Good afternoon and welcome to Sports Mole
's live text coverage of the Premier League clash between Liverpool
and Manchester City
from Anfield. Leaders Liverpool will enter the match six points clear of City, who dropped to fourth in the table on Saturday with Chelsea and Leicester City both picking up wins. It is a huge, huge football match here.
LIVERPOOL: Alisson; Trent Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Henderson; Salah, Firmino, Mane
MAN CITY: Bravo; Walker, Fernandinho, Stones, Angelino; Gundogan, Rodri, De Bruyne; Bernardo, Aguero, Sterling
No real surprises in the Liverpool XI this afternoon – the only talking point ahead of kickoff surrounded the position alongside Virgil van Dijk in central defence. Dejan Lovren is given the nod over Joe Gomez with Joel Matip on the sidelines. Mohamed Salah
, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane
are the front three, with Jordan Henderson, Fabinho and Georginio Wijnaldum lining up in midfield.
A lot of Liverpool fans have been on social media throughout the week calling for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to be handed a spot in central midfield, but the England international is only on the bench for the home side alongside Gomez, Naby Keita, Adam Lallana, James Milner, Divock Origi and Adrian.
As for City, Ederson's injury means that Claudio Bravo starts between the sticks, while Angelino is again given the nod at left-back. There is just one change from the side that started against Southampton last weekend with fit-again Rodri replacing David Silva, who is on the bench. Nicolas Otamendi is fit but Fernandinho will line up alongside John Stones in the centre of the defence.
Another interesting side note, if Bravo gets injured today then Scott Carson – on loan at City from Derby County – will be the City goalkeeper. Carson, of course, is a former Liverpool stopper, and it would be some turn-up if he featured here. If he then gets injured it could be Kyle Walker in goal once again!
Time for a period of reflection here...
... wonderfully observed inside Anfield, as it has been across the Premier League this weekend. A huge cheer follows the whistle, and kickoff is now just moments away here.
KICKOFF: City kick things off at Anfield...
... it must be said that there is a wonderful atmosphere inside the stadium this afternoon, and there is just no downplaying the importance of this match. City have not been victorious at Anfield in the Premier League since 2003 but probably have to win today.
It has been a decent start from the visitors, who have already forced the first corner of the match. Guardiola's side had the chance to keep the pressure on in a wide position but De Bruyne's touch, for once, wasn't there. The champions are in control of the possession for now.
City have a free kick in a dangerous spot out wide as Robertson fouls Bernardo...
... De Bruyne's delivery is cleared behind for a corner by Wijnaldum.
Half-chance for the champions as De Bruyne's corner is met by Stones but there are no takers on the defender's flick. Liverpool then have the chance to break down the field.
GOAL! LIVERPOOL 1-0 MAN CITY (FABINHO)
GOAL! Liverpool make the breakthrough in the sixth minute as Fabinho fires one into the corner from distance, but City are furious as they wanted a penalty down the other end. VAR have had a look at the spot kick and nothing was given! Drama already here.
Half-chance for City as Sterling meets a free kick from a wide position, but the attacker's effort is wide of the post. Frantic start to this match, that is for sure.
Alexander-Arnold does seem to have got away with one for the penalty incident, and it was a double blow for City when considering that they conceded moments later.
CHANCE! Another huge chance for City as De Bruyne delivers a wonderful free kick into the Liverpool box, but Aguero cannot make contact. Liverpool are so fortunate to be ahead.
GOAL! LIVERPOOL 2-0 MAN CITY (SALAH)
GOAL! Liverpool have their second of the match as Salah heads a wonderful Robertson cross into the back of the net, but VAR are going to have a look at this one.
Goal is given. Liverpool lead 2-0 in incredible fashion.
City are in all sorts of bother here - the visitors had started really well but they just cannot defend, which is always going to be a problem. Some start to this match.
It would be a huge surprise if we had seen the last of the goals here, but it is difficult to see City keeping Liverpool out even if the visitors manage to score a couple themselves.
Every time Liverpool attack this City defence just looks desperate, which is not great news for Guardiola, who has already sunk back into his seat in the early stages. Well, I say early stages but the match is now 20 minutes old and Liverpool are two up.
Liverpool are dominating the ball at the moment as they continue to move through the lines, with City's confidence not quite there at the moment. Wijnaldum hits one from distance and Fernandinho just about manages to divert it behind for a corner kick.
Fabinho is really fortunate to escape a booking for a rash challenge on Gundogan, who had been driving clear. Not too sure what the referee had in mind there.
SAVE! City have to find a way to hurt Liverpool here, and by hurt I mean score a goal. Aguero has just attempted to find the corner but Alisson made a smart save.
Walker does well to clear ahead of Robertson as Liverpool look to find space in the wide positions once again - a third for the home side here would be absolutely huge.
