Liverpool conceded the first defeat of their Premier League campaign against Manchester City, and surely that was a setback also considering that a draw would have been a fantastic result for Jurgen Klopp’s men who had a significant lead at the top of the table coming into this clash. Ethan Rowe, a sport betting expert at BestBettingSites.Online do not believe though that this result will knock the Reds confidence: ‘the team is united, and they will continue with the belief that they can finally bring the title home after 29 years of wait’.
He added, ‘the loss wasn’t due to lack of effort or ability or with a nervous breakdown. City didn’t destroy Liverpool or showed some definite flaws in their squad. Liverpool was just edged out on a game that was very tight by one of the best teams in Europe. After all, the result could have been entirely different.
Inevitably this result means that things are much more open at the top of the Premier League table, but the Reds still hold on a four points lead after 21 games. This is much more than they would have expected at the start of December or at the beginning of the season.’
‘At some point, they were always going to lose, and now they just need to stay calm and react correctly to show that they are mentally solid’.
After all losing the first game could take some of the pressure off. Dejan Lovren said before Christmas that they could emulate Arsenal’s Invincibles side of the 2003-04 season and go the whole campaign unbeaten. It is not necessary to build up extra pressure: all it counts is winning the title, how many defeats a team concede in the process is not essential. As Ian Wright said recently every team has one or two bad days during the campaign especially if they are also involved in European Football. Now the talks about staying ‘invincible’ will be forgotten and this could have a positive effect on the team as some pressure will be released.
Players and especially the manager hate questions about being able to go the whole season unbeaten: this is not what they have signed off for, they are there to get a point more than the competitors.
So what Liverpool will need to do next?
‘When Manchester City lost their first game of the season at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea, Pep Guardiola was clear that he didn’t care about the record. His focus was on winning the league not on remaining unbeaten. Surely Jurgen Klopp is going to have precisely the same approach: he has targeted the title and if he can bring it to Liverpool after 29 years of wait nobody is going to remember that they conceded one or more defeats in the process.
The most important thing now for Liverpool is that they do start winning games again. This is what Man City have done when Liverpool beat them last year in January: they kept on going and went for another long unbeaten run. Surely this Liverpool side has what it takes to do the same: they are stable enough to forget what happened at the Etihad and kept their heads down. After all the best receipt is to continue to focus on themselves, look at what went wrong and start again.
It is actually a good thing that the FA Cup is coming now as Klopp can rest lots of players: after all, we all know that fine margins decide tights games and this was just another example of this rule.’
City probably deserved to win, but if it would have ended in a draw, it was perfectly legit as well. For example if Sadio Mane would have scored on the 0-0 and Liverpool would have taken the lead at that point things could have gone differently. This is because City were starting to slow down a bit after they begin with such high-tempo.
As Klopp admitted, Liverpool didn’t have their best game but even though they managed to keep close to Man City and this is a promising sign. They couldn’t get their passing and moving to their usual standards but that, of course, it was also due to Man City playing particularly well. Pep Guardiola decision to play Stones and Kompany was the right one, and Fernandinho had a fantastic game. Those three players kept the Citizens compact and caused issues to Liverpool’s plans.
When Manchester City is playing at their best, they are nearly unstoppable as we saw last season. Liverpool, however, didn’t do anything fundamentally wrong at the back, and this confirmed the defensive solidity we have seen in recent months. Surely they were caught out by Leroy Sane’s winner, but that was nearly unavoidable.
It looked as the Reds were trying to over-run Man City as they have done with others Premier League teams, but that didn’t work. It only took one ball for the hosts to open them up: it is not a surprise that against the best team, it is not allowed to switch off for a single second even if you have the momentum with you. This is what happened at the Etihad, but the good news for Liverpool fans is that, even if they suffered a painful defeat, there is nothing at the moment between them and City.