Newly crowned champions Liverpool were caught cold as they suffered a 4-0 defeat at the hands of the outgoing champions Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday night.
With the title wrapped up last week, there were some expectations that the Reds wouldn’t be at their best shape coming into this game and it proved to be the case with them conceding four poor goals and missing some glaring opportunities to score at the other end.
After making a good start to the game where they pressed well and created turnovers, Liverpool conceded three goals in quick succession before half-time.
The first came through a penalty when Joe Gomez pulled Raheem Sterling back in the box. Kevin de Bruyne stepped up to score the spot-kick.
The second goal came through a swift City counter-attack which was polished off by a nice ball from Phil Foden to allowe Sterling to score.
Thereafter, the aforementioned assist-maker got a goal for himself after some lovely play at the edge of the box. Andy Robertson’s positioning for the second and third goals was questionable, to say the least.
Pep Guardiola’s men made it four after Trent Alexander-Arnold lost the ball in a bad area, allowing Riyad Mahrez to counter before Sterling was through on goal. His initial shot was going wide but covering Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain slid the ball into his own net.
All in all, a forgettable display from the Reds, who looked way short of pace.
Here’s how we rated the Liverpool players:
Could have done better to deal with the third goal as he came out too early, allowing Foden time to pick his spot. Had no chance to save either of the other goals. Was wayward on the ball too and only a VAR check spurred his blushes late on as he was beaten at his near post.
Trent Alexander-Arnold - 2
The right-back had a game to forget/ His poor control to allow Mahrez to breakthrough for City’s fourth goal was indicative of his lethargic performance. Subbed off in the second half.
Joe Gomez - 2
Gomez never looked settled in the game and his poor positioning led to him fouling Sterling in the box. The Englishman didn’t improve after that as well and he got turned easily for the second goal. Subbed off at half-time.
Virgil van Dijk - 6
Even though he was one of the better players on the pitch for Liverpool, van Dijk had an ordinary game by his standards. The Dutchman was a bit too laid back and didn’t deal with danger well. His passing was good from the back, though.
Andy Robertson - 1
His worst game in a Liverpool shirt. Robertson seemed as if he was still hungover! Some of his touches were wayward, and his decision to attempt to step up and win the ball back in midfield allowed City to score the second and third goals from his side of the defence. Didn’t do much going forward either.
Fabinho - 6
Fabinho had a decent game in midfield in the first half and had to do a job at the back in the second half. The Brazilian looked decent in both halves, leaving the Etihad Stadium with some respectability.
Jordan Henderson - 7
The captain worked hard, pressed the ball well and made some good passes in the final third. He tired a bit in the second half, but he never stopped trying.
Georginio Wijnaldum - 2
A passive performance from the midfielder who wasn’t committed enough to help the team press and didn’t track back enough to stop City’s counter-attacks. His passing was too slow as well. Subbed off in the second half.
Mohamed Salah - 6
Salah began the game sharp as he forced a good save from Ederson and he hit the post before the City juggernaut started. The Egyptian remained a threat throughout as he got onto balls in behind the opposition defence. However, he left his scoring boots at home.
Roberto Firmino - 5
Some of his pressing work to create turnovers was impressive in the first half but, the Brazilian wasted a couple of good opportunities to score and tired down early on in the second half. Subbed off around the hour mark.
Sadio Mane - 2
Mane had umpteen chances to score, two of them being one-on-ones against Ederson. However, the Senegalese star managed to miss each one of those chances. His touch was awful throughout and his game lacked sharpness and pace.
Subbed off late on.
(SUB) Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - 5
Came on at half-time and did a decent job in midfield, without doing anything extravagant. Unlucky that the fourth City goal was awarded to him as an own goal but that’s how it goes sometimes.
(SUB) Naby Keita - 6
Keita looked lively and sharp on the ball from the time he came on. The Guinea international looked like someone who had a point to prove to Klopp, who Keita will hopefully get more opportunities from in the upcoming games.
(SUB) Divock Origi - 4
Came on for Firmino and couldn’t do much while leading the line. Some of his touches weren’t good enough.
(SUB) Takumi Minamino - 4
Played a few minutes of and looked eager on/off the ball.
(SUB) Neco Williams -
The youngster played the final quarter of an hour and did well. He was a bundle of energy on the right-hand side and showed some good quality on and off the ball.