Liverpool and Manchester City lock horns in this weekend’s blockbuster fixture. As is often the case, this match’s importance cannot be overstated. A loss would leave the Reds ten points adrift of the league leaders; a likely fatal deficit in their bid to retain the title. However, a win would rekindle dwindling hopes of achieving that impressive feat.
Despite bygone hostilities, this particular rivalry is pretty new. Over the past decade or so, Liverpool and Manchester City have become powerhouses of the modern game. Between them, they have won an impressive array of silverware and have shattered a number of age-old records. Importantly, each club has prevented the other from winning more. This seasonal ambition to oust the other has set up some incredible Anfield match ups in recent years.
An Andy Carroll masterclass in 2011 promised so much for a Reds career that never materialised. A dominant 3-0 triumph in 2016 was sweet revenge for League Cup final heartbreak only days before. Nor should we forget Jordan Henderson and Philippe Coutinho’s rockets, which propelled Brendan Rodger’s side to an impressive victory back in 2015.
Memorable Anfield Moments
Ahead of Liverpool’s seismic game this weekend, let us take a look at their Anfield victories, which shaped this success-fuelled rivalry.
3. Liverpool 3-2 Manchester City (2013/14)
As Peter Drury put it: “It’s a generation since the Kop was this loud”.
On the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, Anfield hosted one of its biggest games in years. After the turbulent years of Messrs. Gillett and Hicks, Liverpool were in a title race once more.
The Reds led in no time. Raheem Sterling’s composed finish sent the fans into pandemonium. Scenes of unbridled joy filled television screens across the world as cameras panned across an exuberant Anfield crowd.
Before too long, Martin Skrtel leapt higher than the rest to glance in Liverpool’s second. Belief swept across the stadium that Liverpool were set to overcome their toughest hurdle yet.
However, the half-time introduction of a nowadays familiar face entirely changed the game. James Milner spurred a spirited City comeback and in next to no time, the game was even.
All of a sudden, Simon Mignolet’s goal was under siege. Manuel Pellegrini’s side looked destined to cruelly snatch a victory the Anfield faithful longed for so dearly. Contrarily, destiny favoured Liverpool that day. Coutinho’s brilliant finish reinvigorated a disheartened crowd and incited echoes of “We’re gonna win the league!”.
Ultimately, this memorable win came to no avail as Manchester City pipped them to the title by an excruciating two points. However, matches and occasions like this were now craved by players and fans alike, giving life to the club. On top of this, the 2013/14 Premier League season marked the dawn of England’s modern rivalry.
2. Liverpool 4-3 Manchester City (2017/18)
Following City’s 5-0 demolition job earlier on in the season, Liverpool were keen for sweet revenge. Pep Guardiola’s side were still unbeaten in the league and looked set to win at Anfield for the first time since 2003. What followed was one of the most thrilling Premier League matches of all time.
In a fiery first half, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s 25-yard opener was cancelled out by Leroy Sané’s “smash and grab” equaliser. However, in nine crazy second-half minutes the game turned on its head.
Roberto Firmino shrugged off John Stones and delicately dinked the ball over an oncoming Ederson. 2-1. Sadio Mané then atoned for an earlier miss, smashing in a left footed shot to the top corner. 3-1. To cap it all off, Mohamed Salah punished a loose clearance to lob the stranded City goalkeeper from 45 yards. 4-1. Game over.
Despite conceding two late goals, Liverpool hung on to hand Manchester City their first league defeat of the season. Jurgen Klopp again got the better of his managerial counterpart a week later. They dumped their rivals out of the Champions League en route to an agonizing, yet defining, defeat to Real Madrid in the final.
However, the fact still remained: Manchester City had once again eclipsed the Reds to the coveted Premier League trophy. But that would soon change.
1. Liverpool 3-1 Manchester City (2019/20)
Arguably Liverpool’s most important Premier League victory ever.
The Reds knew that victory would send them eight points clear of their rivals and a giant step closer to that long-awaited trophy. Klopp’s side were in dazzling form, after dropping a mere two points all season. However, defeat would leave City breathing down their necks, only two points behind. The stage was set for an epic encounter.Embed from Getty Images
After six minutes, Fabinho whistled a 25-yard rocket past a hopeless Claudio Bravo (a mere 21 seconds after strong shouts for a City penalty were waved away by referee Michael Oliver). Minutes later, the lead was doubled, with Salah finishing off a breathtaking move, manufactured by Liverpool’s inspired fullbacks. They now had their foot on the throat of the champions.
Mané added a third in the second half, after some tireless work down the right flank from skipper Henderson. Despite Bernado Silva’s late consolation, the Reds hung on to land a damaging blow to their rivals’ title hopes.
After years of pain, despair and “so nearlies”, this victory instilled belief in fans across the world that this really was their year. That dream, of course, became a reality as Liverpool eventually won the league that year, amassing an incredible 99 points in the process.
Could Sunday’s game pose a similar effect on this season’s title race? Despite it lacking the famous “12th man” on this occasion, Anfield has been a torrid ground for Manchester City to visit in recent years. A seventh Liverpool win in the last eight years of this fixture would breathe new life into their title hopes.