“There is but one rule: hunt or be hunted.” If you’re a fan of the American web television series House of Cards, you’ll be familiar with that Francis Underwood quote; if you’re a fan of Manchester City, you’ll be aware of how applicable it is to our farce of a season.
Before last night’s 3-0 loss against Liverpool, Vincent Kompany warned rivals that City were now entering the ‘hunting season’. But strolling with an arrogance motivated by our Capital One Cup final victory over the same side on Sunday rather than creeping cautiously into the opposition’s territory, we found ourselves caught up in a barbarous Liverpool stampede. City the so-called hunters had become the prey.
And so this humiliating and unacceptable run against the league’s top eight goes on. In 11 games against the sides currently occupying those positions, we’ve lost eight, drawn three and haven’t won once. City are skilled predators when hunting the rats and mice of this division but flee like impala in the face of the lions and tigers.
This was a performance uglier than the thing that awkwardly leans on top of Jon Flanagan’s neck. Liverpool may have finished in second place at Wembley, but they were first to everything in this Premier League tie. It was, regrettably, a display orchestrated by gobshite Adam Lallana – a player who, despite undoubtedly spending his weekends in leopard print vests, sunglasses and grotty Scouse nightclubs, deems it wise to challenge real men like Yaya Touré in physical off-the-ball battles. Unfortunately for City, Lallana is also one of Klopp’s more willing gegenpressers and his energy was too much for us last night.
The 27-year-old opened the scoring with a weak left-footed strike that trickled past Hart. Otamendi – disturbingly bad yesterday – was off trying to cut a blade of grass with his leg somewhere far, far away, while Hart – the man most of us would have loved to see start at Wembley – stood rooted to the ground. After Caballero’s heroic display in the cup final, a piece of poor goalkeeping from Joe was written in the stars.