April 15, 2021

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Premier League: Manchester City beat Liverpool as Ilkay Gundogan misses penalty, scores twice

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The Germany international was the subject a heavy challenge inside the first two minutes, blazed a penalty way over the bar just before half-time before scoring twice in Manchester City’s 4-1 victory at Anfield.

After Gundogan scored the opener just after the half-time break, Mohamed Salah briefly had the reigning Premier League champions level, converting from the penalty spot, before Gundogan’s second of the game once again gave City the lead.

Raheem Sterling and the excellent Phil Foden wrapped up the result, which took Pep Guardiola’s side four points clear at the top of the table with a game in hand over Manchester United in second.

Up and down

It has become the league’s most hotly contested clash over the last few seasons, with Manchester City and Liverpool fiercely competing for the past two Premier League titles.

After winning its first title in 30 years last year, the Liverpool’s title defense has faltered this season, with Manchester City stepping up in its absence, looking ominous in its hunt for its third title in four seasons.

And it was the visitors who were presented with the best opportunity to open the scoring, as Fabinho’s trip on Raheem Sterling resulted in a penalty just before the half-time break. However, the in-form Gundogan could not convert, blazing over the bar.

According to statistics from Opta, four of the last six penalties to have missed the target completely in the Premier League have been taken by Manchester City players, with three of those coming against Liverpool.
Gundogan misses a penalty against Liverpool.

But shortly after the halftime break, Gundogan made up for his first-half mistake.

After some soft defending from Trent Alexander-Arnold let Sterling into the Liverpool box, Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson could only parry Foden’s shot into the path of the on-rushing Gundogan to give the Premier League leaders the lead.

After 10 minutes of strong City pressure, the reigning champions drew level, taking advantage of an uncharacteristic mistake from the usually excellent Ruben Dias.

A poor clearance from the Portugal international fell into the lap of Salah, and, in an effort to correct his mistake, Dias pulled back the Liverpool attacker, giving away a penalty.

And unlike his Manchester City opponent, the Egypt international made no mistake from the spot, powerfully blasting home.

Having been pegged back, the Manchester side was once again the more threatening, and thought it had reclaimed the lead — but John Stones’ effort was ruled out for offside.

It did eventually retake the lead, capitalizing on some uncharacteristic errant clearances from Alisson in the Liverpool goal.

Sterling celebrates with Silva after scoring City's third goal.

Two sloppy passes from the Brazil goalkeeper fell to Manchester City players, and some penetrating running from Foden from the second, and an incisive pass, allowed Gundogan to grab his second goal of the game from close range.

And Alisson’s woes didn’t end there. His attempted pass out from the back fell right at the feet of Bernardo Silva who chipped over for Sterling to double the lead.

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Sterling is only the third player to score more than 100 goals in all competitions under Pep Guardiola in his top-flight managerial career, after Lionel Messi with 211 and Sergio Aguero with 120.

The superb Foden, who gave the Liverpool defenders fits all afternoon, capped off a wonderful display with his own powerful finish.

Following the defeat, any title hopes look a long way off for Liverpool, while Manchester City stretched its lead at the top and continue to look impressive in this unprecedented season.

2021-02-07 14:01:00

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