Liverpool 3-0 Manchester City: Reds avenge Cup final defeat
By Sam Drury at Anfield
Last Updated: 03/03/16 3:01pm
Liverpool gained swift revenge for their Capital One Cup final defeat to Manchester City with a comprehensive 3-0 win over Manuel Pellegrini's side at Anfield.
Reds boss Jurgen Klopp opted to rest Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge after their exertions at Wembley and, in truth, they were not missed as Liverpool went into half-time 2-0 up courtesy of goals from Adam Lallana and James Milner.
Lallana then teed up Roberto Firmino to add a third in the second half to effectively end the game as a contest.
The result gives Liverpool a league double over City and leaves the visitors' title hopes hanging by a thread as they remain 10 points behind leaders Leicester - albeit with a game in hand.
Liverpool flew out of the blocks and ensured the City players had precious little time on the ball in the opening exchanges.
But for all their endeavour they were unable to create any chances of note as City slowly started to grow into the game.
Firmino tested Joe Hart from the edge of the box, before Jesus Navas' flashed delivery across goal almost found Sergio Aguero, but the Argentina international was unable to reach the ball at the far post.
That signalled the start of a sustained period of City possession in Liverpool territory, however, just as the pressure looked to be building, they were hit with a sucker punch.
Milner fed the ball into Lallana who was allowed time and space to advance before firing low past Hart and into the bottom corner from 23 yards.
City soon regained their composure and looked for a response, but four minutes from half-time they found themselves further behind.
Lallana back-heeled ball into Firmino who found Milner bursting through, and the former City player collected the ball beautifully before prodding past Hart.
City introduced Wilfried Bony at half-time as they looked for a way back into the game. Former Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling the man to be replaced, much to the delight of the home crowd.
But it was to little avail as Liverpool were back in the ascendancy after the break as Divock Origi brought a smart save out of Hart with a shot from a tight angle.
The hosts continued to swarm all over City when out of possession and it was that intensity off the ball that brought about the third goal.
Lallana nipped in to win back possession 30 yards from goal, skipped past Fernando and played Firmino in on goal - the Brazilian finishing clinically into the corner of the net.
Aguero threatened for City, beating a couple of players before being superbly denied by Kolo Toure as he shaped to shoot.
Indeed, it was Liverpool who came closest to finding the game's fourth goal, Milner forcing Hart into a save, Jordan Henderson curling a free-kick just wide and Joe Allen hitting a dipping shot from distance that landed on the roof of the net.
Liverpool: MIgnolet (6), Flanagan (6), Toure (7), Lovren (7), Clyne (7), Milner (8), Henderson (7), Can (7), Lallana (9), Firmino (8), Origi (7).
Subs: Benteke (5), Allen (6), Ibe (5).
Manchester City: Hart (6), Zabaleta (6), Kompany (6), Otamendi (6), Clichy (7), Navas (5), Fernandinho (6), Fernando (6), Sterling (6), Silva (5), Aguero (7).
Subs: Bony (5), Iheanacho (5), Kolarov (5).
Man of the match: Adam Lallana