With the game goalless and Liverpool applying pressure, Gary Neville claimed their back five was the difference. He suggested they were streets ahead of Manchester City’s backline which has ultimately cost them dearly across the course of the season.
Yet as this game went on, it soon became clear that Liverpool’s defence was to be their Achilles’ heel as they were embarrassed at the Etihad.
This is a defence renowned for their solidity and that was statistically the best in the Premier League last season.
Tonight they were ripped apart and much of it was the doing of Joe Gomez and Andy Robertson.
Gomez was at fault for the first two goals and this was a night to forget for him given what happened earlier in the season between him and Raheem Sterling.
Phil Foden exposed him for the third goal as City filled their boots with the space left in behind.
“He’s been outstanding for Liverpool for the last two seasons but he’s playing tonight like he has had a week on the lash,” Neville said.
“[It’s] so unlike him. You see him get drawn into that space, he just has to hold his nerve, he’s rushing out and getting played around. [He] sees him coming Foden, the one-two is fantastic, and the way he finishes it delights Pep Guardiola.”
Sterling then continued his field day by faking to shoot and coming inside, sending Robertson for a hot dog before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain helped the ball into the net.
Last summer Klopp was happy to stick by his guns besides adding Adrian to his squad following the departure of Simon Mignolet.
His trust was fully justified this season as his players came up trumps to deliver the greatest prize of all.
But now he needs reinforcements, players who can put pressure on the starting team.
If Liverpool had a back-up left-back, Robertson would have been dragged at half-time, just like Gomez.
There is no doubt that he is among the best full-backs in the world but Liverpool are short of cover.
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He rarely gets the chance to rest and even then James Milner is shafted in, defending on his weaker foot.
This performance was a sobering moment for the Scotsman, who rarely lets Liverpool down.
If you’re not moving forward, you’re standing still so the saying goes and Klopp clearly has some food for thought heading into the summer transfer market.
There was a lot to ponder from this horror show but Liverpool did not become a bad side overnight. It was clear they did not have the same motivation now the title was won.
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