Sunday’s 1-0 victory over Manchester City by Liverpool was memorable maybe more for who scored than for who didn’t. It was Mohamed Salah and Liverpool who put an end to Man City and Erling Haaland’s total supremacy, at least temporarily.
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On a day when Erling Haaland’s remarkable goal-scoring streak came to an end, Mohamed Salah emerged victorious in the battle of the forwards at Anfield by scoring the game-winning goal in the second half of Liverpool’s 1-0 triumph over Manchester City. In his last 10 games across all leagues, Haaland had scored in every one of them.
In the 76th minute of a tumultuous match against the reigning champions, which ended with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp being sent off by referee Anthony Taylor, Salah—who scored the fastest-ever Champions League hat trick during a six-minute goal spree against Rangers on Wednesday—pounced on a mistake by Joao Cancelo before racing clear and beating goalkeeper Ederson.
With 14 points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal and 10 points behind City, Salah’s goal gave Klopp’s squad an important victory. As a result, City’s season-long unbeaten streak comes to an end, depriving Pep Guardiola’s squad of the opportunity to emulate Arsenal’s 2004 Invincibles by going the entire season without losing.
Both teams produced opportunities to win in a high-tempo game, as has been the case in recent meetings between these two teams, suggesting that Liverpool, despite their sluggish start to the season, remains a world-class team capable of winning big honors.
Liverpool had been handicapped by injuries to several important players, but after fending off intense City pressure in the first half and having a goal disallowed for Phil Foden on 53 minutes, they seized the lead when Salah scored his 11th goal in 15 games this season. Salah does well in crucial games when it counts the most, but the Egyptian is still nine goals behind Haaland, who has 20 goals for City this season. He repeated it to give Liverpool’s season new energy.
Joe Gomez has had a difficult season at Liverpool, with his dismal performance in the 4-1 Champions League loss to Napoli last month serving as the low point. However, the England international was excellent alongside Virgil van Dijk in an improvised back-four that neutralized Haaland.
Any defense will find it difficult to stop Haaland, but the 25-year-old has recently struggled with injuries and his play, so his inclusion in the squad was only made possible by the injuries to Joel Matip and Ibrahima Konate.
However, Gomez and Van Dijk shut down Haaland, resulting in the talented forward’s first scoreless match since facing Bournemouth two weeks prior — a streak of 10 games across all competitions.
Haaland came close with two effective headers, but he never dared to scare Liverpool the way he has previous opponents this year.
Gomez has speed, strength, poise, and the ability to read the game. His serenity stood out in a back four that relied on James Milner, a former City midfielder, to fill Trent Alexander-right-back Arnold’s position due to his lack of fitness. Furthermore, if Gomez can keep up his comeback to form, he may make a late push into Gareth Southgate’s team as England’s injury woes build in the lead-up to the World Cup next month.
Pep Guardiola, the manager of Man City, exhibits a different side at Anfield, as was evident during Sunday’s intense match with Liverpool.
The City manager allows himself to get rattled more than at any other stadium, whether it is because of the atmosphere at Anfield, the abnormally small playing surface, or the fact that Jurgen Klopp’s club has been a continuous threat to his own side for the previous five years.
Guardiola was furious even though referee Anthony Taylor ultimately made the right call after a VAR review disallowed a goal by Phil Foden in the second half due to a Haaland-on-Fabinho foul.
When the goal was ruled out, the former Barcelona coach turned to the Main Stand and began to provoke the Liverpool fans by urging them to create more noise. Guardiola’s initial reaction to the goal even being checked was a little short of anger, as though it was an injustice for it to be checked.
Jose Mourinho responded as you might anticipate rather than Pep Guardiola, but it’s not the first time he’s let the energy at Anfield get to him. Guardiola’s team defeated Liverpool 4-1 in February 2021, marking his team’s lone victory there since taking over management of City in 2016. But that was when stadiums were deserted because of COVID-19 lockdown. Guardiola has yet to triumph in front of the Anfield crowd, and it is evident.