Liverpool 3-0 Manchester City: Reds take charge of Champions League quarter-final
Last Updated: 05/04/18 9:05am
Liverpool produced a blistering first-half display to stun Manchester City 3-0 in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final at Anfield on Wednesday.
Mohamed Salah opened the scoring after 12 minutes before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made it 2-0 shortly afterwards with a superb strike.
City looked in disarray defensively and they fell further behind after half an hour as Sadio Mane headed home.
Liverpool: Karius (6), Alexander-Arnold (8), Lovren (7), Van Dijk (7), Robertson (8), Henderson (7), Milner (8), Oxlade-Chamberlain (8), Salah (8), Mane (7), Firmino (7)
Subs: Wijnaldum (6), Solanke (6), Moreno (5)
Man City: Ederson (5), Walker (5), Kompany (5), Otamendi (4), Laporte (4), Fernandinho (5), Silva (5), De Bruyne (5), Gundogan (4), Sane (5), Jesus (4)
Subs: Sterling (5)
Man of the match: Trent Alexander-Arnold
The visitors did improve in the second half but were unable to grab an away goal ahead of the second leg at the Etihad next Tuesday.
In fact, the Premier League leaders did not even have a shot on target as - just like when they lost 4-3 at Anfield in January - they failed to cope with Liverpool's high pressing and intensity.
With Liverpool in their first Champions League quarter-final since 2008, there was a lively atmosphere around Anfield ahead of kick-off, and the hosts issued an apology after City's bus was damaged by objects thrown at it.
Pep Guardiola had said beforehand that Manchester City would not alter their approach because of the opposition, but even the defensive-looking decision to start Ilkay Gundogan ahead of Raheem Sterling did not help as Liverpool ran riot in the first half.
The deadlock was broken after just 12 minutes as the hosts countered and Roberto Firmino won the ball off Kyle Walker and poked across for Salah to fire in his 38th goal of the season in all competitions.
Leroy Sane went close to a quick response when he dragged a shot wide, but from then on it was one-way traffic as Liverpool seized control of the tie in stunning fashion.
Oxlade-Chamberlain rifled in a superb second from 25 yards before Salah crossed for Mane to head in after half an hour.
City, who can win the Premier League when they face Manchester United on Sky Sports on Saturday, looked shell-shocked and could have fallen further behind on the stroke of half-time as Virgil van Dijk powered a header wide from a free-kick.
While the first half was all about Liverpool's impressive attacking qualities, the second half saw them defend fantastically to keep an improved City at bay.
The visitors dominated possession and finally started to find spaces, but did not muster a shot on target as Liverpool held on to their three-goal advantage.
Liverpool made two changes from their win at Crystal Palace on Saturday as Lovren and Oxlade-Chamberlain replaced Matip and Wijnaldum.
Sterling dropped out for City in place of Gundogan.
- Liverpool are unbeaten at home in European competition since October 2014 (0-3 vs Real Madrid) and have extended their run without defeat to 15 European games at Anfield (W10 D5 L0).
- Manchester City failed to direct a single shot on target in a game for the first time since 26th October 2016 (v Man Utd in the League Cup).
- Liverpool are the top scoring side in the Champions League this season with 31 goals.
- 18% of the goals Manchester City have conceded this season in all competitions have been scored by Liverpool (7/38).
- Mohamed Salah has been directly involved in nine goals in his nine Champions League appearances this season (7 goals, 2 assists).
- Roberto Firmino has had a hand in 11 goals in the Champions League this season (7 goals, 4 assists), a haul only Cristiano Ronaldo can better (17).
- James Milner has registered seven assists in the Champions League this season, three more than any other player.
Man of the match - Trent Alexander-Arnold
There were plenty of excellent performances from players in red but Alexander-Arnold was particularly impressive at right-back.
Up against Sane, the 19-year-old was composed, kept his position and played a big part in preventing City from creating any clear chances. As well as keeping Sane quiet, he made a crucial intervention in the 55th minute to prevent David Silva sweeping home a cross.
Both sides are live on Sky Sports at the weekend.
Liverpool make the short trip to Everton at Saturday lunchtime, before City look to win the title when they host Manchester United later in the day.
The second leg of the quarter-final is at the Etihad next Tuesday.