After an unwanted defeat in the hands of Crystal Palace at Anfield, Jurgen Klopp’s men travelled to the Etihad on Saturday in the Barclays Premier League encounter against Manchester City who were at the top of the table. They had a chance to go 2 points clear at the top after Arsenal lost to West Bromwich Albion, but were not able to capitalize as they fell to an embarrassing 4-1 defeat against Liverpool. An own goal from Mangala, one each from Coutinho, Firmino and Skrtel took Liverpool to 9th place just 8 points from the top after 13 games.
Here are 5 things we learnt from the thrashing at the Etihad
1. Firmino and Coutinho dazzle
Before the match, Daniel Sturridge was reported to be fit for the clash for the first time under Klopp and rumors went around that he might start the game for the Reds. But the German manager played Roberto Firmino up-front as a false 9 with Coutinho and Lallana in floating roles on either side. The plan worked like a charm as Liverpool were all over City scoring thrice in the first half. Coutinho and Firmino were simply unplayable as the Brazilian duo earned themselves 2 goals and 2 assists on the day. This partnership can go a long way under Klopp if he can keep both of them fit for the rest of the season.
2. Hart saves more blushes as City had a day to forget
Manchester City were just not able to get it together against Jurgen Klopp’s men at the Etihad. Mangala gifted the visitors an early goal and City were just not able to bounce back. Liverpool dominated every inch on the field barring a 10-minute spell just before the end of the first half that saw Sergio Aguero score a sublime curler at the other end. Pellegrini’s men looked out of sorts and made too many mistakes in possession making it easy for Liverpool to pile on the pressure. Joe Hart made three crucial saves to deny Liverpool even more goals as he saved the blushes for the home side.
3. Jurgen Klopp has truly arrived in England
The victory against Chelsea at the Stamford Bridge was written off as one against an out of sorts side. But on Saturday, the whole Premier League stood up and took notice of the Liverpool side that showed great commitment to their manager’s plan. Klopp had plenty of time in the International break to deal with his squad and the outcome could not be better. Beating the top and the most consistent side in the country in their own back yard will always provide confidence to the club and it was a moment that will make sides in the league take the Reds seriously. Jurgen Klopp has surely started to work his magic with the team.
4. The Red’s sizzle away but have some work to do at home
Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp have taken 8 points from the 12 available from trips to the Emirates, White Hart Lane, Stamford Bridge and the Etihad. They have been exceptional in the last two of those games and are unbeaten away from home under their new manager. Klopp’s sides are usually set up really well to play away from home as they have no pressure of having to score and break the defenses. But at home, Liverpool are still a bit vulnerable and Klopp will quickly have to build his squad to be strong enough to rip through defenses even at Anfield against teams that allowed the Reds to keep the ball and defend stubbornly.
5. Liverpool slowly regaining their ‘Identity’
One of the major talking points in Jurgen Klopp’s first press conference was trying to get back the identity of the club. Liverpool have looked a side devoid of ideas under their previous manager but have improved considerably under their new manager. Klopp has instilled the confidence in the team that was missing and has given the Reds a much-needed identity on the field. They look a side that believe in their ability to play a particular brand of football and when Klopp is the architect, it is bound to be exciting. The supporters can be sure that the club has good times in the near future.