The goals were flowing at Anfield this Sunday, where Manchester City had their first taste of defeat all season as Liverpool earned a thrilling 4-3 win.
The Reds were ahead in the ninth minute when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain picked out the bottom corner, but ended the half on level terms after Leroy Sane thumped in an equaliser five minutes before the break.
Roberto Firmino showed great strength and composure to put the Reds back into the lead on the hour mark, before Sadio Mane doubled that advantage with an equally spectacular strike just two minutes later.
Mohamed Salah made a fool of Ederson, catching the goalkeeper off his line to extend Liverpool’s advantage, before Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan pulled two goals back for City late on.
The first heart-in-mouth moment arrived as early as the fourth minute when Roberto Firmino flicked the ball over the top for Sadio Mane to run onto, but his first touch was terrible to allow the defence back into position, and the chance fizzled away after Mohamed Salah’s shot was deflected away from danger.
At the other end, a positive drive forward from Kevin De Bruyne resulted in a half-chance that Raheem Sterling was not able to take under his control, and his subsequent appeals to the referee were greeted with boos from the Anfield crowd, or whom he is still very much a persona non grata.
The first goal arrived early, and from a somewhat unlikely source in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The former Arsenal man picked up possession in midfield after a scrappy exchange and unleashed a low, fizzing shot across Ederson in goal and into the bottom corner.
The Reds were threatening for a second, with Sadio Mane causing problems for the City defence, holding up the ball and then back-heeling to find Salah, who was unable to thread the needle before City could clear. At the other end, Sergio Aguero was unable to get a toe to De Bruyne’s cross, despite throwing himself at the ball as it fizzed across the Liverpool goal.
City were not at their best in the first half and some of their midfield play was bordering on sloppy, but they were level with five minutes left of the first half thanks to some terrific play from Leroy Sane. The German controlled a long, cross-field pass on his chest, taking him past Joe Gomez in the process, before unleashing a thumping shot in at the near post.
10 minutes into the second half and Oxlade-Chamberlain came close to his second of the match with a bit of skill and a shot just wide at the near post, just a few seconds after Salah’s fierce volley was palmed away by Ederson.
The Reds were back in the lead on the hour mark when Firmino chased down a through-pass and shouldered John Stones off the ball before curling a lovely effort past Ederson.
Mane had clipped the outside of the post ahead of Firmino’s goal, and the Senegal international scored the third not long afterwards. Salah put pressure on Otamendi to pick the ball off him, and played it square for Mane, who took a touch to control it before unleashing a firecracker into the top corner with his left foot.
Salah added a fourth in the 68th minute, and possibly the best of the bunch. Ederson had come off his line to clear the danger, but his clearance was low and straight into Salah, who saw the Brazilian goalkeeper off his line and lifted the ball over him and into the empty net.
There was some late consolation for City and a goal under his belt for Bernardo Silva, who came on in place of Raheem Sterling in the second half. The ball fell nicely to the Portugal international just inside the box, and he supplied an emphatic finish to pull it back to 4-2 with six minutes left to play.
As the match entered four minutes of stoppage time, Sane was still running at the Liverpool defence, and his probing saw the ball fall towards Ilkay Gundogan in the box, who took a touch on his chest before scrambling it past Karius to make it an uneasy finish for the home side.
Full Time: Liverpool 4 – 3 Manchester City
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