Echo
It was this reverse fixture earlier this year when the influential Fabinho was left on the bench before his introduction began to get the Reds ticking. Since that game, his importance to this Liverpool side has only grown and grown. Now one of the first names on Klopp's team sheet, the former Monaco man has been a revelation. The final whistle was greeted with a huge cheer from every corner as the three points were confirmed. It is now 13 points from a possible 15 against the rest of last season's top six. City, in the sharpest of contrasts, have picked up one from games with the Reds and Tottenham. "We are the champions, champions of Europe," boomed the Kop as the three points came into full view. Maybe, just maybe, those lyrics will be tweaked next season.
David Lynch, Evening Standard
Had you studied the countless combined XIs put together in the build-up to this game, you would not have found many instances of a Liverpool midfielder featuring. Manchester City possess an enviable wealth of talent in that position that makes them far superior on paper - unfortunately for them, football is played on grass. Here, the Reds’ less glamorous trio of Georginio Wijnaldum, Fabinho and Henderson dominated, not through possession - as City might have - but sheer intelligence. The visitors simply could not cope with Liverpool’s press, or their midfield triumvirate’s underrated knack of getting the ball into advanced positions through either driving runs or fizzed passes. Liverpool’s engine room will probably continue to be unfairly maligned by pundits, but today’s result and indeed the league table is proof of just how wide of the mark most of those assessments are. Speaking of unfairly maligned, how about Dejan Lovren’s performance? The 30-year-old saved his best performance since returning to the starting XI for today, shutting down Sergio Aguero with an impressive showing of front-foot defending. Matip is scheduled to return following the upcoming international break but, with Lovren playing like this, he may well face a battle to earn his place back.
John Cross, Daily Mirror
Anfield was rocking, shaking with excitement and anticipation. Klopp’s men have the momentum, the belief and the overwhelming confidence that this, finally, will be their year as it felt like a seismic power shift in the title race. Liverpool are the team to beat while City are now big underdogs. Liverpool just have this wonderful winning habit, they look unstoppable and, in the power of Anfield, they have perhaps the biggest weapon of all. This was their 13th consecutive Premier League win at Anfield. Liverpool had an edge in most departments. Fabinho was man of the match as he ran midfield and arguably the game. Liverpool were ruthless with their finishing while City were wasteful.
This story has been reproduced from the media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.