Belfast Telegraph

Jurgen Klopp beaming as Liverpool avenge their Wembley woe against Manchester City

Liverpool 3-0 Manchester City

BY Carl Markham

Liverpool gained some revenge for their Capital One Cup final defeat with a 3-0 victory which put a huge dent in Manchester City's title ambitions.

A re-run of their Wembley encounter three days on produced a completely different game and result, with goals inside the first hour from Adam Lallana, James Milner and Roberto Firmino earning the home side their handsome win.

It inflicted City's third successive Premier League defeat - a run they had not experienced for seven years - and more significantly left them trailing leaders Leicester by 10 points, albeit with a match in hand.

Equally as worrying for Manuel Pellegrini as he enters his final three months in charge, it left fourth-placed City looking over their shoulder with Manchester United and West Ham now breathing down their necks.

The Chilean manager may have already won the League Cup, his third trophy in three years, but it would tarnish his legacy if he were to leave incoming manager Pep Guardiola without Champions League football

When asked about the gap between his side and leaders Leicester, Pellegrini said: "More than thinking about the gap or thinking about the other teams, I think it's important to try to recover our performance."

Opposite number Jurgen Klopp, meanwhile, enthused: "The best word I can say to describe this was 'boom'.

"What can I say? It was, from the first until the last second, a really good performance from my side."

Reflecting on Sunday's Capital One Cup final defeat to City, Lallana added: "It was obviously disappointing at the weekend. The manager said it was important to bounce back here, especially for the fans.

"We'll be pleased with that performance but it's still going to hurt, losing the final.

"But a good performance all-round and we need to move on and finish the season strongly."

City, without injured captain Yaya Toure and with 19-goal striker Sergio Aguero making little impact, were a pale imitation of the side which has so often lit up the Premier League.

For Liverpool, however, this was a performance which highlighted all of their characteristic inconsistency as once they got into their stride they cut through City with apparent ease.

Former Anfield favourite Raheem Sterling was booed throughout and was largely kept quiet. But it was only a slack piece of defending from Nicolas Otamendi which allowed Liverpool to take the lead.

Lallana picked up the ball midway in the visitors' half but with the Argentina international standing off he advanced, and opted to shoot. The ball was well-placed enough to beat Joe Hart.

The second sliced City apart just before the break.

Lallana started the move with a backheel to Firmino who squared for Milner to charge in and ram past Hart.

Milner has yet to be on the losing side in the Premier League matches in which he has scored and confirmation that record would continue was secured in the 58th minute.

Again Lallana played a central part, running at the defence before teeing up Firmino for his seventh goal of the season.

City, who have incredibly won just once in 25 league visits to Anfield, barely put up a fight and that will be a concern for Pellegrini as the title race enters its final 10 matches.

LIVERPOOL: Mignolet, Clyne, Toure, Lovren, Flanagan, Milner (Ibe, 88 mins), Henderson, Can, Lallana, Firmino (Allen, 75 mins), Origi (Benteke, 69 mins). Unused subs: Coutinho, Moreno, Skrtel, Ward.

Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Otamendi, Kompany, Clichy (Kolarov, 74 mins), Fernando, Fernandinho (Iheanacho, 55 mins), Jesus Navas, Silva, Sterling (Bony, 46 mins), Aguero. Unused subs: Sagna, Caballero, Mangala, Demichelis.

Match rating: 8/10.

Man of the match: Adam Lallana

Referee: Martin Atkinson (West Yorkshire)

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