Liverpool edge past Manchester City in fiery Anfield battle
Mohamed Salah scored the only goal of the match as Liverpool ended Manchester City’s 21-game unbeaten Premier League run with a 1-0 win during a fiery encounter at Anfield.
With Arsenal securing a 1-0 victory over Leeds United only a few minutes after kickoff, Man City were aiming to keep their one-point deficit to the Gunners, while Liverpool sought to rise as high as eighth with a win.
Not until the 76th minute would the net ripple between the two perennial title challengers, as Salah finally got the better of Ederson, and the reigning champions’ talisman Erling Braut Haaland was nullified as City travelled home empty-handed
After a strong start to the game from the Reds, City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan let fly on the half-volley with 15 minutes gone, but Alisson Becker was equal to his effort with a comfortable save down low.
Andy Robertson also blazed over the crossbar for Liverpool from a promising position in the first half, and it was no surprise to see Haaland presented with a couple of chances to break the deadlock.
However, Alisson easily kept out a header from the Norwegian straight into the centre of the goal just before half time, and the Anfield crowd were pleased with what they saw in the first 45 minutes.
Five minutes after the restart, Liverpool broke forward on the counter-attack, with Roberto Firmino releasing Salah one-on-one against Ederson, but the Man City shot-stopper came up with a brilliant touch to send the Egyptian’s effort a whisker wide of the post.
The ball was in the back of the net just a few moments later, as Phil Foden ghosted in to finish via a deflection off of Joe Gomez, but VAR came to Liverpool’s rescue as the goal was ruled out.
Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson appeared to have two hands on the ball before Haaland stole in, although the goal was ultimately ruled out for a shirt pull on Fabinho by the Norwegian in the build-up.
Pep Guardiola cut a furious figure on the touchline before seeing Diogo Jota head just wide of the post, and Alisson continued to win his personal battle with Haaland, getting down low to his right to keep the game goalless.
A wave of substitutions then came from the Liverpool dugout, although there was confusion when Salah’s number came up, and the Kop were elated that the 30-year-old was not taken off just a few minutes later.
Alisson gathered the ball inside the penalty area before unleashing a pinpoint long ball to Salah, who spun Joao Cancelo and made no mistake when through on goal against Ederson this time around, calmly curling home to send Anfield into delirium.
The recently-introduced Darwin Nunez then sent an effort just wide as Liverpool upped the ante, although frustration spilled out for Klopp, who was infuriated when an apparent foul on Salah right in front of the assistant was not given.
The Reds boss was given his marching orders before Salah and Bernardo Silva engaged in handbags, and Klopp’s demeanour would not have changed much when Liverpool found themselves three on one in the Man City half, but Nunez selfishly tried to go himself and the attack fizzled out.
Six minutes were added on in the second half, and substitute Trent Alexander-Arnold could not connect properly with Nunez’s ball across the box in the third of them, slicing a difficult effort wide of the mark.
The mood was soured somewhat when Jota was stretchered off approaching the 100-minute mark, but Anfield erupted into delight when Anthony Taylor’s final whistle blew.
Defeat for Man City leaves them four points behind leaders Arsenal in second place after 10 games, while Liverpool have risen to eighth place and are now six points adrift of the top four.