Liverpool 1-4 Manchester City
Liverpool’s title defence appears to have ended at the feet of goalkeeper Alisson Becker as two awful errors gifted Manchester City a 4-1 victory at Anfield.
With the match evenly-poised at 1-1 with 17 minutes remaining the Brazil international’s errant passing presented the league leaders with two goals – including Raheem Sterling’s first at Anfield since leaving in 2015.
Alisson was back in the team after missing the midweek defeat to Brighton with illness but he will be sick when he watches back his part in City’s first victory on this ground since 2003 and only their second in 34 visits.
Mohamed Salah’s 63rd-minute penalty – ending a home goal drought nine minutes short of seven hours – had cancelled out the opener from Ilkay Gundogan, who redeemed himself after missing from the spot in the first half.
Alisson then scuffed a pass straight to Phil Foden, who drove forward and crossed for Gundogan to make it nine goals in his last 11 league matches.
Worse was to follow as the Brazilian then repeated the error even closer to goal with Bernardo Silva teeing up Sterling to nod home his 100th goal for Pep Guardiola, with Foden adding the finishing touches late on.
Victory extended City’s winning run to 14 matches and left Liverpool 10 points beind having played one match more and even in this season of surprises a comeback from that position seems unlikely.
It meant Gundogan’s penalty miss late in the first half – City’s third this season and their third in four attempts in this fixture – and Guardiola kicking a bucket in frustration were distant memories.
Phil Foden believes the victory puts them in the driving seat to win back to the title.
“When you beat the champions, everyone’s confidence is sky high, so it can only help,” he told Sky Sports.
“It gives us every chance to go on and win it now, but the job is not done. We still have a long way to go. This is what we need to keep doing – putting points on the table.”
The 20-year-old was awarded man of the match for his display in an unusual false nine position.
He added: “It is brilliant, every player wants to play in a big game like this and we showed our courage from minute one.
“I enjoyed it you know. It is not like you have to stay up front. You can drop in and it is something I need to learn, but I enjoyed it.”
Jurgen Klopp admitted “two massive mistakes” cost Liverpool and saw them suffer a third straight defeat at home.
He told Sky Sports: “We made two massive mistakes, that is clear. They used them and 3-1 down in a game like this, when you are that long level, it is tough to take.
“And then Phil Foden with a genius situation where he scored a great goal. The performance was good and at a high level.”
Alisson gave away possession cheaply for City’s second and third goals, but the Liverpool manager backed the Brazilian.
Klopp added: “We didn’t give him a lot of options. The second one he just mishit the ball.
“There is not a real explanation. Maybe he had cold feet? It sounds funny but it could be. Maybe he could have kicked it in the stand. But Ali saved our life so many times.”