Liverpool Move 9 Points Clear of Manchester City After 3-1 Win in Premier League

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistNovember 10, 2019

Liverpool's Senegalese striker Sadio Mane (L) vies with Manchester City's English defender John Stones during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on November 10, 2019. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /  (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

Liverpool are nine points clear of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League after beating their title rivals 3-1 at Anfield on Sunday.    

The leaders took firm control of the title race thanks to goals from Fabinho, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane. Bernardo Silva struck a late consolation for the visitors, who created plenty of chances but were exposed defensively and on the wrong end of two handball penalty appeals against Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Champions City stay fourth after the defeat on Merseyside and have a lot to do to make up the ground amid a run of key injuries, including those suffered by centre-back Aymeric Laporte, goalkeeper Ederson and winger Leroy Sane.

The game made a pulsating start against the backdrop of a typically fervent atmosphere. Yet despite the intensity from the stands, City moved the ball quickly and comfortably early on, with schemers Kevin De Bruyne and Silva heavily involved.

City's industry and guile should have led to a penalty when Alexander-Arnold clearly handled a cross with Raheem Sterling waiting to pounce behind him. No decision was given, though, and Liverpool broke rapidly as Sergio Aguero led the City protests amid a VAR review.

The Reds' break ended with holding midfielder Fabinho thundering in a terrific strike from distance:

While the goal was a worthy highlight in any game, there was still controversy and bitterness regarding the strong penalty claim, which was still not granted even after the video check was finally completed.

The Premier League later explained "that a penalty was not awarded as Alexander-Arnold's arm was not in an unnatural position. PGMOL [Professional Game Match Officials Limited] added that there was not enough reaction time for the defender to move his arm out the way. Official rules on handball state if the arm or hand makes the body 'unnaturally bigger,' it is handball," per Marcus Banks of the Manchester Evening News.

City were fuming but still posed a considerable threat, and Sterling should have headed them level moments later. Surprisingly, the usually efficient winger flashed his effort wide from close range.

It proved a costly miss when Liverpool soon went 2-0 up after Andy Robertson's cross was met brilliantly by Salah. The Egypt international showed Sterling how it's done with a deft header.

City had looked dangerous going forward, but still found themselves with a mountain to climb, thanks largely to a threadbare defence. Summer import Angelino was struggling at left-back while converted midfielder Fernandinho's partnership with John Stones looked soft at the heart of a creaking back four.

The art of defending may have been eluding City, but the visitors were still artfully creating chances. One typically slick move was nearly rewarded when De Bruyne played in Angelino and the defender's deflected effort clipped the post with Alisson beaten in the Liverpool goal.

City weren't having much luck in the attacking third, and the trend continued when Aguero went clear only to drag his shot wide three minutes before the break. The Argentinian has found most venues to his liking, but is still chasing a first league goal at Anfield.

Any hope the Citizens could take from their play going forward was dashed just six minutes into the second half when Mane headed in from Jordan Henderson's superb delivery from out wide.

City were well beaten and facing the task of simply avoiding outright humiliation. That was at least accomplished when Silva fired in an emphatic finish with 12 minutes remaining.

A comeback still looked unlikely, but City and Sterling were left incensed when Alexander-Arnold appeared to block another cross with his hand. Once again, though, no penalty was given by referee Michael Oliver.

It summed up City's day with the officials, but there was little doubt Liverpool had been stronger in every phase, rugged at the back and efficient in forward areas. The Reds are beginning to look uncatchable in this season's title race.

   

What's Next?

Liverpool will be away to Crystal Palace on Saturday, November 23, following the upcoming international break. Meanwhile, City will host Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium on the same day.

Related

    Ranking Chelsea's 2020 Targets 💰

    Who's on the agenda for Lampard?

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Ranking Chelsea's 2020 Targets 💰

    Dean Jones
    via Bleacher Report

    Choose Your Football Story ▶️🎮

    Start a fight or play it safe? Drop an R&B single or give to charity? Tap here and then 'Open App' to play full game in YouTube app

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Choose Your Football Story ▶️🎮

    B/R Football
    via YouTube

    Premier League Report Cards

    Grading every Premier League club so far

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Premier League Report Cards

    Mail Online
    via Mail Online

    Pique and Ramos at War Over Clasico 👀

    Madrid legend says Barca have more rest ahead of huge Dec. 18 showdown

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Pique and Ramos at War Over Clasico 👀

    Tom Sunderland
    via Bleacher Report