14 Apr Liverpool or City: Is this day Premier League name is determined?
The Reds allow the title slide five decades back by losing at home to Chelsea on the exact same evening City won in Crystal Palace – would the roles currently be reversed?
We have been here before.
Liverpool and Manchester City. Adding a cigarette paper to separate them in the peak of the Premier League. Everything in bet.
An April afternoon. Liverpool hosting Chelsea while City travel to Crystal Palace. The eyes of the world descending on Merseyside and South London. Watching and waiting.
We all know what happened last time, needless to say. The events of April 2014, and these specific set of fittings, are still sung around now. From City and Chelsea fans, at the least.
Liverpool fans, meanwhile, could approach Sunday’s match with trepidation, and no question.
The opinions of five decades back — of Steven Gerrard’s slide, Demba Ba’s end and Jose Mourinho’s crowing – are difficult to forget. The mere sight of Chelsea at Anfield will probably be sufficient to start a couple of old wounds that weekend, for certain.
Before that, naturally, ears and eyes are on Selhurst Park, in which City shoot against a harmful however inconsistent Palace facet.
Pep Guardiola’s men were defeated when the sides met at the Etihad back in December, and also understand that anything aside from success this time could hand the impetus into Liverpool, who kick off immediately following that match finishes.
This was another way around five decades back, when Liverpool’s loss was compounded with a City triumph. Brendan Rodgers, crestfallen, disbelieving, had attracted his courageous head to his post-match media conference daily.
However, as he came at the previous media area at Anfield, he glanced up at the TV display on the wall. As he did, Yaya Toure gave City an edge they wouldn’t concede — equally at Palace and at the title race.
Mourinho had been gone at the point. Unshaven and dressed unusually for him and for the weather in hoodie, gillet, tracksuit and trainers, the Chelsea manager had revelled in his job as party-pooper.
“They desired that the clowns!” He’d yelled following his side’s 2-0 success. Before, he’d celebrated Willian’s clinching goal by running the Anfield touchline towards the away fans, beating his chest as he travelled. If name races throw heroes up, they also bring villains into the fore.
“Beware of this insect,” Mourinho cackled in his own press conference. He had been laid low by flu that week hence the scruffiness along with the fact he went to Liverpool individually to his players — and made certain he coughed a couple of germs towards the media before he left. It was not his best moment.
Before boarding his own team’s trainer, Mourinho found time to get yet another dig. Approaching a mythical Liverpool figure out Anfield’s Main Stand, he stretched his arms out .
“I gave you a point!” He cried. “Why did not you simply take it?!”
Mourinho and Chelsea had came with over just the flu. They carried a bitterness, also, towards Liverpool, whom they believed were getting preferable therapy from not just the press, but out of referees also. “It felt that the nation wanted Liverpool to become winner,” Mourinho said.
A row over the time of this fixture included extra spice. Chelsea had desired to move the match from Sunday to Saturday, on accounts of the forthcoming Champions League semi-final with Atletico Madrid.
Requests into the Premier League and to Sky Sports went discounted, as did a late request to Liverpool. “I think when we play with the afternoon before, I do not believe we play the exact same soul as the Sunday,” Mourinho would later state. In typical style, he utilized the dispute as inspiration.
He made certain his team would be the greatest annoyance. He rested several celebrity guys — Eden Hazard, Petr Cech, Oscar, Ramires and John Terry were left outside, while Willian and Gary Cahill began on the seat.
Tomas Kalas -“a participant for coaching” – made his Premier League debut in defence, although the veteran Mark Schwarzer was in aim. A 21-year-old Egyptian called Mohamed Salah began on that the ideal flank.
Mourinho’s tactics were apparent. They setup using a rigid, tight-as-tight back , screened by 2 pro holding midfielders in Jon Obi Mikel and Nemanja Matic.
The goal was to prevent Liverpool building momentum via a quick start, to frustrate and to stifle. “They parked two buses,” grimaced Rodgers, but it functioned.
As soon as the fifth minute, Schwarzer was wasting time above a goal kick, something that he disclosed this week was educated by Mourinho.
Shortly afterwards, Mourinho was grappling with Gerrard and Jon Flanagan, holding the ball to avoid a fast throw-in. Anfield, used to high-speed, occasionally feverish football, was tetchy, nervous, irate.
A draw could maintain Liverpool in hands, however they weren’t comfortable playing because of it. Their victory, an 11-match winning streak, was assembled on front foot.
Gerrard’s slide in first-half stoppage period, naturally, supposed Mourinho obtained the pay-off due to his or her tactics. Liverpool seldom looked like recovering from this body blow, their second-efforts crumbling amid a tide of speculative shots, optimistic spans and horrible corners.
From now Fernando Torres galloped apparent to install Willian for the clincher, Anfield was resigned to its fate. Rodgers’ predominate never recovered.
This moment, Liverpool will expect for functions reversed. It’s those who head in the weekend but City that hold the secret to the doorway. It’s Guardiola’s side, using a match in hand, that have their fate in their own hands.
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That may change . 30pm on Sunday, needless to say. The exact same could be said for each single weekend, but this one feels as though it might be a critical one.
The afternoon the Premier League has been determined? Time will tell.
Liverpool will just expect the memories of the April day are more than five years back…