Stop press. Manchester City can be beaten. And it was the ‘gegenpressing’ that did it – plus the cauldron of emotion, desire, will, intent and hunger that Anfield was whipped up into as Liverpool gained this remarkable victory. The stadium, quite literally, rocked and City, just as incredibly, struggled to cope.
There was a nine-minute spell in the second-half when Liverpool scored three times, when they also struck the woodwork, and it seemed the magic that Pep Guardiola has weaved at City had been exposed as smoke and mirrors. But his side are not 15 points clear, have not gone 22 Premier League without losing, for no reason and it was astonishing that, by the end, Liverpool were left hanging on. But such is Jurgen Klopp; such is his way; such is the pulsating, open football he demands. This was a win in his image; a win full of heart and absolutism – and a little vulnerability. But that is the trade-off. It is the same with Guardiola and he was right in predicting that this fixture would be the sternest test his team had faced.
So there will be no new ‘Invincibles’ even if City still appear untouchable. Arsenal’s record of 2003-04 remains – which is cold comfort for them as this arresting result opened up the gap between the top four and sixth-placed Arsenal to a daunting eight points. There was salt in that open wound for Arsenal with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who left for £35million last summer, who had lost his way at the Emirates, the stand-out performer for Liverpool with a tremendously positive performance, setting the tone as he opened the scoring and never, ever relented.
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