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Reds Column V

Premier League 2020-21 Summary: Liverpool vs Manchester City

Liverpool Fc (The Reds) suffered back-to-back home defeats in the Premier League after getting hammered by League Leaders Manchester City Fc 1-4.

In place of Caoimhin Kelleher, Alisson Becker took over the Goalkeeping Duties after the Brazilian recovered from his illness.

After recovering from their respective injuries; Fabinho and Sadio Mané were also named in the Starting XI as the Duo replaced Nathaniel Phillips and Xherdan Shaqiri.

Jürgen Klopp made 3 changes to the squad that lost to the visitors Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club (The Seagulls).

Versatile Midfielder Fabinho was lined-up alongside Captain Jordan Henderson at Centre Back with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson operating as Full Backs.

Elsewhere, youngster Curtis Jones came in for James Milner with the rest of the Players that faced the visitors Seagulls retaining their spots.

Ozan Kabak was named among the substitutes for the Reds home encounter with Manchester City (The Cityzens) and Ben Davis was not included in the Matchday Squad.

With the Reds Premier League Title hopes barely hanging by a thread, the decision to name Curtis Jones in the squad was perplexing.

The Cityzens pressed very high on the Reds Defence, thus making this a very fast game. This suited the Reds as they struggled against their previous opponents that looked to slow down the tempo.

In the 3rd minute, Thiago picked up a Yellow Card for a needless challenge on İlkay Gündoğan but Thiago improved as the game went on.

The Cityzens looked for an early breakthrough but Oleksandr Zinchenko missed his shot to the right in the 8th minute following an assist from Raheem Sterling.

Watching the Reds previous opponents, the visitors clearly did their homework on how to negate the Reds attack by working hard on getting men behind the ball as soon as the Reds got the possession.

Yet, the Cityzens looked more comfortable in possession and looked far more threatening going forward during the First Half.

Mané could have given an early lead for the Reds but his header went high of the post following an assist from Alexander-Arnold in the 24th minute.

After Fabinho fouled Sterling inside the Penalty Box, Gündoğan took the Penalty Kick in the 37th minute but blazed his shot of the post.

That was a massive reprieve for the Reds and the home side should count themselves really fortunate after Makeshift Defender Fabinho conceded a needless Penalty. That itself was an early warning of what’s yet to come!

With both sides unable to break the deadlock, the First Half ended at 0-0.

Phil Foden had his shot saved by Alisson following an assist from Sterling but Gündoğan struck the ball on the back of the net from the resulting rebound in the 49th minute.

Sterling was allowed far too easily by Alexander-Arnold in the build up to the Goal and Curtis Jones failed to mark Gündoğan.

Jones struck his shot but was the ball was nowhere near the net after an assist from Firmino in the 55th minute.

In the 61st minute, Salah was fouled by Rúben Dias in the Penalty Box. Salah then scored from the Penalty to equalise for the Reds.

Thiago and Curtis Jones was replaced by Shaqiri and Milner in the 67th minute.

Fabinho fouled Phil Foden in the 69th minute and was shown the Yellow Card.

The Cityzens looked to make 1-2 but after a VAR Review, John Stones was caught offside following a through ball from Foden in the 70th minute.

A massive blunder from Alisson helped the Visitors to regain the lead after a poor pass from Brazilian went straight to Foden.

Foden then laid on the plate for Gündoğan who then struck the ball to make it 1-2 for the visitors in the 73rd minute.

Another blunder from Alisson helped the Cityzens to extend their lead to 1-3 as the Brazilian again misplaced his pass but this time to Bernando Silva who then crossed the ball to Sterling.

Sterling calmly headed the ball in the empty net in the 76th minute.

To rub salt in to wound for the Reds, the Cityzens made it 1-4 after a well struck shot from Foden after cutting past Andrew Robertson in the 82nd minute.

With the Match long gone and the Premier League Title once again heading to the Cityzens, Konstantinos Tsimikas was brought on to replace Andrew Robertson in the 85th minute.

The Match ended at 1-4 and the result meant that the Reds have lost 3 successive home League games since the 1960’s.

 

Reds Team Performance Ratings

Liverpool (4-3-3 Formation)

Defence:

Alisson Becker – 2: Looked shaky particularly during the Second Half. His 2 Horrendous Passes effectively killed the game and most likely the Reds chance to win back-to-back Premier League Titles. A real low moment for the Brazilian but not all the blame should be on the Brazilian’s shoulder as he lacked the support from experienced Centre Backs.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 5: Played well during the First Half but his defensive frailties were exposed particularly during the Second Half especially the build up to the First Goal for the Visitors.

Fabinho – 5: Picked a Yellow Card during the Second Half. Playing much of the Season as a Makeshift Centre Back, games like these with mistakes were bound to happen. Conceded a needless Penalty and was troubled by the Visitors attackers throughout.

Jordan Henderson – 5: The Captain tried his best playing in a familiar position as a Makeshift Defender. Just could not contain the Visitors attack and on the contrary, his presence was sorely missed in the Midfield.

Andrew Robertson – 5: Made Life difficult for Riyad Mahrez but was exposed by Foden in the Second Half. Lacked energy as the game went on.

Midfield:

Curtis Jones – 5: With the Reds chances of winning the Premier League barely hanging by a thread, clearly this is not the kind of game to bring on an inexperienced youngster. The team loses cohesion in the Midfield more times than not when the youngster plays. Just ball watching rather than marking Gündoğan that led to the opening Goal for the Visitors. Largely ineffective and was too circumspect offering almost nothing going forward. Just perplexing decision from Klopp to select the youngster.

Georginio Wijnaldum – 6: One of the few Players that played with energy and tried to make things happen.

Thiago Alcântara – 5: Got booked early in the First Half and improved slightly but again went anonymous before getting subbed during the Second Half. In a game of high stakes, perhaps 4-2-3-1 Formation should have suited the Spaniard much better.

Forwards:

Sadio Mané – 5: Should have scored early in the First Half and went anonymous throughout the game. That’s been the ongoing story of the misfiring Reds forward this Season and the injury to Diogo Jota has made things worse.

Roberto Firmino – 5: One volley saved by Ederson during the First Half. That’s it. Very quite game from the Brazilian who simply is out of form! The return of Diogo Jota is simply long overdue!

Mohamed Salah – 6: Kept the Reds in the hunt and calmly equalised for the Reds before calamity happened.

Substitutes:

Xherdan Shaqiri – N/A: Tried his best to change the game but the game slipped away.

James Milner – N/A: Too slow and could not catch up with the tempo of the game.

Konstantinos Tsimikas – N/A: Playing for much needed game time.

Coach:

Jürgen Klopp – 3: Against a weakened Manchester City Fc side sans Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Ageruo; Klopp could have utilised 4-2-3-1 Formation.

What’s even more perplexing was Klopp’s decision to include youngster Curtis Jones in the Starting XI. The youngster’s presence disrupts the Team’s rhythm and cohesion. Hauling off Thiago during the Second Half was understandable but naming Curtis in the Starting XI was simply inexcusable.

When better options were available; frequently playing inexperienced youngsters and Makeshift Defenders has become one of the primary reasons of why the Reds found themselves in an awkward position of meekly surrender the Premier League Title back to Manchester City Fc.

With the Premier League Title most likely heading back to Manchester City Fc, the Reds must concentrate on securing the Top Four Spot for the remainder of the Season.

 

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