Liverpool’s crucial victory over Manchester City this evening saw Jurgen Klopp’s men take a monumental step towards dethroning the Citizens as champions, but the clash unsurprisingly did not pass without its controversies.

Liverpool host City

The Premier League’s top-2 went head-to-head at Anfield a short time ago, in a crunch matchup in the race for the English top-flight title.

Ahead of kick-off, hosts Liverpool sat 6 points clear of City, having failed to secure a win in just one of their outings over the early months of the campaign.

Manchester City, on the other hand, had already fallen to surprise defeats at the hands of both Norwich and Wolves.

As a result, many were of the opinion that a victory for Liverpool on Merseyside today, despite it only being November, would essentially decide the title race in the favour of the European champions.

VAR controversy

And, when all was said and done, pick up all 3 points was precisely what Jurgen Klopp’s men managed.

The hosts took the lead with just 6 minutes on the clock, when Fabinho rifled home beyond Claudio Bravo from 25 yards.

The goal, though, was surrounded by controversy.

This came after Trent Alexander-Arnold handled the ball in the Liverpool area, just 22 seconds before Fabinho’s screamer found the net.

The potential penalty call was far from a straightforward one, with the ball having also struck Bernardo Silva’s arm on its way onto the outstretched arm of TAA.

However, the interpretation of many experts online is that Silva’s influence was actually irrelevant, based on the new laws of the game.

As per these laws, it is stated that, even if accidental, the following scenario should result in a free-kick being awarded to the defending team:

‘A player gains control/possession of the ball after it has touched their hand/arm and then scores, or creates a goalscoring opportunity.’

This saw many fans suggest that Silva’s intervention should have resulted in a free out to Liverpool.

However, the likes of the highly-respected Raphael Honigstein and Gabriele Marcotti have since claimed that penalty decisions do not actually, as per the rules, fall under the category of ‘creating a goalscoring opportunity’, meaning a spot-kick should in fact have been awarded:

Salah & Mane seal it

Nevertheless, Liverpool’s opener stood, with the Merseysiders, despite having actually been on the back foot for much of the game’s opening exchanges, having gone on to double their advantage just 7 minutes later.

Another explosive break out of defence eventually saw the ball find its way to Andy Robertson on the hosts’ left flank.

The Scot spotted the arriving Mohamed Salah bursting into the City box, before picking his teammate out with a characteristically-pinpoint delivery.

And Salah did the rest with little fuss, nodding home to hand Liverpool an emphatic early lead.

There were again immediate question marks over the goal, as Salah appeared to be in a borderline offside position, but VAR later cleared up the situation (though some again questioned Sky’s interpretation of events):

Liverpool then went on to make sure of their latest 3-point haul shortly after the interval.

Jordan Henderson’s sumptuous delivery to the back post from the right was met by Sadio Mane, who just managed to squeeze the ball beyond the clutches of the despairing Claudio Bravo.

Liverpool stand tall

Manchester City, to their credit, dominated over the vast remainder of the second 45, eventually resulting in Bernardo Silva pulling one back 10 minutes from time.

However, this is simply a different Liverpool side to the oft-brittle one of years past.

The Reds stood their ground against wave after wave of attack from the champions as the matchup wore on, with the likes of Virgil van Dijk and even Dejan Lovren having marshalled the home side’s backline with authority and leadership.

This saw Silva’s solitary strike eventually prove City’s only goal of the clash, despite the Sky Blues having thoroughly-looked menacing in attacking areas over much of the second-half.

Liverpool’s dynamic front-3, along with Virgil van Dijk, have understandably bagged the majority of the plaudits for their brilliance both domestically and in Europe over the last 12 months+.

However, today’s composed display on the part of the Anfield powerhouse showcased the fact that they have now developed into a wonderful ‘team’.

Every week it seems as though some of Jurgen Klopp’s less-heralded stars step up with crucial contributions, with the likes of Fabinho, Andy Robertson and Gini Wijnaldum having all done so once again versus City.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 10: Fabinho of Liverpool shoots during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City at Anfield on November 10, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Liverpool no longer appear to be a side who could throw away a lead at any moment, or one ready to crumble under the pressure of a title chase.

The Reds, simply put, look like champions-elect.

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