Premier League
Liverpool1Man City0

Liverpool 1-0 Manchester City

Georginio Wijnaldum
Georginio Wijnaldum scored his second goal for Liverpool

Liverpool maintained their pursuit of Premier League leaders Chelsea as they moved to within six points of the pacesetters with victory over Manchester City at Anfield.

Georginio Wijnaldum's soaring eighth-minute header from Adam Lallana's cross was enough to put Liverpool in second place and put a serious dent in City's own title challenge.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp led the celebrations at the end of a game that was high on energy but sadly lacking in any moments of genuine quality.

City, who laboured throughout, improved in the second half but never seriously threatened Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet and this loss leaves them 10 points adrift of Chelsea.

Klopp gets better of Pep

Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola
Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola were meeting for the first time in England

This was the first Premier League meeting between two huge personalities straight from the top tier of management - and it brought a victory for Jurgen Klopp to cherish at Pep Guardiola's expense.

The head-to-head was locked at 4-4 after their meetings in Germany with Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich. This was a different stage with different prizes on offer - but it was an occasion that was just as charged.

Klopp, in 15 months, has revitalised Liverpool and given hope to supporters longing to end the wait for a first title since 1990. And as they continue their pursuit of relentless Chelsea, belief continues to grow that the charismatic German can still haul in Antonio Conte's side.

Liverpool's manager was, as usual, celebrating with his players after the final whistle before pumping his chest in mock relief in front of Anfield's huge new Main Stand.

And, when City fleetingly threatened a second-half comeback, he turned cheerleader in front of those same fans with a demand to lift the noise levels that was met instantly.

Klopp has become the new Anfield talisman. Under him, the transformation of his team and the mood around the club continues.

Something else that will give Liverpool's fans great heart is the way in which Klopp is getting results against his closest rivals.

Since his appointment in October 2015, Klopp has faced a total of 13 Premier League games against Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham. He has lost only one - a single goal defeat by United last season.

He has also enjoyed a Europa League win over two legs against United, although the balance is redressed slightly by a loss on penalties against Manchester City in last season's Capital One Cup final.

Can Liverpool win the Premier League?

Premier League table

Liverpool - and indeed Manchester City - are having to run to stand still in the Premier League title race, with Chelsea stretching their winning run to 13 games as they beat Stoke City earlier on Saturday.

It meant this was a game both sides needed to win - hence the contrasting emotions of Klopp and Guardiola at the final whistle.

Liverpool are underdogs but six points is still a gap that can be closed and Chelsea have to visit Anfield on 31 January.

Klopp's players have shown strength of character with their response to setbacks earlier this month, when they lost 4-3 at Bournemouth and drew 2-2 at home to West Ham.

They have also shown they can win in different ways. Recent victories over Middlesbrough and Stoke showcased a free-flowing style. At Everton and against City, they toughed it out - and answered questions about a supposedly vulnerable defence. It is evidence that Liverpool must be taken very seriously as title challengers.

Are City's title hopes over?

Sergio Aguero
Sergio Aguero did not manage a single touch of the ball inside Liverpool's penalty area - as this map shows

It is far too early to dismiss a manager of Guardiola's ability - and a team of City's talents - in terms of the Premier League title race. However, the 10-point gap between themselves and Chelsea is starting to look as if it will only be overturned by extraordinary events.

City were too timid for too long here at Anfield. Sergio Aguero - returning after a four-match ban - was starved of service, while Kevin de Bruyne was marginalised and largely snuffed out by Liverpool's intense pressing style.

It was still David Silva who called the shots when they did put some moves together after the break but Yaya Toure could not exert serious influence.

Guardiola's task should at least be put in context. City were a team short on inspiration and spark for much of last season under Manuel Pellegrini. Perhaps it was too much to expect even a manager of Guardiola's pedigree to apply an instant fix.

City should never be ruled out. But on the evidence of this flat performance - and the growing sense that significant renewal of the squad is still needed - dragging back Chelsea may be beyond them for this season.

Man of the match - Georginio Wijnaldum

Georginio Wijnaldum
Georginio Wijnaldum's header was the difference in a game of few clear chances

'I don't care about criticism' - what they said

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Klopp wants to take momentum into new year

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp: "I know everyone talks about our defence. It's not about avoiding goals - that's the end product - it's about how we work together.

"I think we have the smallest number of shots on our goal in the league. Tonight the concentration level was outstanding.

"I don't care about criticism of our defence. You always pick out things that aren't right but that's how goals are."

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola: "It was an equal game. The goal made it difficult against a team who use the counter-attack like a master. The second half was much better.

"We have to wake up for another game. We need to focus and work - we can't think about the big goals."

