Match Coverage

Liverpool 3-0 City: match report and goals

“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.

Seven minutes later, a cutting Firmino pass was controlled brilliantly by James Milner who evaded Zabaleta’s tackle and made it two. He even celebrated, the t**t.

Also facing his former side, Raheem Sterling endured a 45 minutes to forget on his first return to Anfield. His battle with Flanagan made excellent viewing for the Liverpool fans who terrorised their former winger from the stands. A few big tackles, 45 minutes and a couple of looks at the Scouse Hunchback of Notre Dame later and Sterling was finished. Wilfried Bony took his place and commenced a series of substitutions that seriously made you question whether Pellegrini was just taking the piss.

Of course, there was no coming back from the two goals in the first half. City don’t do comebacks this season. It was a showing so enragingly predictable and so bereft of desire that I refused to watch the second half. “How are you going to write the report, mate?” my tit of a United supporting mate asked in the most falsely compassionate voice ever. “F**k off,” I replied, and the TV came back on. Awaiting me was the sagging face of Pellegrini, a face that mocked and chuckled behind vacant eyes as Fernandinho’s number went up on the fourth official’s board. On came Kelechi Iheanacho and with it the opportunity for Klopp’s side to completely embarrass us. Pellegrini had picked up the hunting rifle and had turned it on his own team.

David Silva, quite obviously f***ed, was now part of a midfield two behind four attacking players that had no idea where they were meant to be playing. The aerial view of our formation looked like something my Mum would put together when locked in a room and told to play on Football Manager for the day. Coincidentally, two minutes after Iheanacho’s introduction, Firmino smashed in Liverpool’s third. This was laughable stuff from a team with title aspirations.

Forgetting that Liverpool had played in the same game three days ago, Pellegrini provided some lazy excuses for our latest catastrophe:

“It was because we were not fresh. From the beginning I could see we were not fresh. Liverpool had more energy and played at a higher pace. They could make more changes. We didn’t have any midfielders to change without Yaya Touré. We had just defenders or one striker to make the change.”

In truth, Klopp fielded a side much weaker than the team that played at Wembley. They were without their best player Coutinho and lacked the threat of Sturridge up front. The difference here was not fatigue, but desire, fight and passion. Without it, a good side will win nothing and that is why we now face a battle to stay in the top four rather than one involving the Premier League title.

A ‘coward’, you say? Pep Guardiola is now looking like a mad man.


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