Ex-Liverpool man claims ‘clueless’ Reds were ‘outplayed’ by City

Joe Williams
Jack Grealish drives at the Liverpool defence

Liverpool looked “clueless” in the first half of their 2-2 draw against Manchester City, according to former Reds right-back Steve Nicol.

After Phil Foden cancelled out Sadio Mane’s opener, Mo Salah had given the Reds a 2-1 lead with only 14 minutes left on the clock – but Kevin de Bruyne still had time to equalise late on.

The draw means Liverpool are second, one point behind leaders Chelsea, while the Citizens are a further point adrift in third place.

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Liverpool were second best in the first half and their former defender Nicol claimed they were “outplayed” by Pep Guardiola’s side.

Nicol said on ESPN: “For a neutral, fantastic, just two teams getting after it. No interest particularly in sitting tight, it was all about getting forward.

“I guess at the end of the day,. 2-2, some might say it was a fair result, but from my own point of view, personally, I thought Liverpool were lucky to get a point. They got outplayed.”

When the presenter insisted Liverpool had improved in the second half, Nicol replied: “Well how much better would they have had to be to be better than they were in the first half? They were pretty clueless.

“When Liverpool are at their best they’re closing the ball down early, teams can’t get out, putting pressure on them. After what, about eight minutes? That disappeared and Manchester City just played their way through Liverpool.

“It’s only the fact that City didn’t take the couple of opportunities that they had: Foden – when Alisson came out and smothered him, a header as well from De Bruyne. On the other end: nothing from Liverpool.

“So yes, completely outplayed first half but I thought City were still the better footballing team in the second half.”

Speaking to the official Liverpool website, Jurgen Klopp admitted that his side played into City’s hands in the first half, he said: “Quite an exciting game, with two obviously completely different halves.

“Thank God that there were two halves today because the first half was obviously exactly like you shouldn’t do it against City and the second half was exactly like you should do it against City.

“Four goals obviously happened in the second half but in the first half I can’t remember a chance from us, if I’m right. So I was really happy about the half-time whistle so that we could adjust a few things.

“And actually we didn’t change anything, we just told the boys again what we actually wanted to or should have said already in the first half. Things like this happen against a team like City with the dominance they can put on the pitch.

“When you are then a little bit passive without the ball, when they pass through your lines, you never can really get in the challenges.”