John Aldridge discusses Saturday’s defeat by Manchester City in part one of his weekly Liverpool column.
It was always going to be a big ask to win at Manchester City on Saturday afternoon.
The eventual scoreline won’t have come as a major surprise to many fans based on recent performances, but we actually got off to a good start in an away game for a change when Mohamed Salah opened the scoring. A lot of the talk ahead of the game was about the loss of Erling Haaland, but that ended up making little difference in the end as Julian Alvarez impressed. I think Jurgen was very bold to go with the two in midfield, which ultimately backfired, as they continued to go one-versus-one against Robertson and Trent as we pressed their backline to stop them getting out.
City started getting more space in the second half and when they got the two early goals after the restart, it was game over. One of the goals they scored, they completed around 20 passes and not one tackle from a Liverpool player went in. They walked it in, which just about shows you where we’re at.
City have spent billions of pounds as a club, so we knew this was going to be a challenging contest. There’s a reason they are where they are, that’s what money gets you. But despite all their quality, we made Jack Grealish look like Lionel Messi. He is certainly not close to being that. It’s not only quality that separates Messi and Grealish, only one of them doesn’t go to ground when being tackled. When you’re that good, and for £100million he should be, you can spoil your reputation by constantly looking for fouls. I have to say Gakpo should have got booked for that too as you can’t do that. We are better than that.
Speaking of bookings, should Rodri have received a second yellow card for his foul on Gakpo? Absolutely. It is cynical and what Guardiola teams do. If any opposition gets into a dangerous position, they wipe them out. We used to see it all the time with Fernandinho. There’s nothing wrong with tactical fouls, I’ve done it myself in the past, but it is not right when you get away with the punishment it warrants. A potential City sending off was our only chance of getting a result. We got what we deserved in the end, but it may have given us a bit of a boost in the game.
As for the Guardiola and Tsimikas incident, we all know how much Pep wants to beat Liverpool and he’s just lost it in that moment – which we’ve all done at one point or other. Tsimikas was very professional by not retaliating and Guardiola is just lucky he didn’t do that in my era as someone would have put their head on him. I don’t think Pep has meant to be malicious, but you can’t do what he did. Other players would have reacted, and I’m glad it wasn’t me as I would have been banned for ten games!
Action must be taken to put an end to Hillsborough chants
Once again, we heard Hillsborough-related songs coming from City supporters during a match against Liverpool. The chants are absolutely disgusting and have no place in the game, not that it wasn’t clear already. If our fans had to do with a reduced allocation on Saturday, we can do the same for next year’s game at Anfield.
There are genuine supporters out there who follow City and don’t take part in those chants, and you don’t want them to suffer, but this is getting out of hand. I was at Hillsborough and went to 12 funerals. It hurts like hell for me when I hear those songs being sung when you have attended the funeral of a father and son, two brothers and young kids. It is absolutely unbelievable, the people doing it must not have been born when Hillsborough happened.
All we get after opposition fans sing about Hillsborough are statements condemning these chants, but there is never any real punishment. That is why fans continue to do it because they know they will get away with it. They will soon stop singing if there is something actually being done to stamp it out.