Saturday, May 18, 2024

REWIND: Liverpool and Manchester City play out thriller at Anfield

Back in January 2018, Manchester City were going great guns in the Premier League having gone unbeaten for the first 22 games of the season. Liverpool, meanwhile, were sat in fourth, intent on playing the part of party-poopers.

Liverpool v Man City – The game

Liverpool got off to a very quick start at Anfield through Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. After just nine minutes, the former Arsenal man drove it low into the bottom corner to get the scoring underway.

After that, Manchester City started to grow into the game. Not be deterred by the goal, Manchester City quickly settled back into their rhythm, spraying the ball around nicely. Eventually, they were rewarded for their endeavour when Leroy Sane pulled them level four minutes before half-time.

However, all their good work was undone in the second half as they collapsed in the space of nine minutes. Just before the hour mark, Liverpool retook the lead courtesy of Roberto Firmino who capitalised on a mistake from John Stones.

Two minutes later, Liverpool doubled their lead through Sadio Mane as pulled out a stunning finish to beat Ederson. That gave City an absolute mountain to climb, but Liverpool weren’t done there.

In the 68th minute, just seven minutes after the goal from Mane, Ederson rushed out of his area to clear the ball but could only find Mo Salah. The Egyptian was around 40 yards from goal but with Ederson in no-mans-land, he took a chance and smashed it over the Brazilians head and into the back of the net. 4-1, game over…

Well, not quite. City fought back late on in the game as Bernardo Silva swept home from inside the area. Then, in the 91st minute, City really set Scouse nerves on edge as Ilkay Gundogan chested down a cross and prodded home inside the six yard box.

Ultimately, City were unable to complete the fightback and Liverpool hung on for all three points. The game finished 4-3.

What it meant for the league

It didn’t make too much difference to Manchester City in the grand scheme of things. By that point in the league they were already 15 points clear of local rivals Manchester United in second and ready to take the Premier League title.

The question people had on their lips was whether or not City would be able to go unbeaten for the whole season. Could they be the new invincibles? No. No they couldn’t. Liverpool put a stop to that.

It rings some bells from the current season too. Liverpool were going great guns, miles clear at the top and then, as they do, people started asking the same question. In the end, Liverpool’s invincible run was brought to a halt by Watford.

During the 2017/18 campaign, City would go on to break just about every record ever set in the Premier League. Most wins, most goals, most points, biggest goal difference – you name it, they probably broke it.

As for Liverpool, their Premier League campaign proved to be fruitless, largely thanks to their defensive issues in the first part of the season. However, they did reach the Champions League final – only to be sent packing by Real Madrid and a Gareth Bale wonder-goal.

This game was one of only two Manchester City would lose during the 2017/18 season. It stands out to me as the best game of the season – it was certainly the most memorable.

We’ll be bringing more of these football rewind articles to you over the next few weeks. While there isn’t any live sport for us to watch and cover, we can throwback to happier times – and we certainly will do. Stay tuned for that.

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