Liverpool vs. Manchester City: 6 Things We Learned
An incredible 90 minutes at Anfield ended with Liverpool beating Manchester City 3-2 and taking charge of the Premier League title race.
Philippe Coutinho's winning goal 12 minutes from time settled an enthralling contest that saw the Reds go 2-0 up through Raheem Sterling and Martin Skrtel's goals in the opening half hour, only for City to stage an emphatic second-half comeback.
David Silva's strike and a Glen Johnson own goal within five minutes of each other early in the second half brought the visitors back level, before Coutinho brilliantly fired Liverpool's winner after Vincent Kompany had sliced a clearance.
Not even a late red card for Jordan Henderson could sour Liverpool's day, as the Reds went seven points ahead of their opponents at the top of the table.
Here are six lessons learned from an astonishing afternoon.
Steven Gerrard Is a Man Possessed
Today was always going to be incredibly emotional for Steven Gerrard and his family, with the 25th anniversary of the death of the Liverpool captain's 10-year-old cousin John-Paul Gilhooley and 95 other fans impeccably marked by both sets of supporters.
Gerrard has a job to do though, and the Reds' skipper was once again excellent in his midfield role against such fierce opposition.
Only a stunning save from Joe Hart denied his header from Coutinho's corner, before Gerrard's delivery seconds later was headed in by Skrtel to put Liverpool 2-0 up.
Gerrard was then seen haring around the pitch trying to stop the inevitable City onslaught, and his tearful reaction at full-time spoke volumes about the Liverpool squad at the moment.
David Silva Didn't Deserve to Be on the Losing Side
When Manchester City desperately needed to step things up in the second half they predictably turned to their Spanish maestro David Silva, and he didn't disappoint.
In scoring one goal and making another, Silva was irrepressible, and he was the architect of the 15-20 minutes that very much threatened to blow Liverpool out of the title race.
In the end the Reds stood up to be counted, but they haven't won anything yet, and Silva's presence in the City side suggests that they are going to have to work incredibly hard to do so.
Raheem Sterling Can Be Anything He Wants to Be
Not for the first time this season, Raheem Sterling was the player who set the tone, the character and the rhythm of a Liverpool performance.
The 19-year-old was absolutely electric in the opening period, with his expertly finished goal putting his side ahead before he almost teed up Daniel Sturridge.
The rate of improvement in Sterling has been incredible, and the youngster should surely be a name under consideration for the PFA Young Player of the Year Award. He must also now be considered a key part of England's World Cup plans.
If Vincent Kompany Doesn't Recover from His Error, Manchester City Won't Either
So much of City's character and belief comes through their captain Vincent Kompany, and that is why his error that led to Philippe Coutinho's winner is so important.
In the build up to the game the talk was all about Kompany's apparent knee injury, but when City had brought the game back to 2-2 thanks to their terrific second-half effort, Kompany could be seen charging forward and setting the tone for his team.
Which is why his sliced attempted clearance was all the more dramatic, with Coutinho punishing him in the grandest of manners.
If Kompany doesn't react positively to his error, then you'd suggest that City won't either.
Referees Still See a Booking for Diving as Ambiguous
The already cautioned Luis Suarez was very fortunate to stay on the pitch after referee Mark Clattenburg decided not to book him for an apparent dive early in the second half. Clattenburg then refused to book James Milner for an identical offence merely seconds later.
The yellow card for a dive is, we're told, an automatic decision that referees simply have to give, but Clattenburg seemingly operates outside of those rules.
He could easily have given a yellow card to both Suarez and Milner but chose not to, so was it the right decision seeing as he afforded the same treatment to both sides?
It would be nice if someone was clear on the matter.
Liverpool Now Believe That Anything Is Possible
They might not earn the crown at the end of the season, but make no mistake—Liverpool's win here was the win of champions.
Electric, defiant, lucky and resilient, they just about saw off City to earn three points which are as crucial as any they've picked up in the Premier League era.
What happens from here is now up to them and them alone, and the key to the destination of the league title depends on just how comfortable they are in the role of favourites, with the three-game suspension for key man Jordan Henderson another huge factor.
Liverpool are now on the crest of a wave.
They've won 10 straight matches, and when you've done that then winning just four more isn't too much to ask, is it?
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