Manchester City And Liverpool's 'Rivalry' Will Have To Wait After 4-1 Drubbing

These clubs are on different trajectories
14:32, 01 Apr 2023

Manchester City vs Liverpool has yet to fully earn its stripes as one of the Premier League’s great rivalries. While the compendium of exciting encounters between the pair is increasing, they each still enjoy more iconic histories with Manchester United. Meanwhile Liverpool fans likely seek out Everton on the calendar before City. First halves like the entertaining and spirited opening 45 minutes today will help. But the second half capitulation from Liverpool, and City’s 4-1 victory, will not help crystallise this as a truly iconic Premier League rivalry.

City controlled the pace in the early going, carving out a couple of half-chances that felt like the jabs at the start of a prize fight. Jack Grealish tied Trent Alexander-Arnold in knots before dropping a pass behind Ilkay Gundogan. The German recovered well, finding Kevin De Bruyne and then bombing into the box to receive his pass. The shot was dragged wide but it was a promising moment for the Cityzens. Riyad Mahrez whipped a free kick millimetres wide in another moment of near-brilliance from the home side.


It was against the backdrop of City ascendancy that Liverpool took the lead. A back-to-front move brought to mind the efficiency of the best Jurgen Klopp sides. Liverpool haven’t looked like one of those for a while, but Mohamed Salah’s opener at least hinted at happier times.

It started with Alexander-Arnold, who fired a precise long ball to Diogo Jota. The ex-Wolverhampton Wanderers forward held the ball up brilliantly before teeing up an onrushing Salah. The Egypt international leathered it home with a cathartic release of power. The away support went wild. 1-0.

City would get back into before long though. Gundogan, a constant buzzing presence, pinged a wide ball to Grealish. The England man flashed it across goal and Julian Alvarez, stepping in for the injured Erling Haaland, fired it home. Like Liverpool’s goal, it was a lightning-quick piece of transitional play that unlocked the door.

Alongside an excellent first half of football, there was also plenty of signs that this competitive rivalry has finally spilled over into something intriguing and lasting. First Rodri pulled down Cody Gakpo while on a yellow card. After escaping punishment, a number of Liverpool players protested causing a mass shoving match. Hostilities were then renewed when Alexader-Arnold went barrelling into the back of Grealish a few minutes later. So far, so feisty.

Under a minute into the second half, City took the lead. Mahrez raced down the right flank and curled in a peach of a cross for De Bruyne. Alvarez had picked out the Algeria winger and he worked diligently to give ‘KDB’ as little to do as possible. It was a scintillating move that caught Liverpool completely off guard.

Two became three just a few minutes later, as Gundogan got just reward for an excellent display. Alvarez saw a firm strike blocked by Alexander-Arnold, before the ricochet fell to Gundogan. The Germany midfielder stuck it in the net as the previously-ebullient Liverpool support began to worry.

They had every reason to, as things would soon go from bad to worse. Grealish would be the next on the scoresheet, continuing a fine vein of form since the World Cup and capping a classy performance on the day. After Grealish weeping into the box to fire home City’s fourth, Liverpool looked spent. 

For now though, these two teams have greater concerns than the legitimacy of their budding rivalry. Liverpool have slumped to their eighth away Premier League defeat, while City push Arsenal in the race for the title. These two will reconvene, and we will be told it’s a rivalry. But if Liverpool don’t improve, it will be one in name only.

Suggested Searches:
The Sportsman
Manchester United
Manchester City
Premier League
Sportsman HQ
72-76 Cross St
Manchester M2 4JG
We will not ask you to provide any personal information when using The Sportsman website. You may see advertisement banners on the site, and if you choose to visit those websites, you will accept the terms and conditions and privacy policy applicable to those websites. The link below directs you to our Group Privacy Policy, and our Data Protection Officer can be contacted by email at: [email protected]

All original material is Copyright © 2019 by The Sportsman Communications Ltd.
Other material is copyright their respective owners.