Man City put in a dominant display in the first half against Liverpool but soon fell behind to the hosts, who came out improved after the break, with the teams eventually settling for a point apiece
Former Liverpool hero Steve Nicol has criticised his old club’s “clueless” performance against Manchester City and feels they were “lucky to get a point”.
The Reds twice led Sunday’s contest at Anfield after goals from Sadio Mane, then Mohamed Salah, put them ahead.
But Man City found a reply to each, with Phil Foden first levelling before Kevin De Bruyne later earned a share of the spoils.
It was a thrilling match between two of the Premier League’s title chasers, but Liverpool were perhaps fortunate to go in at half-time with the score still goalless.
Jurgen Klopp admitted his side were effectively bystanders in the opening 45 minutes – a motion carried by Nicol, who says Liverpool were “outplayed” by their rivals.
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Reflecting on the match, Nicol told ESPN : “For a neutral, fantastic, just two teams getting after it. No interest particularly in sitting tight, it was all about getting forward.
“I guess at the end of the day,. 2-2, some might say it was a fair result, but from my own point of view, personally, I thought Liverpool were lucky to get a point. They got outplayed.”
When it was put to him that Liverpool were much improved in the second half, Nicol replied: “Well how much better would they have had to be to be better than they were in the first half? They were pretty clueless.
“When Liverpool are at their best they’re closing the ball down early, teams can’t get out, putting pressure on them. After what, about eight minutes? That disappeared and Manchester City just played their way through Liverpool.
“It’s only the fact that City didn’t take the couple of opportunities that they had: Foden – when Alisson came out and smothered him, a header as well from De Bruyne. On the other end: nothing from Liverpool.
“So yes, completely outplayed first half but I thought City were still the better footballing team in the second half.”
Nicol’s view is one which Reds’ boss Klopp would partially agree with after conceding he was happy to settle for a point after his side’s disappointing first half display.
“Thank God that there were two halves today because the first half was obviously exactly like you shouldn’t do it against City and the second half was exactly like you should do it against City,” he said, via Liverpoolfc.com.
“Four goals obviously happened in the second half but in the first half I can’t remember a chance from us, if I’m right. So I was really happy about the half-time whistle so that we could adjust a few things.
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“And actually we didn’t change anything, we just told the boys again what we actually wanted to or should have said already in the first half. Things like this happen against a team like City with the dominance they can put on the pitch.
He continued: “Our biggest problem in the first half was we didn’t play football, that doesn’t help.
“So we needed to start playing football in the second half, we did that immediately.
“I think that was obvious for everybody; all of a sudden City had to run a lot, had to defend, completely different to the first half because we now played really good.
“If we would have played only the second half, I actually would have liked to win the game. But together with the first half I am not that cheeky, I think the point is fine.”