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Dublin: 8°C Monday 19 April 2021
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Liverpool 1-4 Man City

Hello, and welcome to today’s liveblog.

Liverpool go into this game in poor form by their standards.

After a 68-game unbeaten run at Anfield, they have now lost two in a row there.

In total, Jurgen Klopp’s side have dropped points in six of their last eight league matches.

City, by contrast, are in impressive form. A win would take them 10 points clear of the Reds with a game in hand.

In total, Pep Guardiola’s men are unbeaten in their last 13 Premier League fixtures, 11 of which were wins.

Klopp played down his team’s title chances following the midweek loss to Brighton, and a defeat today would be another hammer blow to those aspirations.

You get the sense that even Liverpool’s other top-four rivals may be cheering them on today, given how unstoppable City have looked of late amid the suspcion that they could be set to win the title by some distance.

Confirmation of the teams…

We’re underway…

Early worry for City, as Ilkay Gundogan goes down injured.

He is currently receiving treatment, but looks like he’ll be okay to continue.

Before that, Ederson made an unconvincing clearance, but Liverpool couldn’t make the most of their subsequent attack.

It’s been fairly scrappy and stop-start so far.

Neither side has created any real chances of note.

It’s that old cliché about the two sides ‘cancelling each other out’ so far.

There’s no real pattern to the game.

City have probably edged the possession so far, but nearly all the football has been played in front of the respective defences.

Sky have described the start to this game as “tentative”.

Gary Neville has been very critical of Liverpool on Sky.

“Look at them walking,” he says, adding that the Reds have let their “exceptional” standards from previous seasons drop.

They have certainly looked like a team on auto-pilot at times so far, as opposed to producing their usual rapid-fire attacks.

This game has been quite disappointing in general, with just two attempts on goal.

As I type, Alexander-Arnold shows good trickery down the right to escape his marker. However, Mane can’t hit the target with a header amid a difficult angle from the English full-back’s cross.

A Henderson cross is half-cleared.

It drops to Firmino, whose powerful strike from the edge of the area is tipped over by Ederson.

Liverpool have improved in recent minutes.

They have had 72% of the possession in the last 10 minutes and are pressing their opponents back.

City have looked unusually toothless in attack, though Liverpool haven’t created much either.

PENALTY TO MAN CITY!

Suddenly, this game bursts into life.

It’s a poor penalty from Gundogan, who tries to place it in the top corner, but hits it well off target ultimately.

The spot kick came about, following a clumsy challenge from Fabinho on Sterling, with the winger taking advantage of the defender’s outstretched trailing leg, after a good mazy run from the England international that saw him get by Alexander-Arnold.

Mane escapes the City defenders and gets on the end of Alexander-Arnold’s corner.

However, it’s a tame header by the Senegal international, which Ederson saves easily.

Half-time and it’s been a strange game.

Both sides are playing with a noticeable degree of caution, as if they believe avoiding defeat is more important than going for the win.

City obviously had the best chance of the match, with Gundogan’s penalty miss after a sloppy challenge from Fabinho, but have otherwise scarcely threatened.

The hosts, meanwhile, have had the occasional half-chance, but for the most part have looked like a team on a poor run of form.

There is little between the teams at the moment, and it’s difficult to call how it will pan out, though if both sides maintain their first-half approach, a draw is surely the most likely outcome.

The second half has begun…

City take the lead, as their change in system pays dividends.

Sterling again gets by Alexander-Arnold, before teeing up Foden.

The youngster’s shot is saved by Alisson, but Gundogan is on hand to slide home the rebound and atone for his earlier penalty miss.

Alexander-Arnold finds Curtis Jones with a good diagonal ball.

The youngster’s subsequent low shot from the edge of the area on the left-hand side of the box goes just wide of the far post.

Liverpool need to play with that kind of urgency on a more consistent basis.

PENALTY TO LIVERPOOL!

Liverpool equalise out of nothing!

It’s a routine ball over the top by Alexander-Arnold.

Dias fails to deal with it, before making contact with the onrushing Salah, prompting the Egyptian to go down.

Salah then slots home the penalty, driving it high and down the middle, with Ederson diving to his left.

Liverpool make a double substitution.

Milner and Shaqiri are on, while Thiago and Jones come off.

As I type, a ball falls nicely for Silva, after good work in the build-up on the wing by Sterling, but the City attacker slices his shot wide from the edge of the area.

City have the ball in the net, but it’s ruled out for being marginally offside.

Stones thought he’d restored City’s lead, when he slid home from Foden’s delivery.

City, meanwhile, make a change, with Gabriel Jesus replacing Mahrez.

City re-take the lead.

It’s an awful attempted clearance from Alisson.

Foden still has a lot of work to do, beating Henderson wide left, before his perfect cross finds Gundogan, who has an easy tap in.

City score again, and Alisson is at fault again.

His pass out from the back goes straight to Silva. He lofts a cross over the head of the goalkeeper, with Sterling in the right place to tap home.

Foden puts the iceing on the cake with a superb shot from a tight angle.

Alisson could arguably have done better, but it’s a really powerful effort from a player who has been the best footballer on the park and is showing real signs he is set to fulfill his undoubted potential.

Phil Foden unsurprisingly has been named man of the match.

Gary Neville on Sky suggests he has “come of age”.

We’re in the midst of three minutes of stoppage time.

Right, that’s all from me for now.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

You can read our match report here and we’ll have more reaction to follow.

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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