Liverpool vs. Manchester City: *Bumper* Post-Match Analysis
What a match!
Paul Tomkins, Andrew Beasley, Daniel Rhodes and other TTT regulars will give their thoughts on the match for 24 hours after the game, so the article received via email is unlikely to be the final version (although there’s a lot in today’s already). There's statistics from the match and videos too.
My half-time notes said it all:
"It’s coming back. In halves, periods. Even with multiple enforced changes, long periods in games are starting to feel that the vibe is shifting in the Reds' favour again."
Last week it was the first half at Arsenal; midweek, the second half in Rangers, won 6-0 after the interval. That's how you build: in stages. Another good first half today, if a little edgy at times.
Then, the explosion of the second half; a crazy 45 minutes of end-to-end slugging; with the Reds having all the best chances.
Against a team of 12 Mancunians (how does a Mancunian ref get so many games of Liverpool vs Mancunian sides?), Liverpool needed the VAR just to get the award of a simple, clear free-kick, but even Anthony Taylor's one-man crusade couldn't stop the Reds. By the end you could literally rugby-tackle Mo Salah if you were in blue. Jürgen Klopp got sent off because Taylor was so inept. Or maybe, after ignoring four clear fouls on the Egyptian, just following this trend:
At half-time, I feared that the Reds may run out of puff, after a Battle of Britain midweek (as City rested their stars), and with so many players dropping in and out with injuries. The odds felt stacked in City’s favour.
Ageing James Milner, Bobby Firmino, Mo Salah, Virgil van Dijk, Thiago and others, asked to run and run; but in the end the fresh legs from the bench gave Liverpool one last burst of energy – and indeed, the Reds might have scored more on the break.
Liverpool fielded their 4th-choice right-back, with the 2nd-choice, Joe Gomez, moving to centre-back, where he’s the 4th choice. That says it all for how deep the home team had to dig, against a state-funded sportwashing project.
But Gomez was sensational. And van Dijk put on an absolute masterclass alongside him. Erling Haaland appeared to be boxed-up like Scandinavian build-it-yourself furniture; flat-packed to ineffectual irrelevance (on the day, at least, albeit for the 2nd time against the Reds this season).
Milner rolled back the years in a scarcely believable manner, and Diogo Jota's insane running only came to an end with what looked like a nasty late hamstring injury, to add to the catalogue.
I noted a couple of days ago in my TTT ZenDen piece (separate cheaper subscription required) that City hadn't actually played anyone of note yet, bar a disastrous Man United at home. Haaland is a freak (as you'd hope for £900,000 a week), City are title favourites, but they've been beating lower-table sides:
Yes, they're a top team, funded to the eyeballs, but they hadn't yet played anyone who could trouble them.
And at times today, Liverpool cut them apart.
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