LIVERPOOL (AFP) – Liverpool ended Manchester City’s unbeaten start to the season when Mohamed Salah‘s strike 14 minutes from time kicked off the Reds’ campaign with a 1-0 victory at Anfield on Sunday.
Jurgen Klopp’s men are still 10 points behind Man City and 14 behind Premier League leaders Arsenal, but have maintained their title ambitions with just a third league win of the season.
Klopp was sent off in the closing stages when he lost the plot with the officials for refusing to give Salah a free kick.
But City were also furious with referee Anthony Taylor after disallowing Phil Foden’s strike earlier in the second half following a VAR review.
Despite all their success under Pep Guardiola, City Anfield are yet to master in front of a crowd as Liverpool’s proud unbeaten record in the league at home with fans in attendance from 2017 continues.
Klopp claimed in his pre-match press conference that no one could match the wealth of resources at City’s disposal after adding Erling Haaland to a squad of veteran Premier League winners.
But the Norwegian’s 10-game club streak came to an end on an afternoon when Liverpool hope to see the season opener.
Liverpool have caused more problems for City than anyone else in England in the past five years, belying the form of both sides going into the game to hand the champions their first league defeat since February.
Even in the opening 45 minutes, Haaland remained a major threat and will think he should have opened the scoring before the break.
A lackluster first half was followed by an explosive second period.
Salah should have opened the scoring when he grabbed a through ball from Roberto Firmino and Ederson saved a brilliant save to his right.
Seconds later, the ball was in the Liverpool net as Foden brought the loose ball home after Alisson bravely saved Becker from Haaland’s feet.
However, the goal was ruled out after a VAR check as Haaland fouled Fabinho under construction.
Guardiola was still protesting furiously with officials on the sidelines as the home side missed another big chance to break the deadlock.
Salah’s cross caught Jota at the far post, who headed against the post when it looked easier to score.
Haaland was then disallowed as the game raged from start to finish as his minor effort was fended off by Alisson.
But it was Liverpool’s star shot-stopper who finally found his range.
Salah bent another effort inches wide after spinning Ruben Dias.
But the Egyptian didn’t spare City questions on the third when he passed Joao Cancelo to latch on to Alisson’s long ball and kept his composure to pass Ederson.
Virgil van Dijk’s loss of form was one of the key factors in Liverpool’s slow start to the season.
However, the Dutchman rose to the challenge of stopping Haaland and made a crucial move to ward off Cancelo’s cross from City’s No.9.
Klopp was given his marching orders to face the assistant referee after Salah appeared to have been taken off by Bernardo Silva.
But City also lacked the composure to capitalize on their possession on the pitch as Liverpool persevered.