Football

Liverpool's display leaves Anfield breathless and pundits purring

Pundits purr as Reds end runaway EPL leaders Man City's unbeaten run

In the end, even the English Premier League's runaway leaders proved no match for Liverpool's heavy metal football, the relentless and attacking style of play that has become a trademark of Juergen Klopp's team.

The Reds' 4-3 win over Manchester City yesterday morning (Singapore time) left Anfield breathless, and football pundits purring.

Manchester United legend Gary Neville admitted he wouldn't fancy his chances against Liverpool's attack, after watching Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane score one goal apiece after the break to put the game out of City's reach.

The former fullback, winner of eight EPL and two Champions League titles, said on the Gary Neville podcast on Sky Sports: "The finishes were wonderful. They're a potent front three.

"I always think about frontlines I wouldn't want to play against, I would not want to play against that frontline.

"With (Philippe) Coutinho they are stronger, but they make runs that I don't want forwards making against me.

"They run with and without the ball, they make runs between fullback and centre back, which makes you question when to leave them, when to play them offside, when to pass them off to your centre back.

"Juergen Klopp has to be given credit for that. He's built a team that represents him and the way he wants football to be played.

"They're a really, really dangerous front three."

Liverpool are the second-most prolific side in the English top flight, their 54 goals scored in 23 games second only to City's 67 in as many matches.

While their excellent finishing killed off the visitors yesterday morning, their high-pressing game ate away at the composure of Pep Guardiola's highly technical side.

Praising the hosts' courage to take the game to City, ex-Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy said on the BBC: "Liverpool's pressing wore them down into making mistakes.

"Sloppy passing let them down. Normally with City, and I know they have been a tad vulnerable, they are pretty good.

"They showed spirit in the end but City, playing that way, is why they are successful. In the end, their strength became a weakness.

"Because of Liverpool's incessant press and energy, and willingness to get the ball back, when you do have a bit of time you take it for granted, relax too much and complacency sets in.

"That's credit to Liverpool."

Likewise, fellow Match of the Day pundit Alan Shearer saw in Liverpool's victory the blueprint to take down City, but he cautioned that not all teams have the personnel to do it.

ABSOLUTELY MAGNIFICENT

He said: "To play the way Liverpool did, you need energy, pace, legs all over the park, courage and belief - and Liverpool had all of that. They were absolutely magnificent.

"They pressed them in the right areas... We've seen a lot of times this season when City control the pace of the game and pass it around with ease - but not against Liverpool.

"Liverpool deserved the three points. It was not at all headless running around. If one goes, another one backs them up, another one backs him up as well. They do it as a team.

"To do that constantly as they did for 90 minutes, and they do it very well at Anfield, you need energy, pace, legs in the team and Liverpool had that... It takes some doing to do that."

Ex-Liverpool skipper Jamie Redknapp was particularly impressed by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, scorer of the Reds' first goal.

In his Daily Mail column, he wrote: "Oxlade-Chamberlain looks a different player since arriving at Anfield last summer.

"At Arsenal, it was all too easy for him. No one was pushing him and it did not matter whether he was in or out of the team.

"Now he looks fitter, stronger and is thriving in a clearly defined midfield role. Once again, he looks like a fantastic talent."

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