In the pre-match discussion before Liverpool took on Manchester City at Anfield, Vincent Kompany insinuated that for those playing this is now the biggest fixture that the Premier League has to offer.
Even if Reds fans maybe still feel that the tie against the other Manchester side is the one to look out for, the Kop recognised that three points today would be key in the title race.
After Jurgen Klopp’s side took an early two goal lead, the early anti-City hostility inside the ground hence became a feeling of jubilation at the performance of the men in red. Truth be told, Liverpool were not at their best in this one, despite the 3-1 scoreline.
Following Fabinho and Mohamed Salah’s quick strikes, though, they merely needed to see the result out. Sadio Mané added a third soon after half-time, meaning Bernardo Silva’s late finish was little more than a consolation.
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City, and especially Raheem Sterling, felt that they might have been awarded a few penalties by Michael Oliver, but their appeals fell on deaf ears, and they fall nine points adrift of the Anfield side.
The result was all that mattered, but which players stood out for Liverpool? Don Kopleone returned to ratings duty.
Alisson 7 — A couple of odd kicks out from the back, but was dependable as ever between the sticks. Dealt with the aerial ball perfectly, as City took corner after corner.
Trent 6.5 — Was his a handball in the build up to the Fabinho goal? Very possibly, maybe even probably. But it wasn’t given. He survived, we survived. Had a high-class battle with Sterling.
Degsy 6.5 — Looked shaky first half but improved after the break.
Big Virg 7.5 — Edging back towards top form with an imperious display. Notable that Aguero stuck on Lovren for the seventy minutes that he was on the pitch.
Robbo 7.5 — Superb delivery for Salah’s goal. Dealt reasonably well with Bernardo Silva, who was City’s most dangerous player throughout.
Hendo 8 — A good first forty-five was then complemented by a sensational delivery as Sadio Mané made it 3-0 to the home side. Tired soon after and was replaced by Milner.
Fab 8 — Liverpool had looked nervy before their Brazilian anchor hit a piledriver home from nearly thirty yards. Bravo’s positioning was questionable, but this was arguably the crucial moment of the Premier League season, so far. Continued to dominate after that.
Gini 8 — The Dutchman’s best performance in a red shirt for a while, and Liverpool’s outstanding player after the interval. Carried the ball forward with great purpose on a number of occasions, and won important possession time and again.
Mo 7.5 — Really impressive first-half performance, as the Egyptian looked the most dangerous player on the pitch. Good header to double Klopp’s side’s lead. Was shattered by the end, and probably should have been withdrawn earlier.
Bobby 7 — If the Reds’ No.9 had been able to find the back of the net, this would have been a complete Firmino performance, however moments of brilliance were occasionally let down by a poor end product.
Sadio 7.5 — The Senegalese’s performance could be overlooked today, but Mané worked tirelessly for 94 minutes, held the ball up incredibly for a man of his stature, and scored the all-important third goal.
Milly 5.5 — Lacked composure and failed to win a few 50-50s which were in his favour.
Ox 6.5 — Better impact than Milner, but wasted one breakaway opportunity.
JoGo N/A — Was unlucky when a foul was given against him, after appearing to outpace and outmuscle Sterling.
Man of the Match: Fabinho
Could be any of the midfield three, but the Brazilian edges it for a wonderful goal to set the Reds on their way.