Liverpool have never been so happy with a loss, even hungover in their stint at Etihad after winning the Premier a week ago. The City received the champion as custom dictates, with a corridor that dignifies Guardiola’s team. He is honored by the detail after giving up the crown to a rival who put too much effort throughout the year to afford the license to walk around Manchester. City, however, rolled up their sleeves to serve the rematch (4-0).
Henderson captained the solemn departure to the court although no one conceded his hand. Following the protocol, the friendly tone is over. A run-down start was preceded by an authoritative exercise in City attack. He knew how to camouflage his lagoons behind because he was unappealable when he looked at the Alisson arch. Sterling made Joe Gomez dizzy, hit the Englishman and De Bruyne scored from a penalty. The 1-0 uncorked a crash in which Salah finished off the wood. Fate favored City.
He failed to define Liverpool and Guardiola gave Klopp a try of his own medicine. Gabriel Jesus made sense of a counterattack in which Foden summoned Sterling for the Englishman to make it 2-0. A world for the champion, with everything made in England and with little desire to strive against the response of a City that causes allergies to lose. Even less after listening to pyrotechnics at the beginning, a shot that was granted by some Liverpool fans outside the Etihad.
De Bruyne contested. The Belgian is going to have too short the season finale, rampant after confinement. He feels superior to the rest and leaves his mark on each encounter, sharp as there is no other. He sees millimeter spaces and seems to be playing in a tuxedo, Phil Foden’s luxury partner in a triangulation that ended any hint of reaction. City swallowed Liverpool as a subliminal message that this is a point and apart. There is still a story to tell.
The triumph over City came to him little by little and among so many rotations he adorned himself with Oxlade-Chamberlain’s own goal, a reward for a night in which everything came out face-to-face. He protected himself against the attempts of Anfield’s painting and reacted with the efficiency that he lacked for months. This came too late in a club that now puts the focus on the Champions. The defeat for Liverpool, however, does not go beyond the terrain of the anecdote. Dead king, king laid. Klopp rules in England.