No Coutinho, no Virgil Van Dijk, no problem! Coming into their game against first place and undefeated Manchester City, Liverpool FC was seeking redemption for a 5-0 drubbing in their first match back in September. A win and Liverpool not only gains a measure of revenge but they also put a dent in Manchester City’s dream of finishing the season undefeated like the 2003-04 Arsenal squad.
Liverpool was also trying to dispel thoughts that because the Coutinho deal had been finalized that without their playmaker Liverpool would fall apart.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain put in his bid to lift up Liverpool in Coutinho’s absence almost immediately. Chamberlain got the Anfield crowd on their feet at the nine minute mark. Chamberlain took a long distance shot that got past the fingertips of Manchester City’s Ederson and into the lower corner of the net for a stunning 1-0 lead.
Before the game Liverpool manger Jurgen Klopp signaled that there was a changing of the guard in the Liverpool net, Simon Mignolet had been demoted to number two and Loris Karius had been elevated to the first team. Karius looked unsteady at the 41st minute when Leroy Sane put one past him at a tough angle Karius should have stopped.
Coming out of half-time tied 1-1 Liverpool refused to sit back and began to attack Manchester City with abandon. Over nine minutes Liverpool completely pulled Manchester City apart and capitalized on their mistakes putting three goals past them.
Roberto Firminio got the scoring stasrted at the 59th minute scoring after taking the ball off of defender John Stones and curling a shot past Ederson giving Liverpool a 2-1 edge. A few minutes later Mohamed Salah took the ball away from Sergio Aguero on the right side of the box, Salah calmly slotted a pass to Sadio Mane in the middle who put the shot in the upper left corner putting the score at 3-1.
Salah wasn’t done as he was gifted the ball 35 yards out when Ederson’s terrible clearance hit him in the chest, with an empty net in front of him Salah made it 4-1 when Ederson didn’t make it back to his net.
In a stunning flurry Liverpool had put the game away despite late goals that changed the margin to 4-3, the Reds had effectively shown the rest of the EPL how to dismantle the Manchester City defense. They also showed that they were more than a one man team on offense. Without Couthino others stepped up to continue to push Klopp’s fast attacking style that turned Manchester City’s defenders inside out.
Liverpool can’t realistically win the Premier League this year but they continue to have the tools and talent that can help them advance in Champions League, the FA Cup, and remain in a top four position in the EPL.