Tue | Jun 19, 2018

City's unbeaten run ends at Anfield

Published:Monday | January 15, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino and Manchester City’s Kyle Walker (right) vie for the ball during their English Premier League match at Anfield Stadium in Liverpool, England, yesterday.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola
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LIVERPOOL, England (AP):

Manchester City's quest to be the latest 'Invincibles' of English football ended, thanks to nine minutes of mayhem yesterday.

Hounded and harassed by Liverpool's high press inside a raucous Anfield, City fell apart through a series of defensive mistakes and went from being level at 1-1 after 59 minutes to trailing 4-1 in the 68th minute.

City defender Kyle Walker rubbed his face in disbelief. Pep Guardiola, City's manager, looked at the ground in shock.

City recovered admirably to lose 4-3, but its five-month, 22-match unbeaten start to the league is over. Arsenal's undefeated English Premier League season in 2003-04 won't be emulated for at least another year. Preston was the other team to go through a top-flight season unbeaten, in 1888-89.

"We lost a little bit of our control," Guardiola said of the atmosphere. "We were involved in the environment of Anfield for many, many reasons."

This was seen as the toughest test in City's final 16 games of the season the team has not won at Anfield since 2003 and so it proved. Liverpool was without the departed Philippe Coutinho and injured new signing Virgil van Dijk, but showed once again that there is no more dangerous team in matches between members of England's 'Big 6'.

Liverpool's effervescent front three Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah all scored, as did the man who might replace Coutinho in its so-called 'Fab 4' attack, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

The win moved Liverpool level on points with Chelsea and second-place Manchester United, with all three teams 15 points behind City. United can reduce the gap to 12 points by beating Stoke today.

Arsenal's class of 2003-04 remains in a league of its own but, 14 years on, the north London team is in disarray.

Arsene Wenger's team lost 2-1 at Bournemouth, on the day the departure of Alexis Sanchez looked closer, with Arsenal dropping the forward for the trip to the south coast. Wenger later said Sanchez's future would be sorted "in the next 48 hours" as City and United vie for his services.

Arsenal is in sixth place, eight points off the Champions League qualification positions.

 

AILING ARSENAL

 

With Sanchez dropped and both Mesut Ozil and Laurent Koscielny injured, Arsenal's line-up looked a shadow of the past teams under Wenger and was possibly one of its weakest in recent memory.

It could not handle the fightback from Bournemouth, which started when Callum Wilson equalised in the 70th minute from a cross that Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech raced from his line in an attempt to block. Wilson then set up Jordon Ibe for the winner in the 74th minute.

Hector Bellerin opened the scoring in the 52nd for Arsenal, which is in sixth place and has dropped eight points off the Champions League qualification positions.

"We were 1-0 up and suddenly we lost two goals, and we don't know where they came from," Wenger said.