Outplayed and outclassed in a one-sided second half, Liverpool’s defeat, more than anything, demonstrated the importance of squad recruitment. Insufficient energy and frankly, insufficient quality, from a team that looks bereft of belief, led to a margin in the score line, that if anything, underplayed just how dominant City where in a second half, in which they ran out 4-1 winners.
Mo Salah, who else, had given Klopp’s men hope, with a top-class finish, early in the first half. One nil up, and a better-struck pass from the Egyptian away from maybe a two-goal lead, was as good as it got. The City equaliser, just moments after Salah failed to find Jota with a square pass, shifted the momentum. Half-time though, arrived with the teams all square.
If the first 45 minutes offered both hope and a throwback to previous seasons when both teams vied for the title, the second half was a reminder just how far Liverpool have fallen this season. From City’s second, barely a minute into the second period, to the final whistle, Liverpool never laid a glove on the champions. City toyed with the men in red; teasing, probing, and passing them into submission. The gulf, whilst never reaching levels of embarrassment that Liverpool recently inflicted on City’s near neighbours, was massive.
The defeat was no doubt expected by most fans, but on recent showings, the top four looks a mile away. Consecutive away league losses, with a trip to Stamford Bridge up next, don’t bode well. Some players no longer look good enough, whilst many simply lack intensity and belief. The big and necessary changes will come too late to rescue a wretched campaign, whilst a failure to qualify for Champions League football, will make it harder than ever to compete next season.