Full Time: Liverpool 3-0 Manchester City
Anfield was witness to another incredible European night as Liverpool hammered Manchester City in their Champions League quarter-final first leg. The Reds were the only team to have defeated the Cityzens in the Premier League and repeated that feat at a noisy and energetic Anfield stadium.
A lot of attacking was done in the first half alone when we scored three goals in 30 minutes to effectively put the game to bed.
The scoring started with Mohamed Salah lashing from home from close range after Roberto Firmino won the ball back in the penalty area in the 12th minute.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made it two after 20 minutes, with a thunderbolt from 20 yards out before Sadio Mane headed home from Salah’s cross in the 31st minute.
Jurgen Klopp has now won seven of his 13 ties against Pep Guardiola and with another big game coming up against Everton at the weekend, the players have to be up for it given that we are still fighting for a top-four finish.
Nevertheless, this was an incredible performance at Anfield and here’s how the boys fared on the night.
Liverpool Player Ratings
Loris Karius – 7.5/10
Karius didn’t really have to make any stunning save, which was rather surprising. His kicking was spot on and hopefully, he will not be troubled too much in the second leg.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 8.5/10
Facing Leroy Sane is one thing but ensuring the German doesn’t get the better of you is something else. Trent was brilliant against Sane and kept him quiet throughout the game.
Dejan Lovren – 8/10
It’s not often that we praise Lovren but credit where it is due. His partnership with Virgil van Dijk was excellent against City.
Virgil van Dijk – 8/10
A clean sheet against Manchester City is a big deal and Van Dijk was the leader at the back, keeping the back four in check all the time.
Andrew Robertson – 8.5/10
Robertson has got to be the bargain of the season as he put in another stellar performance. In the first half, he attacked with every chance he got but in the second half, he put in a disciplined performance given City’s dominance in possession.
Jordan Henderson – 8/10
This was a captain’s performance from Henderson as he kept our team running. Unfortunately, he will miss the second leg as he picked up a booking.
James Milner – 9/10
Milner was a destroyer in midfield as he pestered the City midfield and won the ball back for us to launch attacks.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 8/10
Ox’s goal was incredible and kept the pressure on the away side. The Englishman moved around a bit after Salah’s departure and this was another mature showing from the former Arsenal man.
Mohamed Salah – 9/10
Salah got the game running with a cool finish and assisted the third. He’s simply phenomenal, isn’t he?
Roberto Firmino – 8/10
Firmino was full of running and even though he did not trouble the opposition as much as Salah or Mane did, the Brazilian deserves credit for his performance.
Sadio Mane – 9/10
Mane might have had an off-day against Crystal Palace at the weekend but put in an incredible performance full of energy as he scored a crucial third goal for us.
Georginio Wijnaldum – 7/10
A typical Wijnaldum performance where he ran his heart out and kept possession for the team. Wijnaldum often tried to launch attacks too, as we looked to hit City on the counter, in the second half.
Dominic Solanke – 6.5/10
Solanke had his chances to get things right but his final ball was often lacking. He ran his socks off for the team.
Alberto Moreno – N/A
Moreno was brought on for Oxlade-Chamberlain with just a few minutes left on the clock.
Liverpool slap £15million price tag on out of favour veteran star – PL trio interested
Liverpool FC transfer news: Reds want £15million for Simon Mignolet
The 31-year-old has recorded just a couple of starts for the Reds this season. Mignolet played in the two domestic cup games for Liverpool but both ended in defeat.
The former Sunderland goalkeeper has been an excellent professional this season but has seen his time limited on the pitch because of Alisson. The Brazilian has been an incredible signing for the Reds and even won the Golden Glove in his first season.
Many clubs looking for goalkeepers in the summer
The Daily Mail adds that Watford, Bournemouth and the newly-promoted Norwich all in the market for a goalkeeper.
The 31-year-old is still a part of Roberto Martinez’s Belgium squad and he needs to play regularly to keep his place in the team.
Mignolet has had his ups and downs at Anfield but no one can question his commitment to the side. The Belgian has always been supportive of the team, even if he isn’t playing regularly.
It will be interesting to see if we can get £15million for the Belgian. Liverpool have pulled off some incredible deals for players such as Jordon Ibe and Dominic Solanke in recent times, and the Reds will be tough negotiators in the upcoming transfer market as well.
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Liverpool also need to take a decision on who the No.2 would be for Alisson next season as we need a reliable back-up should the Brazilian pick up an injury or something.
Boost for Liverpool as reputed Spanish expert confirms Reds are in contact with Ajax star
Latest Liverpool news: Guillem Balague claims Liverpool are talking with Matthijs de Ligt
The Spaniard claimed that the Reds have “been talking to him” about a possible move (h/t Liverpool Echo).
De Ligt is one of the best players in the Dutch league and led Ajax to another Eredivisie title. The 19-year-old helped Ajax to the semi-finals of the Champions League but the team were knocked out by Tottenham.
Manchester City also in the running for De Ligt
The Liverpool Echo adds that De Ligt isn’t in a hurry to finalise his future.
There are several clubs interested in the centre-back, with Manchester City also interested in him after Vincent Kompany decided to leave the Cityzens (h/t Liverpool Echo).
Manchester United and Barcelona have also been linked with the Dutch defender (h/t Liverpool Echo), and the centre-back has done an excellent job alongside Virgil van Dijk in the national team.
The Reds had the best defence in the Premier League this season and conceded just 22 goals in 38 games. De Ligt would make a wonderful signing for the present and the future, however, the Reds already have a quality young defender in Joe Gomez.
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The Englishman’s playing time was cut short due to a fracture, while Joel Matip has done a brilliant job alongside Van Dijk in the heart of our defence.
“Best things come in threes” – Klopp confident of overturning personal record in the CL final
Latest Liverpool news: Jurgen Klopp confident ahead of Champions League clash despite finals record
Jurgen Klopp isn’t fazed by a third Champions League final despite not winning the first two.
The German took Borussia Dortmund to the final in 2013 but lost to Bayern Munich, and we lost last season to Real Madrid.
Klopp took Liverpool to the League Cup final and the Europa League final but we lost both of them. Howeer, the German isn’t worried about that record and spoke about his history of winning things on the third try (h/t LiverpoolFC.com):
“In Germany we have a saying: ‘All the best things come in threes’.
“At Mainz, I missed promotion twice and we got promoted in the third season. We hope that it will repeat itself for the Champions League. I think it’s quite cool, to be honest.”
The German added that this was his fourth European final and lauded the quality of the teams he had under him.
Klopp claimed that the away win over Bayern Munich was the best away game his team have played at the European level.
Klopp expects a tough game in Madrid
Tottenham will not be an easy side and Klopp did not expect anything other than a tough clash at the Wanda Metropolitano. The German wanted the Reds to call upon their experience from the season and backed the side to play good football:
“That’s what we have to do. We have to play the football we stand for. We have to play LFC football. That’s the plan, and then it will still be difficult, but it was difficult in all the other games as well.”
The Reds won both their clashes against Spurs in the Premier League this season but a Champions League final could see the best of the London side.
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Liverpool have to be wary of the threat possessed by Spurs but we have the quality to win the sixth Champions League crown.