The gloriously chaotic affair that was Liverpool v Manchester City | Football


You’d have got extremely short odds on touchline micro-management’s Pep Guardiola spending an uninterrupted 20 minutes sitting in thoughtful repose in the visitors’ dug-out at Anfield on Sunday, but he did exactly that before the game kicked off. As he surveyed Liverpool’s stadium, a towering edifice that seems to occupy a peculiar rent-free space in his head, The Fiver imagines he was envisaging potential scenarios that might unfold once the game began. When it ended and his intricate gameplan had been ruthlessly exposed by an agricultural late-80s-era Wimbledon long ball up the centre from Allison Beasant to Mo Fashanu, he laid the blame for his side’s defeat squarely at the Shankly Gates of his concrete nemesis.

“This is Anfield,” he told one reporter after another, as if to suggest there are some malign forces at work that have prevented his Manchester City side from winning on seven of the eight occasions they have played there. It’s also worth noting that while the stadium they played in on the one occasion they did win was also undeniably Anfield, it was a desolate, bleak, empty, mid-lockdown Anfield which – let’s face it – is no Anfield at all.

Strip away all the toxic grimness – Hillsborough chants and graffiti in the away concourse, thrown coins and reported acts of post-match vandalism on the City team bus, all of which hopefully won’t go unpunished – and this game was the kind of gloriously chaotic affair which could have gone either way but ultimately went Liverpool’s because This Is Anfield, where goals scored by visitors get unfairly and routinely ruled out on the grounds of such pedantic nitpickery as – Fiver checks notes – multiple clear fouls in the build-up because somebody staring at a telly 213 miles away has been influenced by the crowd.

And now, according to the Times, it has emerged that City “sources” claim Jürgen Klopp “raised tensions” by making the fairly banal and uncontroversial observation that state-owned teams such as Manchester City don’t have to worry about balancing the books and therefore have way more money to spend than their rivals. Klopp’s comments were mild compared to his antics on Sunday, when he went out of his way to raise tensions by snarling angrily in assistant referee Gary Beswick’s coupon. It was an act of aggression that earned him a thoroughly deserved red card from which not even the inherent Anfieldness of his surroundings could save him.


“I was asked about it in the press conference afterwards but I wasn’t aware of it, then I was notified about what happened. It wasn’t a good thing from the club and it wasn’t helpful. But it’s been dealt with” – Forest boss Steve Cooper goes in two-footed on his own club’s social media bods who posted a tweet that was shared on the Wolves team’s WhatsApp group like the digital equivalent of inflammatory quotes being taped to the dressing room wall. Of course Wolves won 1-0. Cue the ‘Notts’-related response.

The latest Football Weekly podcast is up and available for your aural pleasure. And there’s a Human Rights World Cup live pod in London on 17 November. Tickets for attending or streaming are available now.


“The Erling Haaland/Terminator comparison (Friday’s Fiver) is apposite, but I always thought he’d make a great 1980s Bond henchman in the vein of Jaws or Oddjob. Which begs the obvious question: which Premier League player would be best suited to play 007 himself?” – Tom Dowler.

“Re: your rankings of MLS clubs ‘who are going for the title in the USA! USA!! USA!!!’ (Friday’s Still Want More?). The last time I looked east from Vancouver where I live, Montreal was still in Canada” – Rick Costigan.

Send your letters to And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’ the day is … Tom Dowler.

Source link