MANCHESTER, England (AP) – Even a 4-0 goal is forgivable for Jürgen Klopp, now the Premier League trophy has been sealed.
But losing so broadly – to Liverpool’s closest but very distant challenger – was still a painful path for Liverpool’s reign as champion to begin.
“The attitude was good, the game was not bad,” said Klopp. “It has nothing to do with last week, to be honest. It hurts like defeats hurt. What I wanted to see tonight was a team that is ready to fight Man City, which obviously had … a point to prove. “
City certainly did after being denied a title hat trick. The victory over Liverpool narrowed the gap to 20 points, with six games remaining.
“In a game against City, there are decisive moments,” said Klopp, “and those decisive moments that we have to use, and we didn’t do it and they did.”
Mohamed Salah hit the post in the first 20 minutes at Etihad Stadium. A missed chance for the Reds to take the lead and an opportunity they didn’t have again.
City’s lead was secured by Kevin De Bruyne after 25 minutes from the penalty spot, after Raheem Sterling was taken down by Joe Gomez.
Sterling beat Gomez again 10 minutes later, after receiving a pass from Phil Foden, scoring his first league goal against the club he left five years ago on the ninth try.
Liverpool were picked again at a quick break just before the break, with Foden playing one of two with De Bruyne before lifting the ball into the net.
“When he catches the ball, he is aggressive towards defenders and kicks and scores,” said city manager Pep Guardiola of 20-year-old Foden. “We cannot waste this. It is so difficult to find that quality. “
It is not so difficult within this City team, when it also includes De Bruyne, whose vision was the fourth, with Sterling receiving a pass and then seeing a shot deflected into his own net by Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain.
“It’s a reminder of how good Man City is,” said Klopp. “I didn’t need this.”
Such an empathetic victory cheers Guardiola, as he keeps looking for a triple. The League Cup has already been collected and can still be followed by the FA Cup and the European Cup.
“What we have done in recent years is unique and exceptional,” said Guardiola. “That is not going to change because we lost (the title) to Liverpool.”
While Klopp defended his players after the defeat, Tottenham coach José Mourinho was quick to blame after a 3-1 defeat at Sheffield United in the other game on Thursday.
Tottenham striker Harry Kane thought he had immediately canceled Sander Berge’s opening game in the first half, but Lucas Moura was penalized by the assistant video referee for dealing with the goal accumulation. But the Brazilian only touched the ball after he seemed to have been fouled and fell to the ground.
“We are going in a very bad direction for the beautiful game,” said Mourinho, “the game that everyone fell in love with.”
Still, Mourinho did not want his players to use that frustration as an excuse.
“We have to be mentally stronger,” he said, “to cope.”
Tottenham didn’t make it, with Lys Mousset and Oli McBurnie exploring the slack in defending the score. Kane ended up finding the net, but it was only a consolation, as Tottenham was overtaken by the hosts.
After reaching last season’s Champions League final – losing to Liverpool – Tottenham may not qualify for any European competition next season.
Tottenham dropped to ninth, seven points behind Manchester United’s fifth place. The Blades in seventh place are now in a better position to qualify for the Europa League.
More American football: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright © 2020 *