There you have it — and can be beaten after all, with becoming the first side to achieve the feat this season after their on Sunday.
Mohamed Salah’s strike 14 minutes from the end was enough to inflict a first defeat in 10 games this term on Pep Guardiola’s Premier League challengers, 릴게임 while perhaps rekindling hopes of the Reds’ own title pursuit as the season plays out.
But how did Liverpool topple the champions and can any other side around Europe borrow a few tips from Jurgen Klopp’s outfit?Here is how Liverpool laid out a blueprint to stop Manchester City.
Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah (left) celebrates his winning goal in Sunday’s victory over Man City
Stop Erling Haaland
Easier said than done of course and few teams are going to have a world class centre-back in Virgil van Dijk to complete the job. But at least we can now see the ways Haaland can be marginalised from the game.
It’s not so much of stopping Haaland while he has the ball, the key is to stopping him get it in the first place.
City have found joy this season by playing back post crosses whether high or low for the Norwegian hitman to attack.
As good as Liverpool were on Sunday, they didn’t entirely prevent this, with Haaland managing to produce a first half header while leaping high at the back post that was well stopped by Alisson who was fortunate to see the effort nodded effectively straight at him.
Erling Haaland was nullified in the City attack as Liverpool shut down supply to him
But Haaland barely had any other major look in during the game.When he did drop deep to break away from the pincer of Van Dijk and Joe Gomez he was tracked by Fabinho.
Van Dijk admitted a key aspect in Liverpool’s centre-back performance was not to get caught flat-footed.
‘That’s what defenders have to do [defend for your lives],’ Van Dijk told Sky Sports.
‘That’s what you have to do in every game, you drop off a slight percentage, they will punish you.It’s a lot of running, communication. Who wants it more. Today we showed it.’
Once Haaland did manage to attack from deep leading to Man City’s disallowed opening goal it only came after he fouled Fabinho in the build up who would have otherwise tracked his run.
City still attempted the back post delivery throughout the game, but the Reds defence read it well, with Van Dijk crucially nodding over his own bar to once again cut the supply to the striker who before the game had struck an incredible 15 goals from just nine matches.
Virgil van Dijk constantly tracked the previously free scoring City striker, who has 15 goals
Go long…with a headstart
In the most crude way, Liverpool’s winning goal on Sunday came through a simple long ball from a goal kick and the capitalisation of a defensive mistake. You see the same goal every Sunday at your local side — you may have been involved in the same play yourself.
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But there was slightly more to Liverpool’s approach that saw them catch City out with just 14 minutes to play.
A key point to remember is Liverpool’s goal didn’t just come from a simple goal-kick it was the product of a Manchester City free-kick where the visitors were looking to bag a late goal.
Liverpool’s move started before even City’s floated ball into the Reds’ box had been caught by Alisson.
Salah scored on the counter attack in a move that started from a Manchester City free-kick
Salah from inside his own half had already started his run forward anticipating a counter attack.
Alisson was already aware of this and that was perhaps why he slipped on his pumped clearance downfield in an attempt to maximise the Reds’ counter attacking opportunity as quickly as possible.
City defenders were simply caught too high up to deal with it.Joao Cancelo panicked in trying to control the ball against the sprinting Salah, who in robbing the defender of possession was then free to run on and slot past Ederson. Long ball, maybe. But this was planned and it worked to devastating effect.
Catching City’s high line was a key part of Liverpool’s attacking plan, with another defence splitting pass earlier in the half releasing Salah into a one-on-one, only for Ederson on this occasion to tip the ball past the post.
Alisson’s quick thinking and accurate clearance were key to Liverpool claiming victory
Stop the game
This wasn’t necessarily the case for Liverpool on Sunday in a match that was allowed to flow as much as possible, but preventing City from getting into a rhythm is key to defending against them.
City knock the ball around attacking areas just as well as any team in the top flight but it’s not unusual to see them become frustrated against opposition who refuse to allow them to do this.
Whether it’s by giving away free-kicks to halt a counter attack or niggly small fouls in the middle of the park, killing City’s tempo prevents them from making the best use of their creative stars.
Granted, only Tottenham r have scored more than Manchester City’s five set-piece goals this term but you also have to factor in that Pep Guardiola’s side have far more joy from open play given their 33 goals this season (over three per game) is nine greater than the division’s next most goal hungry team in early pace setters Arsenal.
Fouling City isn’t the only answer but it’s a damn effective way to stop them cutting teams to ribbons with silky build-up play.
Jurgen Klopp addresses his side during a stoppage of play in Sunday’s Premier League clash
Rile up Pep Guardiola and his players
Double edge sword.Do you motivate an opposition more by giving them more incentive to defeat you?
It doesn’t always work but it can prove effective if you need to find an equaliser in performance levels, especially against a team who can be technically superior.
Between Liverpool and Manchester City there is arguably little that separates them in terms of ability — the current league table and 10-point gap that exists right now is not a fair reflection of their respective abilities.
This was also not a part of the Reds’ game plan at Anfield but one of Liverpool’s best chances of the match did occur following a moment where City lost their heads.
Pep Guardiola was left frustrated after seeing his side have an opening goal disallowed via VAR
The disallowed goal from Phil Foden following the foul from Haaland in the build-up caused City players to go into despair, not helped by the anger shown from their manager Guardiola who was bouncing around like a jack-in-the-box in his technical area having seeing his side denied an opening goal by VAR.
City should have then focused on keeping cool heads and pressing on their momentum.
Instead, they nearly conceded — City’s hapless defending against a counter attack allowed Salah to stab a delightful ball with the outside of his boot towards the back post for an unmarked Diogo Jota to head narrowly off target.
Diogo Jota missed out on a header for the Reds shortly after City were denied an opening goal
Pack the defence
This dovetails with many of the above, including frustrating City and stopping a game’s flow.
But in simply packing out a defence, teams can severely blunt the City attacks.There’s a reason why very few teams have the confidence to try and go to toe-to-toe with Guardiola’s men.
Wolves attempted it earlier this season, and while they started well at Molineux they were still 2-0 down after 15 minutes and all but out of the game at the half-hour mark when they were reduced to 10 men on their way to defeat.
Being defensive alone isn’t going to be the silver bullet to stop City but it is a foundation to then overlay the rest of your plans to see off the champions.
They factor among them is building a shape that nullifies their creative talent, most notably Kevin De Bruyne.Denying Haaland supply is the key to preventing chances and this comes by ensuring that City’s key creative chief is prevented from being given time and space to pick out the striker.
Liverpool defenders were quick to shut down the creative threat of Kevin De Bruyne