I got to admit I’m still stunned. As I write this it’s 9pm almost 7 hours after the game finished. I’ve been walking around in a daze ever since City went 3 up. I barely watched the last half hour. I couldn’t take it. Fair play to City. They took full advantage of what transpired in front of them but come on……5-0??? For all us LFC fans this hurt! More because of the fact of what might have been.
Let’s be honest the whole game changed on the Sadio Mane sending off. Until that moment it was an even game. If anything the Reds had slightly the better of it. We were constantly getting in behind City and for me, it was a matter of time before we scored.
Yes City were ahead at the moment of the red card but I was still confident. It wasn’t as if I expected us to keep a clean sheet against City. I fully expected both teams to score. I was of the impression coming in to the game that if City scored 3, we would score 4.
Mo Salah killed me. Great player but he is so wasteful. He could have had a hat-trick in every game so far this season. This game followed the same trend. Two great chances in the first half. Just a little bit more composure from him and we would have had a completely different game. Mane looked dangerous every time he touched the ball.
The City opener was just too easy. We gave Kevin de Bruyne far too much time to thread his through ball to Sergio Aguero who got behind our static backline to finish in trademark style. Then came the moment that basically finished the game as a spectacle.
Sadio Mane gets in behind the City rearguard yet again and tries to get to the ball ahead of the on-rushing City keeper, Edinson. They both go in wholeheartedly. Mane raises his feet and Edinson lowers his head. There’s a collision. They both hit the ground. At first I’m thinking it’s a foul by the keeper. That’s a goalscoring opportunity. Edinson might go here I thought.
Then I can see that Edinson is actually injured and all the City players start complaining to the ref about Mane. Even at that point I’m still not sure who’s getting the free-kick. Then the referee, Jon Moss does the unthinkable and pulls out the red and Mane, our most important player, is off!
I’d be willing to wager that you could probably count the amount of people inside the ground who agreed with Moss’s decision on one hand. Mane had eyes only on the ball. Edinson’s head was lowered. There was no malice. Yes Mane does connect with Edinson’s head but this was a yellow card at best. Was it dangerous play? It looked more dangerous than it actually was. Common sense should have prevailed but again we have a referee who lacked that virtue. It’s a real shame. The game was shaping up to be a corker.
I felt so sorry for Mane. The type of guy he appears to be means he will take this personally. He will blame himself for this result but he shouldn’t. He did nothing wrong. A split second earlier and he wins that ball and gets us the equaliser. It’s a game of inches as they say.
Having said all of that, we showed absolutely no bottle and no heart after going down to 10 men. City are a quality outfit and you have to hand it to them for slicing us apart at will but seriously we showed nothing in the second half. Ragnar Klavan had a nightmare at the back. There’s a stat that shows that our midfield of Henderson, Can and Wijnaldum had one tackle between them for the whole game. Unacceptable.
The ironic thing is that we’ve lost 5-0 and while I am in a state of utter disbelief at the score line, I’m still encouraged and excited about what this squad can achieve. This result was a freak. CIty are not 5 goals better than us. I don’t even see them as better than us full stop. What they did show was a ruthlessness when we were down to 10 men that was just too much to handle.
I’m just frustrated. This game could and should have been so different. It’s a blot on our record but we’ll bounce back. It’s only the fourth game of the season. We’ll learn from this. Sevilla next in the Champions League on Wednesday. A big game in its own right just became even bigger. We owe Seville after their victory over us in the Europa Cup Final a couple of years ago.
Tomorrow is a new day. I’m going to try not to think about what’s just happened and I’m just just going to look forward. Just hope my beloved Reds learn from this. Roll on Wednesday!