Liverpool suffered their biggest margin of defeat under Klopp with a humiliating 5-0 loss at the Etihad yesterday, with the entire dynamic of the game being changed after a controversial red card for Sadio Mane.
The Reds started the game brightly and were unlucky to be behind after Sergio Aguero’s cool finish but as soon as Mane received a much debated red card for his dangerous challenge on Ederson, there is no denying that Liverpool lost any momentum they were garnering and what then followed was a horrible defensive display and an apparent lack of commitment.
Gabriel Jesus got City’s second just before the break with an emphatic header, while he doubled his tally at about the 50th minute mark. Things got even worse for Liverpool with Leroy Sane adding two goals of his own to complete the rout and ensuring the Reds suffered their worst result against City since 1937.
Although there are no excuses for the manner of the defeat, this only seems a one off and Wednesday’s return to the Champions League should hopefully be a happier occasion.
Simon Mignolet: 6 (out of 10) (Man of the Match)
When your goalkeeper concedes 5 yet was still your best player, you know it probably wasn’t the best day at the office.
The scoreline could have been much worse if it wasn’t for Mignolet, with the Belgian making some decent saves from distance to deny De Bruyne and Fernandinho, while he also made a good close range save from Stones which the City defender really should have scored.
He could do very little about any of the goals and was repeatedly let down by the incompetence of the defence, which City took full advantage of.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 3.5
It’s easy to feel sorry for the young right-back, but he just wasn’t good at all yesterday and was constantly troubled by De Bruyne throughout the game.
He was more reckless than usual and rushed into challenges much too quickly, including a poor foul on De Bruyne early on which resulted in a booking.
He switched off on nearly all of the goals and looked out of his depth for the most part. It’s imperative he picks himself up as he’s sure to have better days.
Joel Matip: 4.5
Although he occasionally put in a few good interceptions and tackles, he left way too many gaps which City were able to exploit with ease.
He was guilty of switching off far too frequently and was very lucky to have his blushes spared by Mignolet after he questionably diverted a cross towards the goal.
This is definitely a game Matip will want to forget in a hurry.
Ragnar Klavan: 3
It was surprising to see the Estonian start over Lovren and he failed to justify Klopp’s decision at all.
He made a number of careless errors and his lack of pace was taken advantage of by Aguero and Jesus far too often, while he even looked nervous on the ball when playing out from the back.
The fact that Klavan is starting only four games into the season is a worrying situation for Liverpool and the failure to secure another centre-back could be extremely costly.
Alberto Moreno: 5.5
Moreno was marginally the best of the back four and (for once) none of the blame can really be placed on him for any of the goals.
Despite making no impact in the second half, he pushed down the left in the first 20 minutes and looked promising going forward. Even though he kept Walker quiet for most of the game, he should still have tried to take advantage of the City man’s shaky defensive abilities and attacked a bit more.
Jordan Henderson: 4
He may have won the ball back a few times and did put in a delightful cross for Firmino near the beginning of the game but generally the skipper was very disappointing at the Etihad.
He was out of position far too often and was guilty of playing an inaccurate long ball that resulted in City’s third goal. He should have really been better placed for the opener as well.
Although the circumstances made it very difficult, the captain lacked the required leadership — particularly in the second half.
Gini Wijnaldum: 3
After his excellent performance against Arsenal, any hope of a potential resurgence for Wijnaldum were completely squandered as he put in an abysmal display against City.
He’s often criticised for going invisible during games but he was noticeable here for all the wrong reasons. He was easily dispossessed by Fernandinho for the first goal, while he followed this up with poor passing and a failure to contribute in either attack or defence.
He was substituted by Klopp in the second half and will be hoping for a much better game against Sevilla, which is thankfully at home. His place in the starting line-up could be in jeopardy.
Emre Can: 4.5
Can regularly gets let off far too easily by Liverpool fans but there was no disguising the fact that he was way below par against City.
Although he looked okay in the first half when playing in midfield, he struggled in the second half after moving to the back three and was just as responsible as Matip and Klavan for leaving gaps in the defence and allowing City to take advantage.
With the lack of depth in defence, Can may need to get used to playing at centre back this season.
Mohamed Salah: 4.5
This was a very frustrating game for Salah as while he gets himself in the perfect positions, his finishing was atrocious.
He easily outclassed and outpaced Otamendi but still couldn’t find the back of the net in what was arguably Liverpool’s best chance.
It was surprising to see him subbed off at half time but hopefully he’ll be fresh for the huge game on Wednesday.
Roberto Firmino: 5
Firmino worked hard throughout the game but failed to provide the attacking threat we know he’s capable of.
He should have done much better from Henderson’s cross in the first half and was a lonely figure after Mane’s sending off.
The game was out of sight after he got subbed off and he’ll need to be ready for Sevilla.
Sadio Mane: 5.5
Mane was by far Liverpool’s most dangerous player in the first 30 minutes and had Benjamin Mendy struggling, while his pass to put through Salah was excellent.
His sending off completely changed the game and although his foot was dangerously high, he still only had eyes for the ball and it would have been fair to question his commitment if he failed to go for that ball.
His red card is unlikely to be rescinded and he will be undoubtedly be a big miss in the next few games.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 5
This was far from the best situation for Oxlade-Chamberlain to make his debut and he didn’t really make much of an impact at all in the second half.
He played a nice ball through to Firmino after coming on but was guilty of some sloppy play at times.
He shouldn’t really be judged on this performance with the game long gone and Liverpool fans will be hoping he’ll still come good under Klopp.
James Milner: 4.5
Milner was thoroughly jeered by the City fans after coming on and couldn’t do anything to influence the result.
He didn’t offer anything different in the middle of the park and played a ball straight out of play as soon as he came on.
Dominic Solanke: 5
It was good for Solanke to get around half an hour and this kind of environment will likely be beneficial experience for him.
He showed a few moments of class and pressured the defence well but appeared to be struggling when playing as the lone striker.
Jurgen Klopp: 4
Klopp’s decision to change Lovren for Klavan was bizarre and despite claiming that Lovren was ‘feeling the intensity’ after his international duty, it’s worrying that the Croatian needed a rest merely four games into the season and even more worrying that Klavan was the alternative.
There seemed an evident lack of communication amongst the back four and even before the sending off they didn’t looked comfortable, which Klopp needs to take some of the blame for.
It’s commendable that Klopp still tried to get something from the game after the sending off as opposed to sitting off and accepting defeat, but Guardiola outsmarted him tactically to make sure the Reds left Manchester suffering a humiliation.
Klopp’s record against the top six is generally very good and this appears to be a one off — especially when taking the result into context. I’m sure the Reds will be raring to go on their return to the Champions League.