Champions League * quarterfils * first leg
Liverpool, April 5: English football giants Liverpool defeated Manchester City 3-0 in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfil tie here, leaving the Reds poised to return to Europe’s fil four for the first time in a decade.
Despite the hosts’ superior European pedigree – five titles to the Citizens’ one – Liverpool were seen as slight underdogs, even though Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp’s six career victories over City boss Pep Guardiola make the German unique among his peers, reports Efe.
In fact, Man City’s only English Premier League (EPL) loss this season came at the hands of Klopp’s team.
And while City have already added the 2018 EPL Cup to the trophy case at the Etihad and could seal the EPL title as early as this weekend’s Manchester derby, Guardiola and his men have their sights set on reaching the Champions League semifils.
The party got under way at Anfield just 12 minutes into Wednesday’s match, when Mo Salah scored his 38th club goal of the season to put the Reds up 1-0.
The goal came on a counter led by Roberto Firmino. While City keeper Ederson made the initial stop against his Brazilian countryman, Salah pounced on the loose ball before the defenders could react.
Eight minutes later, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain exploited another City defensive lapse to blast the ball just inside Ederson’s right post and make it 2-0. Sadio Mane got the third goal in the 31st minute, heading into an open net after a perfect cross from Salah.
City were much improved after the break, largely thanks to some tactical adjustments by Guardiola.
The visitors kept the Reds pinned in their own half and the home side suffered a setback when Salah left the field injured in the 52nd minute.
But Liverpool, notorious for blowing leads, maged to contain the potent City defense to preserve the clean sheet, making a second-leg comeback more difficult for Guardiola’s squad. IANS