Manchester City's poor rearguard to blame in loss to Liverpool
Manchester City fell nine points behind Liverpool in the Premier League title race as they lost 3-1 to the European champions at Anfield. Fabinho and Mohamed Salah both scored within a hectic first 15 minutes, with both goals being called into question by City who were disappointed by VAR's lack of intervention.
When they were able to string a few passes together, City got into the sort of rhythm that we're used to seeing. Their dynamic form of pressure caused Liverpool some issues and while they may not have put the finishing touches together, their build-up play proved that they were capable of making magic happen.
The visitors were so open at the back and almost looked afraid to get stuck in and really take the game to the Reds. Their decision making was nowhere near where we've seen from them in the last few years, and they just didn't have that final touch or cutting edge finishing ability that is required against a team of Liverpool's quality.
Manager rating out of 10
5 - Guardiola had to roll the dice with his team selection, and it's safe to say the risk didn't pay off. There was no real cohesion throughout the squad, and when it comes to Guardiola himself, his lack of composure on the touchline almost certainly rubbed off on his City side. The delay on making any changes also didn't help the champions.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 the best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Claudio Bravo, 4 -- Raised plenty of questions with his positioning for the first goal, looked nervous for the second, and showed real trepidation in attempting to save the third.
DF Kyle Walker, 5 -- Lost his man for the second goal and didn't track back accordingly for the third. Continues to blow hot and cold in big game situations.
DF John Stones, 5 -- Looked weak for aerial duels and doesn't offer any kind of reassurance at the back for City fans. Seems to be dramatically off the pace in comparison to when he first arrived.
DF Fernandinho, 6 -- Did well when breaking into midfield and while he was shaky in the early stages, he made the best of what was a tough defensive situation for Manchester City.
DF Angelino, 6 -- Couldn't keep up with the tempo of the game in the first half and made a series of schoolboy errors. Was a deer in headlights with one major positive being his assist for Bernardo's goal.
MF Kevin De Bruyne, 6 -- Whenever the opposition are able to successfully defend balls into the box, the Belgian seems to struggle, and that hesitation was evident on several occasions.
MF Rodri, 6 -- While his style may not be the most watchable at times, he brings a certain energy and determination to City's midfield that they definitely lack.
MF Ilkay Gundogan, 5 -- Always focused on playing the ball backwards into safer positions as opposed to progressing forward. Should've done better for the first goal.
FW Bernardo Silva, 7 -- Was largely unable to make a strong influence on the game, but has a steely focus that allowed him to score City's only goal of the afternoon.
FW Sergio Aguero, 6 -- Threw himself around the pitch in an attempt to create chances, but just couldn't break that Anfield jinx which seems to follow the Argentine like a bad smell.
FW Raheem Sterling, 6 -- Was always at the forefront of City's attacking moves, but was clearly frustrated when they didn't lead to goals.
FW Gabriel Jesus, 6 -- Helped to piece together a few passages of play, but wasn't given enough time to make a real impact.