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Man City better than performance shows - Guardiola

Match of the Day analysis

Former England defender Phil Neville: "It was a poor game. I was so disappointed by how poorly Manchester City passed the ball. They didn't get back into shape quick enough.

"Aleksandar Kolarov should have been winning that header against Georginio Wijnaldum. They were really poor in possession and well off the pace. Full credit to Liverpool, they set up deeper and didn't let City have possession."

Reds rule - the stats

  • Liverpool have won four consecutive league games against Manchester City for the first time since 1981 (when they managed a run of seven).
  • Pep Guardiola has now suffered twice as many league defeats this season (four) as he did in the entire 2015-16 Bundesliga campaign with Bayern Munich (two).
  • Manchester City have kept just four clean sheets in their 19 Premier League games under Guardiola.
  • Liverpool have scored 87 league goals in 2016; their most in a calendar year since 1985 (also 87).
  • Adam Lallana has made seven assists in the Premier League this season (in 17 appearances); his most in a single campaign.
  • Lallana also ends 2016 having been involved in 21 goals in the Premier League (11 goals, 10 assists); no midfielder in the competition has had a hand in more.

What's next?

A swift turnaround. City host Burnley at 15:00 GMT on Monday, while at the same time Liverpool are at struggling Sunderland.

Line-ups

Liverpool

  • 22Mignolet
  • 2Clyne
  • 6Lovren
  • 17KlavanBooked at 7mins
  • 7Milner
  • 5Wijnaldum
  • 14HendersonSubstituted forOrigiat 64'minutes
  • 23CanBooked at 75mins
  • 19ManéSubstituted forLucasat 89'minutes
  • 11Firmino
  • 20Lallana

Substitutes

  • 1Karius
  • 15Sturridge
  • 18Moreno
  • 21Lucas
  • 27Origi
  • 53Ejaria
  • 66Alexander-Arnold

Man City

  • 1Bravo
  • 5ZabaletaSubstituted forJesús Navasat 86'minutes
  • 24Stones
  • 30OtamendiBooked at 90mins
  • 11Kolarov
  • 42Y TouréSubstituted forIheanachoat 89'minutes
  • 25Fernandinho
  • 7Sterling
  • 17De Bruyne
  • 21Silva
  • 10Agüero

Substitutes

  • 3Sagna
  • 6Fernando
  • 13Caballero
  • 15Jesús Navas
  • 22Clichy
  • 72Iheanacho
  • 75García
Referee:
Craig Pawson
Attendance:
53,120

Match Stats

Home TeamLiverpoolAway TeamMan City
Possession
Home43%
Away57%
Shots
Home5
Away9
Shots on Target
Home1
Away2
Corners
Home4
Away6
Fouls
Home12
Away12

Live Text

Match ends, Liverpool 1, Manchester City 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Liverpool 1, Manchester City 0.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match (Manchester City).

Foul by Sergio Agüero (Manchester City).

Dejan Lovren (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Jesús Navas.

Booking

Nicolás Otamendi (Manchester City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Nicolás Otamendi (Manchester City).

Divock Origi (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Substitution

Substitution, Liverpool. Lucas Leiva replaces Sadio Mané.

Substitution

Substitution, Manchester City. Kelechi Iheanacho replaces Yaya Touré.

Foul by Fernandinho (Manchester City).

Sadio Mané (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Manchester City. Jesús Navas replaces Pablo Zabaleta.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Aleksandar Kolarov.

Attempt blocked. Divock Origi (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Roberto Firmino.

Foul by Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City).

James Milner (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by James Milner.

Foul by Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City).

Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Emre Can.

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Dejan Lovren.

Booking

Emre Can (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Emre Can (Liverpool).

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Nathaniel Clyne.

Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Adam Lallana (Liverpool).

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by John Stones.

David Silva (Manchester City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Emre Can (Liverpool).

Sergio Agüero (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Adam Lallana (Liverpool).

Substitution

Substitution, Liverpool. Divock Origi replaces Jordan Henderson because of an injury.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) because of an injury.

Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Dejan Lovren (Liverpool).

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Chelsea1916122949
2Liverpool1913422543
3Man City1912341839
4Arsenal1811432037
5Tottenham1810622036
6Man Utd1910631036
7Everton19766227
8West Brom19757226
9Southampton19667-324
10Bournemouth19739-524
11Burnley197210-823
12Watford18648-822
13West Ham19649-1022
14Stoke19568-1021
15Leicester19559-720
16Middlesbrough19469-518
17Crystal Palace184410-416
18Sunderland194213-1814
19Hull193412-2513
20Swansea193313-2312
View full Premier League table

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