Liverpool went into this match in the rare position of underdogs at Anfield but, as so often in the past, they rose to the occasion in a thunderous atmosphere.
City, fueled by the goals of Erling Haaland, were the favorites of almost everyone outside Merseyside to win, but when Liverpool were dismantling Rangers in the second half in midweek they seemed to have finally found the form which has deserted them for much of the season.
Joe Gomez in central defence alongside Virgil van Dijk did a terrific job on Haaland, and the much maligned Mo Salad showed why he is still Liverpool’s best player with the game winner. The Liverpool star settled the game with a moment of composure, once again aided by an assist from keeper Alisson as the Egyptian raced clear with Anfield expectant, and beat Ederson with a composed finish with 14 minutes left. That was his first league goal since August. With a hat-trick in the Champions League against Rangers it appears that Salah is back.
The big question in the title race is whether Liverpool are back too? This was a vintage Jurgen Klopp Liverpool performance. They rocked City, the old school way. The energy, that relentless, furious ferociousness, was off the charts. One would never have known the trials of the club this season.
Pep Guardiola wasn’t dismissing them as contenders before this game and, while it will be hard to make up so much ground, Liverpool are one of a handful of teams capable of going on a winning run and get back in the title race.
Earlier, Ederson had produced a brilliant save to deny Salah in a similar one-on-one situation while City manager Pep Guardiola was furious that a Phil Foden goal that would have put his side ahead was ruled out by the video assistant referee for Haaland’s foul on Fabinho.
This was not to be Haaland’s day, although he did bring two saves from Alisson, but Anfield was left exultant as Liverpool at last showed why they have consistently been City’s biggest threat.
In a frantic finale, tempers boiled over and Klopp was sent off by referee Anthony Taylor for his protests after he felt Salah was fouled – but when temperatures cool he will be overjoyed by a statement win.
The gap at the top, meanwhile, now stands at four points. Liverpool aside, the greatest beneficiaries here were Arsenal, who have been painted as mere place-holders for Manchester City this season. Maybe, maybe not. At the very least, as a club, their Invincibles tag will stand another year. Manchester City are not going to go unbeaten, no matter where they finish, unlike Arsenal’s last title winners.