Lovren 3/10, Salah 5/10 as Liverpool fail to pad lead over Manchester City
MANCHESTER, England -- Liverpool suffered their first defeat of the Premier League season as they were beaten 2-1 by Manchester City in a pulsating encounter at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday night.
Leroy Sane scored the winning goal in the 72nd minute after Roberto Firmino cancelled out Sergio Aguero's opening goal. The win sees City close the gap between them and league leaders Liverpool to just four points.
Liverpool still sit top of the table and have an advantage. There's no shame in falling to defeat against the reigning champions. Liverpool had three chances cleared off the line -- one of which was a matter of millimetres from going in. Had any of those moments gone differently, Liverpool's flawless record could perhaps still stand. Jurgen Klopp's side continue to go toe-to-toe with City, who were holding on in the closing moments.
There's still plenty of life left in this title race and this win will give City and Tottenham Hotspur a boost in their chase. The onus is now on Liverpool to respond. Meanwhile, Dejan Lovren's performance will take Liverpool fans back to the beginning of his Anfield career and have them counting down the days until Joe Gomez's return.
Manager rating out of 10
5 -- Klopp reverted to the setup and lineup he knows best -- a 4-3-3, with plenty of engines in midfield. Liverpool were particularly threatening on the counter-attack, but were swarmed for large spells. He changed systems midway through the second half, opting for 4-2-3-1. There was a short-term impact, although City soon regained control.
Player ratings: (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alisson, 7
The first time he's conceded twice in the Premier League as a Liverpool player, but not much he could've done to stop either of the goals. Prevented a third from going in with good stops to deny Aguero and Bernardo Silva.
DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 7
City targeted Alexander-Arnold on the right-hand side -- and it's not for the first time. Dealing with the pacy Leroy Sane, Alexander-Arnold had held his own right until the winger got the better of him for the winning goal.
DF Dejan Lovren, 3
Not alert enough to Aguero's movement and was punished emphatically with the opener. An early booking for cynically bringing down Aguero didn't exactly help him -- one of a number of rash decisions he made.
DF Virgil van Dijk, 7
Regularly bailed Liverpool out with crucial interventions when City threatened. A fine display against the team that thought he was too expensive at £75 million.
DF Andrew Robertson, 6
There were wild rumours in the hours building up to the game that he would miss out because his partner was in labour. But Robertson was very much present and effective here. Having numbed Raheem Sterling's impact as best he could, Robertson delivered the pullback for Firmino's equaliser.
MF Jordan Henderson, 6
Busy and energetic as you would expect. Not much other than that really.
MF Georginio Wijnaldum, 6
Started well in central midfield before being shifted out to left because of the change in formation. A decent, if not eye-catching, performance.
MF James Milner, 6
It's a testament to the 32-year-old's fitness and application that he can be dropped in to a game this frantic after a two-match absence. However, he was taken off after 57 minutes as Klopp sought more spark.
FW Mohamed Salah, 5
The Egyptian had a very quiet game. Starved of real clear-cut chances throughout, he was denied brilliantly by Ederson late on.
FW Roberto Firmino, 6
Not involved as much as he was against Arsenal, but in place at the right moment to pull Liverpool level. Used as a false nine to start with before dropping deeper in the second half. A different role each game isn't really allowing him to build up much rhythm.
FW Sadio Mane, 7
Couldn't put the finishing touches on one of the moves of the season, striking the post 18th minute. Definitely Liverpool's biggest threat on the night.
MF Fabinho (57), 6
Came on during a period where Liverpool were really struggling and initially helped settle them down. However, he couldn't stem the City tide when the game got stretched.
FW Xherdan Shaqiri (77), N/R
Not the easiest of games to be brought on in and had very little impact.
FW Daniel Sturridge (85), N/R
Not much use when the ball is getting pumped into the box.