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Five observations as Liverpool trounce Manchester City at Anfield

A scintillating first half followed by a resilient and brave display in the second ensured that Liverpool would come off as emphatic victors in their first leg Champions league quarterfinal clash with Manchester City.

Goals from Mo Salah, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sadio Mané ensures the Reds will come into the second leg at the Etihad with momentum. The tie is far from over as City are a brilliant side with tons of talent but Liverpool should give themselves a pat in the back for a truly outstanding performance.

Here are some observations from the Reds' 3-0 win.

The power of Anfield

If there was one point of discussion amongst supporters before the match it was the atmosphere at Anfield that was almost certain to be incredibly hostile towards the opposition.

It did not disappoint.

Anfield was a sight to behold as Liverpool supporters rallied behind Jürgen Klopp's Reds in intimidating fashion. From the moment the team buses arrived to the blowing of the full-time whistle, Anfield was in full voice.

Any more doubts about the impact Anfield provides in European tie should absolutely be put to bed. The eleven players on the pitch played their hearts out but it wouldn't have been possible with the tens of thousands of voices cheering them on. Anfield at its finest.

A man of the match performance for Trent Alexander-Arnold

There was a genuine cause for concern amongst Liverpool supporters before the start of the game on how Trent Alexander-Arnold would cope against Manchester City's equally potent attack. After being exposed by the likes of Marcus Rashford and Wilfried Zaha in recent weeks Alexander-Arnold was identified as a possible weak-link to be exploited by the in-form Leroy Sané.

As fortune would have it though, this game proved to be the defining moment of the 19 year old's young career.

Largely faultless with his positioning, he worked in tandem with Oxlade-Chamberlain to protect his right side never really letting Sané get into the flow of the game. He also proved to be a reliable outlet down the right-flank, providing the Reds with an option when looking to find the gaps in Manchester City's defence.

It's still very early in his career and every game is a learning experience but for Alexander-Arnold this will truly be a night to remember, what a performance!

Lovren and Van Dijk shine

With Jöel Matip out for the season with a thigh injury, Dejan Lovren was once again thrust into the starting eleven since his sub-par outing against Manchester United and the Croatian shone throughout.

He looked confident at the back, making vital interceptions and a number of key blocks highlighted by a heroic last ditch tackle made on David Silva. The Croatian dealt with any threat City offered in a no-nonsense fashion. A far cry from his shaky performance a few weeks ago at Old Trafford.

His partner Van Dijk has always looked assured since joining the club from Southampton and this game was no different. His leadership and organization proved absolutely vital, especially in the second half when Liverpool had to repel wave after wave of Manchester City attacks.

Games like this are exactly why Liverpool paid over £75M for the Dutchman and he has been nothing but class since his arrival.

Mo Salah's slight injury scare

It's no secret that Mohamed Salah has taken over the Premier League by storm this season and his impressive form continues. His well-taken goal to open the scoring is his 38th in all competitions in a season where he has established himself as arguably the best player in the Premier League.

Unfortunately Salah was forced off in the 52nd minute of action on what looks to be a groin problem. More importantly in the context of the match, the Reds' heads drooped a little, allowing City to gain the initiative. His constant threat on the right side was missed, which is to be expected when a player of his ilk is withdrawn from the squad.

Thankfully, Jürgen Klopp informed the media that Salah himself informed the Liverpool boss that he was “fine”. Although the club has confirmed that the Egyptian would be subject to further observation this would seem like a mini-boost as Liverpool cannot afford to lose their best player at the business end of the season.

All eyes to Goodison

Next up for the Reds is the Merseyside derby. Not exactly the ideal fixture you'd want right after a tough Champions league tie. It remains to be seen on how Jürgen Klopp would set up his Liverpool team against their bitter rivals.

If the match was any indication, captain Jordan Henderson is a definite lock to start as his yellow card sees him banned for the second leg against Manchester City. Defender Nathaniel Clyne is available for selection as a rotation option to Alexander-Arnold whilst Klopp will look to have Emre Can hopefully fit and ready by then.

Mo Salah remains a question but Roberto Firmino being withdrawn early could see him feature in the starting eleven against Everton. With the second leg against City just a few days after, Klopp will have some selection headaches and some big calls to make.

Overall, this was a fantastic performance that definitely catapults Liverpool back into the European spotlight. This game showed what a combination of passion, intensity and skill can do. Liverpool can compete with the best, there is no doubt about that. We'll see how far they can go but for Jürgen Klopp and his men this game marks another big step in the revival of one of Europe's true giants.

This article was originally published on @mindofcarl