What a way to end 2016 – Liverpool securing another 3 points. This time it was a hard fought 1-0 victory over rivals Manchester City at Anfield.
Klopp made just one change to the side that beat Stoke City and Everton, with Can returning to the side. This allowed Roberto Firmino to move back into his preferred No. 9 role. Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge had to settle for a place on the bench. With Adam Lallana now operating in Coutinho’s role in a more advanced role on the left.
Hard fought victory
- Last Premier League game of 2016.
- Second placed Reds go four points above City.
- Aguero started for Man City after returning from ban.
- Klopp faced Guardiola for first time in England.
- Georginio Wijnaldum’s soaring eighth-minute header from Adam Lallana’s cross. Wijnaldum’s second goal for Liverpool.
- In the Premier League Wijnaldum has never scored away from home!
- Serious dent in City’s own title challenge.
- Liverpool have now won four consecutive league games against Manchester City.
- Liverpool have scored 87 league goals in 2016.
- Adam Lallana has made seven assists in the Premier League this season (in 17 appearances); his most in a single campaign.
- In 2016 Lallana has been involved in 21 goals in the Premier League (11 goals, 10 assists); no midfielder in the competition has more.
Swift, incisive play from Liverpool
Georginio Wijnaldum gave Liverpool the lead with a powerful thumping header after just eight minutes. In fact, 17 seconds before he scored, Manchester City actually had a free kick 20 yards away from our own goal.
A miss hit free kick allowed Liverpool to attack on the counter. Wijnaldum was there at the start, allowing Lallana to provide a stunning cross on his ‘weaker’ left foot to be met by the powerful header of Wijnaldum.
Stunning, incisive, powerful, so much intent and purpose in the play. WOW!!
The world watched as Chelsea recorded yet another win. This time over Stoke earlier in the day. What a way to motivate and inspire both teams – knowing they couldn’t drop any points and lose ground in the title race.
It was going to be a battle.
Thankfully we won that battle. Whilst it wasn’t our best performance, far from it – taking 3 points off a rival will be so valuable come the end of season.
It looked like the battle was won on the training ground with a lot of preparation. Knowing Guardiola likes to play out from the back Klopp had selected Firmino to lead the press.
Press they did, denying any opportunity to play composed football the City back line were rattled.
All Bravo could do was kick the ball long, with our back line mopping up these balls it allowed us to start another attack.
The way Klopp had his team playing that way made it look so easy. Occasionally playing a long diagonal balls for either Mané or Lallana meant City’s full backs had another thing to be aware of.
City improved slightly after the break, had more possession and more efforts on goal, but barely troubled Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet. In the 60-minute, Jordan Henderson came off. Despite leading the game, Klopp made sure the substitution it was a positive one, sending on Divock Origi.
His pace added a much-needed new attacking dimension as we saw out the final 30 minutes. Can took over in the ‘general’ role, looking like he enjoyed every minute of it.
Defensive masterclass – but isn’t our defence our weak spot?
All of the play was by Manchester City, all of the possession. But you’re looking at a fantastic defensive display. It was a team effort, everyone in red knew exactly how to play against a team like Manchester City. This shows how far Klopp has progressed with the team.
Klopp hailed the Dutchman’s subtle influence before the game, but his impact was more apparent at Anfield on New Year’s Eve, powering a header past Claudio Bravo after just eight minutes.
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