Underrated Rivalries: Liverpool vs Manchester City
Football has given birth to the best of rivalries.
These fixtures are exuberant, fueled with passion and epitomise what makes the beautiful game so special. Whether it be a clash of the titans in El Clasico or Oxford vs Swindon on a cold Tuesday night, these eagerly anticipated matches bring a rush of adrenaline to both sets of fans, making an incredible atmosphere.
Although many rivalries have infamous titles such as the Old Firm and North London derbies, there are some rivalries that don’t get the recognition they deserve. In this case we have Manchester City vs Liverpool, certainly a high profile fixture, yet one that doesn’t have its own name. That doesn’t mean we haven’t seen some of the best of Premier League football played between these two sides over the years:
Manchester City 2-3 Liverpool (5th October 2008)
2nd place Liverpool came to Manchester with the likes of Gerrard, Alonso and Torres, yet were certainly given a tough test.
Against the run of play, Stephen Ireland opened the scoring for the hosts in the 19th minute. Liverpool continued to dominate the game, however City took their chance when Javier Garrido increased their lead to 2-0 going into half time. Liverpool faced an uphill task, yet Rafa Benitez’s men produced a brilliant comeback.
Liverpool were all over City and their endeavours finally paid off when Fernando Torres converted from close range in the 55th minute. The Cityzens’ lead now was seriously under threat and it proved to be when Torres struck again with a header from a 73rd-minute corner. The comeback was finally completed in the dying embers of the game when Dirk Kuyt snatched the winner in front of a shocked at the Etihad.
Manchester City 2-2 Liverpool (3rd February 2013)
Yet another encounter at the Etihad between these sides that had goals galore, but the strikes in this game were of sheer quality.
It started off well for City, Eden Dzeko tapping in the 23rd minute, (nothing spectacular, but it gets better). Yet their lead was short lived when Daniel Sturridge released a thunderous shot that whizzed past Joe Hart just 6 minutes later. The teams went into halftime with the score level and the second half certainly didn’t disappoint…
After a tense 30 minutes, the deadlock was finally broken by a vintage Steven Gerrard half volley from 30 yards out. Just glorious. At 2-1 with just 17 minutes to go, Liverpool were in the driver’s seat. However! Sergio Aguero had other ideas when he scored a delightful chip from what seemed like an impossible angle into the side netting. The spoils were shared between the sides and this truly was Premier League football at its finest.
Manchester City 5-0 Liverpool (9th September 2017)
Fast forward a few years and the Guardiola era was fully underway in the blue of Manchester as demonstrated when they were visited by Klopp’s Liverpool.
After a dominant 24 minutes, Sergio Aguero got City off the mark with a composed finish into the bottom corner of the net. Liverpool were beginning to get back in the game before Sadio Mane’s controversial sending off which was a huge blow to their attack. Just 8 minutes after The Reds went down to 10 men, Gabriel Jesus doubled City’s lead, putting the game far out of their reach.
The second half was even worse for Klopp’s men who completely capitulated after the break. The demoralisation of the red card was evident as City’s lead extended with Jesus’ second before Leroy Sane came off the bench to net his own brace. Sane’s second, a curling strike into the top left corner from outside the box, was certainly the pick of the bunch and sent Liverpool back to Merseyside in dismay.
With Manchester City asserting their dominance at the pinnacle of the English game and Liverpool FC finally returning as title challenges, there is no doubt that there will be plenty more of these thrilling games to come.