Man City 1 Liverpool 4: Three talking points as Robert Firmino impresses
Three talking points as Liverpool ease to a 4-1 victory at Manchester City
Better than Brazil?
Sir Tom Finney famously declared that Liverpool’s title-winning side of 1988 were better than Brazil after a 5-0 demolition of Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest at Anfield. Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino can’t even get in the Brazil squad at the moment, but the Liverpool certainly showed Dunga what he is missing with a scintillating display at The Etihad. The samba duo showed signs of an understanding in a 3-1 win at Stamford Bridge last month. But after being omitted from the Brazil squad during the recent international break, their mutual understanding looks to have improved thanks to some hard work on the training ground over the past two weeks. Manchester City’s makeshift defence of Martin Demichelis and Eliaquim Mangala couldn’t cope with the intensity of Liverpool’s attacking trio of Coutinho, Firmino and Adam Lallana. Coutinho won the ball off Bacary Sagna to help create the opener, before Firmino teed up the 23-year-old midfielder for Liverpool’s second with an incisive pass. The £29m summer signing opened his Premier League account after another samba-fuelled move, with Coutinho supplying the pass for his compatriot. Coutinho and Firmino did waste chances to restore Liverpool’s three-goal cushion but it was an otherwise perfect performance. It even prompted John Aldridge, who was a member of Kenny Dalglish’s great Reds side, to liken Jurgen Klopp’s men to Brazil.
Klopp has now masterminded back-to-back away wins in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge and Etihad Stadium. Whilst his decision to leave Christian Benteke and Daniel Sturridge on the bench raised eyebrows, Klopp has come up with a blueprint for winning games at Liverpool’s Premier League rivals. Liverpool’s front three of Coutinho, Firmino and Lallana hounded the City defence which resulted in mistakes from the hosts. The former Borussia Dortmund manager’s next task will be finding a winning formula at Anfield. The Reds have lost their aura on Merseyside after a string of home defeats over the past year, including a 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace before the international break. Next up, Swansea City on 29 November.
Arsenal kicking themselves
This result was more likely than the upset at The Hawthorns, albeit few would have tipped Liverpool to win by a three-goal margin. It was a humiliating result for last season’s Premier League runners-up, but Liverpool have enjoyed success on the road since Klopp’s appointment. Arsenal usually make light work of the bottom 14 sides in the Premier League, but surrendered a leading position and missed a late penalty in a 2-1 loss at West Brom. The title-winning experience of City and their greater squad depth make Saturday evening’s hiccup easier to temper. Arsenal, on the other hand, have a more fragile mentality, particularly in title races. There are still 25 games left in the Premier League season, but the Gunners have missed back-to-back opportunities to move ahead of Manuel Pellegrini’s men in the title race. It is hard to imagine City offering Arsenal another Christmas present, with Manchester United firmly in the race after a Saturday of upsets.