Saturday saw Manchester City take on Liverpool in the biggest and most anticipated game of the season. Here’s a review of the game that saw Liverpool beat City to the BIG ONE.
It was all Liverpool limbs in Leicester City’s King Power stadium on Saturday, as Liverpool’s cheap new signing Darwin Nunez celebrated sealing the deal by passionately ripping off his shirt and….
Sorry I couldn’t help it – whilst Liverpool beat City in fact, let’s roll back to reality.
Manchester City, Premier League Champions, continued their preseason, with just their third game, on home soil with a game in the Community Shield against last season’s quad…. No, FA and Carabao Cup winners, Liverpool.
The only thing anticipated by City fans in this preseason friendly was who would be starring in the line up of starting XI.
Manchester City announced their line up an hour ahead of kick off. Pep had gone with an experienced side:
Manchester City XI: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Ake, Cancelo, Rodri, Bernardo, De Bruyne, Grealish, Mahrez and Haaland.
Subs: Ortega, Phillips, Stones, Gundogan, Alvarez, Foden, Mbete, Palmer, Wilson-Esbrand.
Liverpool XI: Adrian, Trent, Matip, Van Donkey, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago, Firmino, Salah, Diaz.
Subs: Davies, Gomez, Konate, Milner, Keita, Jones, Elliott, Nudes, Carvalho.
The national anthem was a sign that kick-off was fast approaching. Like what we have seen over the years, Liverpool fans bizarrely and proudly booed the national anthem whilst fans and England players, including Jordan Henderson tried to drown them out.
Understandably, City fans were most excited about seeing how Erling Haaland would perform in his first game, albeit a friendly, against another Premier League club.
It is safe to say that he has been a major talking point since Liverpool took the victory with a lightly deflected goal – a Trent cross that grazed the head of Ake, which took it past Ederson.
Alexander-Arnold was so overjoyed by his deflected goal in the friendly, that his celebration was to shush the crowd – perhaps still bitter about losing out on the Premier League title to City – again. Or perhaps the England international was shushing fans for booing the national anthem.
Manchester City finally equalised into the second half through two of the subs, Foden and Alvarez with the goal – he looked confused at it took an hour to make a clear to the naked eye, onside decision – seriously, what do they do in their VAR den?
Salah scored, a penalty obviously, to put Liverpool back into the lead. Penalty given for a Dias handball. Despite the occurrence being described in the rulebook, as two different instances of why handballs won’t be given.
An incident that was shown by ITV immediately, over and over again until the referee had reached the decision everyone wanted.
Anyone remember the Matip handball incident? Don’t be surprised, ITV quickly skipped over that little indiscretion.
Anyway, then the Uruguayan Andy Carroll scored and stripped half naked because he was so overwhelmed to score a goal in this preseason friendly – bless.
Haaland did have the ball in the back of the net from a Foden backheel, however the ball had gone out of play and was consequently disallowed.
To those that follow City, it was clear that they have forgotten how to play with a traditional big meat shield striker. Haaland had been making some impressive runs in behind Liverpool’s defence without being picked up.
Haaland also looked sharp in the box and ready to pounce on any sniff of an opportunity. I suspect the weight of expectations made him a little clumsy, though the goals will come, no doubt.
Alvarez and Foden looked sharp when they came on and gave City some width at times, but also brought a youthful energy which had been seriously lacking before they came on.
The pair of them had a hand in City’s only goal, which gave Alvarez his first goal as a blue. He had impressed in preseason with his energy, pressing and rapid passing. He continued to bring that, and it’s what City fans and Pep love to see.
It was clear that with the big changes within the squad this summer, City would have benefited from a more thorough preseason. Though the potential was there. An exciting season lies ahead – providing we can avoid relegation.
Will Liverpool beat City again this season? Or will City look to silence them once more?