In what was a dull game on New Years Eve at Anfield, Liverpool took the three points thanks to a Georginio Wijnaldum header inside the first 15 minutes. The first half was dull, with City having more of the ball as expected but they failed to create any chances. The second half was similar, City dominated the first 20-25 minutes and Liverpool hardly broke into the City half. However, they failed to create chances and only had two weak efforts on target which Simon Mignolet dealt with easily. David Silva was able to have an impact on the front foot for City as he has for the last six years by controlling the game but Sergio Agüero was unable to get into the game and Kevin De Bruyne was ineffective, a player who has been inconsistent this season. The only player who looked a threat for City was Raheem Sterling, who was using his pace to get at Liverpool’s defence and did on many occasions get into good positions but his final ball and delivery was disappointing.
Georginio Wijnaldum scoring the only goal of the game for Liverpool.
What will anger City fans the most is that the goal came from a City free-kick. Yaya Touré elected to play a ball left and high to Aleksandar Kolarov who’s first touch was poor and the ball then fell to Roberto Firmino, who threaded an exceptional ball into Adam Lallana. Pablo Zabaleta could have done better closing down the England International but eventually his cross flew past Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones, who couldn’t have done anything with the ball into the box, and it reached Wijnaldum who got the other side of Kolarov and out-jumped the veteran full-back and sent the ball past Claudio Bravo, who was left helpless.
The main difference between the two teams was the way Liverpool pressed from the first minute. When City went for the short free-kick, the front three of Firmino, Lallana and Sadio Mané closed down the City defenders, and whenever De Bruyne, Touré or Sterling had the ball, there was a crowd of four people around them at all times. It was only in the second half that City started to press Liverpool and win some tackles to advance up the pitch but their creative players were unable to create chances, which cost them the game. Defensively, bar Kolarov’s faults for the goal, it can be said that City were relatively sound at the back, with Liverpool only having one effort on target, however, it proved to be the only goal of the match.
Sergio Agüero struggled on his return to the side.
City Player Ratings
Claudio Bravo – 6
Pablo Zabaleta – 6
John Stones – 6
Nicolas Otamendi – 6
Aleks Kolarov – 4
Fernandinho – 6
Yaya Touré – 6
David Silva – 6
Kevin De Bruyne – 5
Raheem Sterling – 6.5
Sergio Agüero – 5
Jesus Navas – N/A
Kelechi Iheanacho – N/A
This article was written by Ben Tipper. Twitter – @bentippermcfc
Featured Image Credit: Cléria De Souza