Liverpool suffered their worst Premier League defeat of the season on Thursday night, losing 4-0 to Manchester City at the Etihad. Despite starting brightly after getting a rather muted guard of honour from the City squad, it was the home side who got the first goal of the game, with Kevin De Bruyne converting from the spot after Joe Gomez was deemed to have fouled Raheem Sterling inside the box.
City doubled their lead not long after, with Sterling adding his name to the score sheet against his former side. They continued to open up the Liverpool defence, netting a magnificent third through Phil Foden just before the break to round off a miserable half for Jurgen Klopp's side. Liverpool rallied after half-time but to little avail, as Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain turned the ball into his own net on the hour mark to make it 4-0.
The result will do little to dampen the mood of the champions-elect, but it does bring Liverpool crashing back down to earth following a week of wild celebrations.
After a game like this, it's tricky to pinpoint what went well for the away side. There were some positive takeaways, though, such as Fabinho's sharp work in midfield and the regularity with which Liverpool managed to get in behind the City backline. Unfortunately for the travellers, they were unable to capitalise on these promising scenarios.
Where to begin? It simply wasn't their night, as everything that could go wrong did. The forwards were all lacking end product, the midfield was all too often absent and defensively, the back five all looked incredibly sluggish. What will frustrate Klopp the most is that his side put in a performance like this at the home of their biggest domestic challengers.
Manager rating (out of 10)
Jurgen Klopp, 5 -- The German can hardly be blamed for the oddly lackadaisical performance by his players. He selected just about the strongest XI at his disposal, though the omission of Naby Keita, who had looked sharp since the restart, was slightly surprising. With that being said, there's very little a manager can do when the side is as off the boil as Liverpool were tonight.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alisson, 4 -- A dreadful match for the Brazilian stopper, who arguably could have done better with two or three of City's goals. A night to forget.
DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 5 -- Struggled on the right side against Sterling. His passing was solid, but with persistent defensive duties, he had very few crossing opportunities.
DF Joe Gomez, 4 -- A nightmare performance from the young defender, who was beaten easily on more than one occasion while also giving away a sloppy penalty for a foul on Sterling.
DF Virgil Van Dijk, 5 -- The best of Liverpool's back five, which really isn't saying much. He did what he could to keep the score down.
DF Andrew Robertson, 5 -- The Scot was all over the place at times, typified by his strange decision to step out of the backline for Phil Foden's goal. For once, his radar was also off going forward.
MF Fabinho, 6 -- Made a handful of great interceptions in the first half and was arguably Liverpool's best performer throughout. Dropped into central defence in the second half.
MF Georginio Wijnaldum, 5 -- Was invisible for large spells. When the Dutchman did manage to get on the ball, all too often his distribution was wayward.
MF Jordan Henderson, 5 -- The skipper was peripherally involved in good phases of play but struggled to stamp his authority on the game. His effort was largely in vain.
FW Mohamed Salah, 6 -- Threatened the City defenders periodically but was unable make the most of some promising situations. Hit the post midway through the first half.
FW Sadio Mane, 5 -- For the first 30 minutes, the Senegalese forward looked like the most dangerous man on the pitch. However, his end product was consistently wasteful, which often undermined the other good work he did.
FW Roberto Firmino, 5 -- Looked off the pace from the first whistle with a few loose touches and wayward shots early on. His pressing was exemplary as ever, but the lack of sharpness in the final third did little to help his cause.
MF Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain, 5 -- Injected some energy into the Liverpool midfield, but his main contribution was converting Sterling's shot into his own net for City's fourth goal.
FW Divock Origi, 5 -- Provided very little late, with his only shot of the game easily blocked.
MF Naby Keita, 6 - Looked bright after replacing Wijnaldum on the hour mark.
DF Neco Williams, 6 -- Tried to get forward at every opportunity but wasn't quite able to work any good opportunities.
MF Takumi Minamino, NR -- On too late to make an impact.