Alisson implosion, Foden magic hands Man City bruising Liverpool win

Date published: Sunday 7th February 2021 6:21 - Steve Pearson

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A nightmare period for Alisson Becker combined with a breakout performance from Phil Foden helped Man City inflict a crushing 4-1 defeat on Liverpool.

Liverpool pkaymaker Thiago Alcantara picked up the earliest of bookings when sliding in on Ilkay Gundogan inside three minutes.

The German international appeared to roll his ankle in the challenge, but dusted himself off and attempted to play on through the pain.

Somewhat surprisingly, the next 20 minutes played out with little in the way of goalmouth action.

Neither side could sustain any significant periods of pressure, with neither goalkeeper required to make any meaningful actions.

Liverpool finally showed signs of life in the 25th minute when Trent Alexander-Arnold broke free down the right.

A stepover and change of direction accounted for his marker before whipping in an inch-perfect cross that Sadio Mane carelessly headed over.

Roberto Firmino then forced the first save of the match after his dipping volley was pushed round the post by Ederson.

Man Cityย finally woke from their slumber in the 36th minute when Raheem Sterling was felled in the box by the trailing leg of Fabinho.

Gundogan stepped up to the spot, but fired his effort high over the bar to ensure the stalemate persisted.

The second-half brought a change of system as Pep Guardiola switched to a 4-4-2 with Phil Foden and Bernanrdo Silva up top.

The switch brought immediate reward when Gundogan made up for his penalty miss by prodding in from close range.

Sterling had waltzed past Alexander-Arnold before feeding Foden who saw his shot expertly saved, but Alisson Becker could only parry the ball into the path of Gundogan.

Liverpool were handed a major reprieve soon after when Mohamed Salah drew a penalty after getting the better of the otherwise faultless Ruben Dias.

The Portuguese hauled Salah down in the box, who himself converted the penalty to make it 1-1.

John Stones thought he’d then handed City a second lead, but the centre-half was adjudged to have strayed offside before latching on to Phil Foden’s superb cross.

That would prove to be a sign of things to come when Alisson endured a nightmare 30 seconds to gift City a lead.

The Brazilian twice surrendered possession passing out from the back, with Foden beating two players before laying the go-ahead goal on a plate for Gundogan.

Lightning then struck twice as Alisson once again gave the ball away at the back. Bernardo Silva chipped the ball to the far post allowing Sterling to head home from less than a yard.

Liverpool heads dropped and Foden soon capitalised making it 4-1 when a powerful strike that Alisson would’ve expected to keep out.

That would prove to be the last meaningful action as Man City emerged victorious at Anfield 4-1.

 

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