Ilkay Gundogan, Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden scored for City in a 4-1 win.
Liverpool and Manchester City faced off today in what was one of the most important games of the season for both clubs.
Liverpool in particular were badly in need of a win. Poor results in recent weeks have seen them drop to 4th in the table, leaving them 7 points behind top of the league City prior to the game.
The match kicked-off at a decent pace, but as has been the story for many high profile fixtures this season, neither team could find a spark to truly ignite the game.
Liverpool had the first big chance of the game in the 25th minute. Trent Alexander-Arnold did brilliantly down the right-hand flank to beat his man and produce a whipped cross into the path of Sadio Mane. The Senegal international blazed his header over the bar, though. He should have done better with the chance.
Just minutes later Roberto Firmino had a half-chance on the volley from the edge of the box which he struck with venom but Ederson was there to tip it over the bar and avert the danger.
Manchester City undoubtedly had the best chance of the half in the 36th minute. Raheem Sterling took on and beat Alexander-Arnold and ventured into the box before being brought down by Fabinho. The referee pointed to the spot and City were awarded the penalty.
Ilkay Gundogan stepped up to take the penalty. The German has been in tremendous form in recent weeks so Liverpool fans could be forgiven for thinking the worst.
He, however, fired his penalty well over the bar to the relief of Liverpool.
Both teams struggled to create chances after the penalty miss and the first half finished scoreless.
It didn’t take long for Ilkay Gundogan to atone for his penalty miss, the midfielder scored less than 5 minutes into the second half to put his side ahead.
He hit the net after further good work from Raheem Sterling who found his way into the box after beating his man, he squared to Phil Foden who had his shot saved but Gundogan made no mistake from the rebound, hammering his effort into the goal. The German now has 5 goal contributions in his last 5 games.
Liverpool had a chance to score themselves minutes afterwards. Alexander-Arnold played a typical pinpoint cross-field ball into the path of Curtis Jones. The latter then advanced into the box and tried to finesse the ball into the corner with a shot but it went just wide.
Ruben Dias has hardly put a foot wrong since arriving from Portugal but the Manchester City centre-back was at fault as he brought down Mohamed Salah in the box which resulted in a Liverpool penalty chance.
Salah was fouled and he also stepped up to take the penalty. Unlike Gundogan earlier in the match, Salah had no problems converting his penalty kick. He struck high into the net, sending the keeper the wrong way. 1-1.
John Stones had the ball in the back of the Liverpool net in the 70th minute but after a brief celebration, the goal was ruled out for offside.
They didn’t have to wait long for another goal though, Ilkay Gundogan scored his second in the 72nd minute to make it 2-1 to City. Alisson made the mistake as he attempted to play out from the back but his pass was blocked by Phil Foden and he did brilliantly to evade numerous challenges in the box before squaring for Gundogan to tap home.
Alisson’s woes wouldn’t stop there, though. The Brazilian goalkeeper gave the ball away for a second time in just a matter of minutes, and again, he was punished for it. This time Bernardo Silva collected the ball and chipped into Raheem Sterling who easily dispatched of the chance from a yard out.
Phil Foden, who had been mesmerizing all game, managed to get in on the action himself in the 82nd minute. What a goal it was as well. The England international received the ball on the edge of the box before cutting inside and blasting the ball into the top corner.
The match finished 4-1 after an incredible second half performance from Manchester City and Phil Foden in particular.
Although not out of the title race just yet, it could require a small miracle for Liverpool to reclaim top spot this season having now fallen behind City by 10 points – who also have a game in hand.
City, on the other hand, are looking like hot favourites for the title at this stage of the season.
— Premier League (@premierleague) February 7, 2021