Premier League reaction: Liverpool beat Man City - is the title theirs?
The Reds open up an eight-point gap at the top of the table as City slump to fourth
Liverpool 3 Man City 1
Liverpool are eight points clear of the chasing pack at the top of the Premier League after dishing out a 3-1 drubbing to Manchester City.
The reigning champions were three down six minutes into the second half and although they pulled a goal back on 78 minutes thanks to Bernardo Silva the visitors had no answer to Jurgen Klopp's Red Army, who overran their title challengers with a performance of real character and zest.
“They were good and we had to defend with all we had but we scored incredible goals,” said the Liverpool manager, whose side are surely now on course to win their first top-flight title since 1990. “The boys were completely focused and concentrated, it was so good. It is the only way we can beat City, maybe other teams can do it a different way but this is the only way we can beat them.”
Pep goes full Fawlty
Not that Liverpool’s win didn't have a whiff of controversy about it. The Reds took the lead on six minutes when Fabinho sent a rasping drive past Claudio Bravo, but the goal was given only after a VAR check for handball against Trent Alexander-Arnold 20 second earlier in the Liverpool box. The decision irritated Pep Guadiola, who was likened by The Times to “Basil Fawlty thrashing his car with a branch”, and the City manager was again aggreived when the same player appeared to get away with another handball later in the game. “Ask to the referees, don’t ask me,” snapped Guardiola about the incidents. “Ask to Mike Riley and the guys in VAR. I would like to talk about our performance, it was so good.”
True, City were good in spells but despite all their possession Raheem Sterling and Sergio Agüero both squandered chances, while Liverpool took theirs. First Mo Salah doubled the home side’s advantage on 13 minutes when he headed home Andrew Robertson’s excellent cross, and another superb delivery - this time from Jordan Henderson - enabled Sadio Mane to make it 3-0 on 51 minutes.
Silva’s goal turned out to be only a consolation and Guardiola finished the match in a fury after Michael Oliver waved away the second penalty appeal against Alexander-Arnold. “Always we try, never give up that is why we are back-to-back champions,” said the Spaniard. “Always fight until the end.”
But the way Liverpool are playing at the moment suggests that it will be a forlorn fight this season.
What they's saying about the title race
Jurgen Klopp: “Other people will say, and have said already, that from now on Liverpool can only lose it. That’s a very negative approach, but you can see it like this. But we don’t care.”
Pep Guardiola: “There are three teams in front that have more chances to be champions but we are going to try.”
Barney Ronay in The Guardian: “There will of course be a temptation to call it now, to say Liverpool won the title here, that this is an impregnable lead. It should be resisted.”
Neil Ashton in The Sun: “Surely 30 years of hurt – the three decades since Liverpool’s last league title – are finally coming to an end.”