Manchester City suffered a third-successive defeat after losing 1-2 to Liverpool, and 1-5 on aggregate, to miss out on a Champions League semi-final.
Pep Guardiola threw a spanner in the works before kick-off when he opted to play with three defenders in a game for the first time since City smashed Liverpool 5-0 in September.
Nicolas Otamendi, Kyle Walker and Aymeric Laporte made up the three-man defence while Guardiola fielded probably his most attacking line-up of the season. The Blues had to claw back a 3-0 advantage to Liverpool to have any chance of advancing to the Champions League semi-finals.
Gabriel Jesus opened the scoring with two minutes into the game. City dominated the first-half with a wrongfully disallowed goal from Leroy Sané that could have set City up for an almighty comeback.
Shortly after half-time, Mo Salah all but ended City’s hopes with a cruel goal to level the contest on the night. Nicolas Otamendi’s defensive error allowed Roberto Firmino to give Liverpool the lead and make it 1-5 on aggregate.
Here is how each City player was rated tonight:
Ederson – 6
The Brazilian was in need of a good game against Liverpool after previous issues when facing the Reds. Despite City’s defeat, Ederson’s passing was sensational this evening and had little to do from a defensive aspect except pick the ball out of the net on two occasions.
Kyle Walker – 6
Played in an unnatural position of centre-back, Walker was expected to remain stable at the back rather than be offensively threatening. He did that, however, couldn’t help City keep a clean-sheet.
Nicolas Otamendi – 3
Otamendi has been incredibly mediocre the past two weeks and was at fault for the majority of goals City conceded against Liverpool and Manchester United. With City needing defensively solidity, Otamendi proved just that until another defensive error allowed Roberto Firmino to score.
Aymeric Laporte – 6
Laporte would have been tasked with containing Mo Salah and passing through the lines for City, and he did just that throughout the entire contest.
Fernandinho – 8
The 32-year-old was incredibly weak at Anfield, and with him missing the next two games in the Premier League because of suspension, Fernandinho was the midfield anchor tonight and proved solidity to a venerable defence without the ball, and attacked when City were in possession.
Kevin De Bruyne – 6
De Bruyne hasn’t produced his best form the past month but tonight City can be thankful for the Belgian’s excellence. His work-rate and tough-tackling in midfield were crucial to overcoming Liverpool’s midfield in the first-half, but the 26-year-old couldn’t impose himself on the second-half.
David Silva – 8
Whenever Silva plays well, City tends to play well. Silva controlled the tempo from midfield tonight and linked the midfield to forward line with elegance and leadership.
Bernardo Silva – 7
The Portuguese international was brought in to become the extra-midfielder to combat Liverpool and provide that extra goal-threat City are lacking lately. Silva hit the post in the first-half and seemed desperate to score throughout the contest.
Raheem Sterling – 6
It’s challenging to remember Sterling producing an excellent performance against his former club, but tonight the 23-year-old was City’s most dangerous threat up-front and provided the assist for the goal.
Leroy Sané – 5
Last week, City’s only attacking threat was down the left-wing where Leroy Sané occupied and was outclassed by Trent Alexander-Arnold. Tonight, in the first-half especially, Sané tormented the rookie right-back. However, Sané’s final ball was lacking all night and was found offside too regularly.
Gabriel Jesus – 6
Many City supporters have started to doubt Jesus the past week due to his temperament and lack of influence on games. Jesus opened the scoring after two minutes but created very little for the remaining eighty-eight minutes.