RATINGS | Manchester City 4-0 Liverpool: Defensive shocker sparks difficult defeat

DON KOPLEONE rates the Liverpool players’ individual performances on a tough night in Manchester for the Reds.

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This scoreline, given the context, would suggest that Liverpool turned up to the Etihad Stadium and rolled over for their closest challengers, still basking in Premier League glory.

The truth, however, was that the Reds started the tie with quality and intensity.

At 0-0, Mo Salah struck the base of Ederson’s post and Sadio Mané failed to take advantage of the follow-up.

The Liverpool front three were pressing effectively and City youngster Eric García was fortunate that Mané could not be found after escaping the Spaniard’s attention on multiple occasions.


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Then, just before the first drinks break of the evening, Joe Gomez grabbed Raheem Sterling’s shirt in the penalty area and Kevin de Bruyne converted from the spot.

A momentum swing, and a nod to the fact that Liverpool may not have lost intensity in their play, but certainly defensive concentration and discipline was not quite at the standard that we have come to expect from this side.

Gomez was at fault for that goal, but it was Andrew Robertson who was particularly responsible for goals two, three and four, the Scot being dragged out of position stupidly in each instance.

This was not a 4-0 game, though.

How Liverpool failed to score is still beyond me: Mané, Firmino and Salah all squandered big chances, and Guardiola’s men were fortunate not to put the ball into their own net once or twice.

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But, if you make defensive errors against a side as good as Manchester City, you will be punished. And today, Liverpool were.

Your ratings, as Liverpool suffered our greatest defeat since the 5-0 loss at this same ground in Autumn 2017:

Starting XI

Ali 5.5 — Miscued a few kicks out, but was also dealing with some hospital passes. Arguably should have done better with Foden’s goal.

Trent 5 — Has not found his range since lockdown, the free-kick against Palace aside.

JoGo 5.5 — Unfortunate to be hooked at half-time, for me. Had been struggling with Sterling, but performed better than Robbo.

Big Virg 6.5 — Sprayed some Hollywood passes with ease, but even Virgil’s defensive concentration appeared to have dipped.

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Robbo 4 — The less said, the better. When was the last time a Liverpool player was at fault for three goals? Still, we know that this was out of character and somewhat excusable given the title win.

Hendo 7.5 — Liverpool’s best player at the Etihad, particularly in the second half.

Fab 7 — Continued with good form shown since the restart.

Gini 5 — Third successive game where Wijnaldum has looked lost in the Liverpool midfield. Not currently playing his way into a new contract.

Mo 6.5 — Very unlucky when denied by the post. Not bad.

Bobby 5.5 — Pressed intently as ever, but his touch was off and the Reds’ No.9 failed to find the right pass to capitalise on some counter-attacking opportunities.

Sadio 6 — Movement and intent was superb. His touch, however, let him down on multiple occasions, most clearly when failing to sort his feet out when through on goal at 3-0.

Subs

Ox 6.5 — Can’t be blamed for the goals conceded before his appearance at half-time, nor for accidentally turning the fourth into his own net.

Divvy 6 — Held onto the ball too long a few times, but served as a decent focal point.

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Naby Lad 7 — Deserves to start ahead of Wijnaldum on current form.

Neco 6.5 — Will appreciate the minutes against such a good team, despite the situation.

Taki 6 — Looks like a man who needs that first goal to boost his confidence.


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