The Premier League's ninety-two remaining games, spread across nine rounds of games are set to play out beginning June 17th 2020, with Project Restart's health and safety conditions meaning the remaining games of the season will be played out behind closed doors. We will be providing match reports from these behind closed doors competitive encounters as the league campaign nears its end-game. All aboard.
Match Report (GW32): Man City 4-0 Liverpool
Perhaps the most interesting part of this match was watching Man City give Liverpool a guard on honour on their own patch, though in truth it wasn't very sporting to see City leave before all the Liverpool players had past them - a clear sign that Pep Guardiola's side didn't want to show The Reds any respect, a story that would prove true by the end of the first-half.
Just 4 minutes into the encounter, Liverpool flexed their title winning muscles as Virgil van Dijk floated a ball for Mohamed Salah to chest, before he fired a shot directly at Ederson who was of his line. The rebound fell to Firmino who robbed the ball from Mendy after he couldn't control the ball, but the follow up effort from the Brazilian attacker didn't have any power to test his national compatriot.
Fireworks outside the Etihad before the 10 minute mark distracted the occasion, before Liverpool went close on 19 minutes when Roberto Firmino played in Salah, with the Egyptian taking the ball onto his left-foot before his low shot hit the post to Ederson's left.
After a few good chances for Liverpool the game turned on its head after 24 minutes when Man City were awarded a penalty after Joe Gomez wouldn't was holding Raheem Sterling in the penalty area for a long time with the City winger eventually winning the spot-kick. Kevin De Bruyne stepped up and buried the dead ball into the bottom right corner and away from Alisson for the opening goal of the evening.
Sterling was then sure to avenge the fact that he had to give Joe Gomez a guard of honour when City collected a loose pass in midfield, with Gabriel Jesus freeing Phil Foden, who drove towards the edge of the box before feeding Sterling, who cut in on his right and calmly slotted into the back of the net to double City's lead. Both goals so far have been Sterling getting the better of Gomez.
The game went from bad to worse for the new Premier League champions when City played well between their midfield in a diamond, with Foden eventually playing a one-two with De Bruyne before floating his shot over Alisson to treble City's lead.
Within 5 minutes of the second-half, City cut Liverpool open twice on the counter-attack, first when Alexander-Arnold threw the ball straight to Jesus in an advanced area, with the Forward's shot saved comfortably by Alisson. Moments later Raheem Sterling drove from the half-way line before unleashing a left-footed shot that was deflected for a corner. Virgil van Dijk then had to clear off the line in the same attack.
54 minutes on the clock a golden opportunity came for Liverpool when Jordan Henderson passed between Garcia and Laporte. Mane was in but his footwork wasn't up to par as the Senegal international missed the ball completely much to the relief of Ederson. Jut 3 minutes later Mane was through again, with Kyle Walker putting an elbow in Mane's back when one-on-one. Alexander-Arnold's free-kick was deflected for a corner and no threat to City's goal.
The night went from bad to worse for Jurgen Klopp as City were ruthless on the counter yet again when De Bruyne played in Sterling on the right who was in acres of space. Cutting in on his left-foot the Englishman's shot was going wide, but was turned into his own net by an unfortunate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
After a second-half of half-chances, the final moment of the game could have sealed a 5-0 win when Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden cut Liverpool open with a one-two, with Mahrez jinxing through Liverpool's defenders before smashing home past Alisson at his near-post. That would end a fantastic evening for City on a night that highlighted why it's never good to be off your guard in the Premier League.
Man of the Match: Kevin De Bruyne (MCI)
It took Man City half an hour to get going, but once they did the engine room of Kevin De Bruyne completely destroyed the new league champions on the counter. Instrumental in virtually every goal, KDB carved a scattered Liverpool midfield open time and again, with the Reds stretched time and again. What made De Bruyne's life easy was off the ball running by Sterling and Foden, which freed a spare man on the far side every time to be the recipient of De Bruyne's cut-throat passing ability.
MCI 4-0 LIV - Insight and Analysis:
I sat next to a rabid Liverpool fan in Sam Austin (@HypeTrainSam) who was cursing how sloppy Liverpool were in midfield. A combination of looking leggy and lacking concentration fed the enthusiasm of De Bruyne, Sterling and Foden - City's pace setters, as the home side cruised to a win.
It's been alien watching Liverpool go 5 away games without a goal away from home, so there were signs from a long way off that The Reds haven't been their fluid best outside of Anfield. Klopp should be thankful that his side have a giant lead, otherwise the pressure would be on as City don't typically lose games at the end of the season.
Pep's side purred all evening and they deserve a lot of plaudits for punishing Liverpool's every mistake. The right word to explain the score-line is clinical. City scored with their first 3 shots of the game and it pulled the rug out from Klopp's plan, with the German lacking answers to really change the proceedings.
Overall, this was a memorable match for more than one reason and will stick out in the memory for a long time so was at least worth the time to stick around for, especially most of the Project Restart games have been void of much (if any) life.
Venue: Etihad Stadium
Manager: Pep Guardiola
DEF: K. Walker (Cancelo 73')
DEF: E. Garcia
DEF: A. Laporte (Otamendi 79')
DEF: B. Mendy
MID: I. Gundogan
MID: K. De Bruyne
FOR: P. Foden
FOR: R. Sterling (B. Silva 79')
FOR: G. Jesus (Mahrez '58)
Bravo, Stones, Zinchenko, Bernardo, D.Silva, Mahrez, Cancelo, Otamendi, Doyle
Manager: Jurgen Klopp
GK: A. Becker
DEF: T. Alexander-Arnold (Williams 76')
DEF: J. Gomez (Oxlade-Chamberlain 45')
DEF: V. van Dijk
DEF: A. Robertson
MID: G. Wijnaldum (Keita 62')
MID: J. Henderson
FOR: M. Salah
FOR: S. Mane (Minamino 85')
FOR: R. Firmino (Origi 62')
Adrian, Milner, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Minamino, Origi, Jones, Elliott, Williams
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The Hype Train is an entertainment website founded in 2015, specialising in Fantasy sports reporting, starting with Fantasy Premier League (FPL), before expanding to MLS Fantasy coverage in 2018.
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