How Liverpool ended Guardiola’s dreams

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Liverpool beat Manchester City 4-3 yesterday at Anfield, bringing to an end, Man City’s over 30 games unbeaten run. Pep Guardiola’s dream of having a spotless season without a loss and beating Arsenal’s invincibles records were dashed at Anfield.

According to the BBC, Energy, belief and fantastic finishing won it for the reds.

City will be annoyed that they gave away some sloppy goals at Anfield but Liverpool’s finishing had to be brilliant to punish them for that.

What the Reds showed is what can happen when City are not quite at it, and face a high-energy team who press high and take risks.

It meant that when Liverpool won the ball back, it was in dangerous areas, and in the second half they did it several times in a short space of time.

Pep Guardiola’s side made mistakes that cost them goals but Liverpool deserve credit for trying to get after them the way they did, and forcing those errors.

That took a brave manager who believes that his players are capable of playing that way, but I also think Reds boss Jurgen Klopp probably watched all the other top teams fail against City after trying to be more cautious and cagey and thought he would go for it more.

Guardiola and Klopp both deserve great credit for allowing their teams to play with the freedom that they do, and it resulted in a wonderful game with so much creativity on display.

But it was Klopp who got his tactics right, and he got his reward by becoming the first Premier League manager to beat City this season.

City have managed all season to play brilliant football and score lots of goals while being defensively sound too.

But that is because not many teams have been courageous enough to take them on.

Other sides have pressed City for short periods in games but Guardiola’s side have just kept on playing out from the back and, eventually, they have either worn them down or the opposition have just dropped off.

City didn’t change the way they played against Liverpool either, and for long periods of the first half they did it brilliantly.

This time, though, Liverpool kept on pressing incessantly and it worked. City’s strength in playing out from the back became their weakness because they kept giving the ball away.

The Reds were able to do that because of the pace and energy they had in their side.

Their fitness levels were excellent – they had to be – and Klopp’s team selection was another thing he got absolutely right.

He was obviously without Philippe Coutinho following his £142m sale to Barcelona but instead of putting Adam Lallana in, which he could have done, he picked Georginio Wijnaldum, Emre Can and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in his midfield.

Klopp knew all three of them have got good energy and that they can press too.

Basically, they could cover the yards as well as support attacks and it proved to be a really good decision because it was their pressing in midfield that often started Liverpool off on the attack.

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