Manchester City 1-4 Liverpool: Coutinho, Firmino lead Klopp’s Etihad romp

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Jurgen Klopp‘s brilliant Brazilian pair of Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho made sure their manager stayed unbeaten against Manchester City in Liverpool’s 4-1 thumping of the home side at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Both Firmino and Coutinho scored, with Martin Skrtel complementing Eliaquim Mangala‘s own goal with a late volley. Sergio Aguero scored City’s lone goal.

City is in third place, two points back of league-leading Leicester, while Liverpool rises into ninth, level on points with No. 7 Everton and No. 8 Southampton.

Klopp didn’t start a single true striker, with Coutinho and Firmino playing the role for Liverpool. His Borussia Dortmund side won and drew against City in the 2012-13 UEFA Champions League.

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The first half saw Manchester City concede thrice in one half for the first time since 2011. It’s only happened twice in the history of the Etihad Stadium, the first coming in 2003 against Arsenal.

Liverpool opened the scoring as the clock struck 7, thanks to a sizable error from sizable Manchester City back Mangala.

After Coutinho slipped a ball through to Firmino, the latter cut the ball back towards the penalty spot. Mangala’s attempted corner clearance instead was passed behind Joe Hart and the Reds were up 1-0 at the Etihad.

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The lead became two thanks to pure brilliance from Firmino and a dash of offside — razor-thin — by Coutinho. Firmino carried the ball toward the 18 before cutting a gorgeous ball through for his Brazilian partner-in-crime to slot past Hart.

And lively Liverpool more or less buried City in the 33rd minute, when James Milner carried the ball up the right flank to begin a play that finished with Emre Can backheeling through to Coutinho, who found Firmino for the 3-0 lead.

Aguero scored an absolute beauty to make it 3-1 before halftime, dribbling across the heart of the Reds’ half to curl a right-footed shot over and around a helpless Simon Mignolet.

At halftime, Manuel Pellegrini swapped Yaya Toure and Jesus Navas for Fernandinho and Fabian Delph, but little changed for the home side.

Substitute Christian Benteke, not a man of great speed, still nearly bumbled his way to a goal on a breakaway, but Joe Hart stymied his shot.

Skrtel made up for the miss less than a minute later, belting a side-volley past Hart from inside the 18. It was clearly a day for the Anfield set.

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