There was so much to love about Liverpool's epic 4-3 victory over Manchester City – and we have picked out five of our favourite things in the Anfield thriller…
Picture-book goals from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah were – ultimately – enough to hand Pep Guardiola’s men a first defeat in the Premier League on Sunday.
Played at a frantic pace, amid a tremendous atmosphere, the meeting between the division’s most free-scoring teams managed to reach, if not exceed, all of the pre-match expectations.
Here is what we enjoyed most about a contest that will live long in the memory…
Firmino taking a leaf out of Robbie Fowler’s book
If you experienced a sense of déjà vu when Firmino raced in behind to fetch Oxlade-Chamberlain’s through pass, shrugged off John Stones with a firm shoulder and delicately lifted the ball over Ederson, there is a sound reason why: because you have basically seen the goal before.
It was October 1995 and a crunch clash with Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Then, the ball forward came from Michael Thomas for Fowler; the defender outmuscled was Gary Neville; the finish was no different, however. In fact, it was practically identical, the striker dinking one over the helpless Peter Schmeichel with his right foot during the 2-2 draw...
Andy Robertson’s relentless press in the second half
It all starts in his own half.
The left-back harries Bernardo Silva and forces City to knock the ball backwards. Kyle Walker collects the pass and sees Robertson racing in his direction. When it is switched again to Stones, the Scot keeps on going.
By the time the ball returns all the way back to goalkeeper Ederson, you might expect Liverpool’s No.26 to call it quits. Instead, it continues and though eventually he is penalised for a foul on Nicolas Otamendi, the attitude and the determination helped to prompt a deserved chorus of his name from the Kop – and encapsulated a standout individual performance...
Three goals in nine minutes
This game was on a knife-edge at the outset of the second half, with Leroy Sane’s intervention four minutes before the break having cancelled out a sublime opening goal from Oxlade-Chamberlain.
But that changed in the space of a nine-minute period that rivals anything Anfield has witnessed before.
Firmino started it with his impudent strike and it is easy to forget that Mane whipped an effort against the outside of the far post before he did find the net with a left-footed blast that serves as an exhibition of perfect shooting technique.
The sensational state change from 1-1 to 4-1 was completed by Salah’s 24th goal of the season. Perhaps the most striking aspect of his unerring hit back over Ederson from the stopper’s failed clearance was that it seemed so easy.
“You get chills,” said Dejan Lovren, captain for the day, in an attempt to describe the action that unfolded in front of him. “We believed from the first second we were the better team.”
The midfield battle
Emre Can, Georginio Wijnaldum and Oxlade-Chamberlain were men on a mission in midfield.
Lined up against a formidable combination, fine-tuned by Guardiola to the point of being unbeaten in the Premier League until Sunday, featuring Kevin de Bruyne, Fernandinho and Ilkay Gundogan, the Reds trio thrived on the task of taking the ball off their opponents at any opportunity.
They set the tone for Liverpool’s pressing game – as you can see in this compilation of the team’s blocks, interceptions and tackles…
The Anfield atmosphere
“The fans were absolutely unbelievable,” Oxlade-Chamberlain, whose passionate celebration in front of the Kop on nine minutes helped add to the noise, commented after the final whistle.
“It’s one of the best atmospheres I’ve played in. I often say that when I play here most weeks. But they were fantastic today and they helped us over the line.”
Just look at those scenes…