Little over 15 minutes of the first period remaining, and Liverpool still lead 2-0 courtesy of goals from Fabinho and Salah but that doesn't even begin to tell the story. City will feel that they have been dealt a rough hand by VAR at Anfield, there is no doubt about that.
OFF THE POST! Angelino has one deflected onto the post for City!
Sterling gathers the ball in a wide position before looking to work something into the box, eventually Angelino delivers, but there are no takers and Liverpool have a goal kick.
Walker has to clear a Henderson cross behind and then immediately has a go at Stones, who appears to point in Angelino's direction. Not great from City at the back there.
Half-chance for Liverpool as Lovren flicks a corner towards the far post but there are no takers. Still 2-0 to the home side with 35 minutes on the clock at Anfield.
City waste a corner as De Bruyne delivers straight into the arms of Alisson, who releases Firmino down the other end. Eventually the Brazil international strikes towards goal but his effort was always too high. City all over the place at the back again.
Little over five minutes of the first period remaining, and Bravo has just kicked the ball straight out of play under pressure. City miss Ederson so, so much. Not just because of his goalkeeping, but because of his ability with the ball. It really is some miss here.
SAVE! Smart save from Bravo to keep out a low strike from Firmino.
SHOT! Walker hits one from distance but it was always moving wide of the post.
As much as Liverpool are in control of this match, one goal for City would make things very, very interesting. There are surely more goals in this contest as the champions can hurt Liverpool in the final third. Salah is currently down with an ankle problem here.
CLOSE! Aguero fires just wide of the Liverpool post after breaking into a dangerous position, low and across the goal from the Argentina international, who is yet to score at Anfield.
SAVE! Decent save from Bravo to keep out a shot from Salah, who had attempted to pick out the corner of the net. That would have been an absolute killer for the away team.
We are into the final minute of added time at the end of the first period, and Liverpool are playing all of the football at the moment. City could do with the half-time break.
SAVE! Comfortable for Alisson to keep out a low strike from Aguero.
HALF TIME: LIVERPOOL 2-0 MAN CITY
So there we have it, the referee brings the first period to a close with Liverpool leading 2-0 courtesy of goals from Fabinho and Salah. That doesn't even begin to tell the whole story, though, with City feeling that they should have had a penalty moments before Fabinho scored. The visitors have played quite well overall but are two goals behind on Merseyside.
STATISTICS! City had 54% of the ball in the first period, hitting the target with two of their nine shots. Liverpool, meanwhile, registered four shots on target from eight attempts. No yellow cards to report in the first half, it has not really been that type of match despite being incredibly intense and end-to-end. The entertainment value has been excellent here.
BENCH WATCH! City have a lot of talent on their bench, with the likes of Cancelo, Gabriel Jesus, Foden, Mahrez and David Silva all capable of making a difference in the second period. Liverpool, meanwhile, have options in the shape of Oxlade-Chamberlain, Keita, Lallana, Milner and Origi. It will be fascinating to see how both managers use their benches this afternoon.
KICKOFF: Liverpool resume the action here...
... no changes from either side at the break, which is not much of a surprise. However, both managers will surely have alterations in mind as the play develops here.
One goal for City would make things very, very interesting. A third for Liverpool, though, and it would surely be curtains for this match. City have started the better again.
CLOSE! Gundogan sees a strike just loop over the top of the Liverpool goal.
As it stands, Liverpool are moving eight clear of second-placed Leicester City and third-placed Chelsea, and nine points clear of the reigning champions City, who would stay down in fourth after suffering their third defeat of the campaign. Still plenty of time left though!
GOAL! LIVERPOOL 3-0 MAN CITY (MANE)
GOAL! Liverpool have their third of the match as Henderson delivers a wonderful cross towards the far post, where Mane is on hand to head into the back of the net from close range.
City can't defend, it really is as simple as that. Not having Laporte is absolutely huge for the champions, who have just not been able to cope at the back this afternoon.
SHOT! Sterling has a shot deflected over the Liverpool crossbar as City desperately attempt to find a route back into this match. It is all very frantic here as Aguero has a shot blocked.
City have the likes of Mahrez and Gabriel Jesus warming up at the moment, and it will be interesting to see what Guardiola has in mind here. Something has to change.
Walker finds space in a dangerous position before flashing a low cross into the box but Van Dijk makes the clearance. Little over 30 minutes of the second period remaining here.
Still no movement on the City bench, which is a huge surprise when considering what is unfolding on the field at the moment. Liverpool are happy to sit deep for the time being.
Sterling chips a dangerous cross towards the space where Aguero is waiting, but Alisson is out to make the claim. Still 3-0 Liverpool with 61 minutes on the clock.
LIVERPOOL SUB! Milner replaces Henderson for the home side.
The Liverpool fans are in fine voice at the moment as their side continues to pass and probe in the final third of the field. This could yet get much worse for City at Anfield.
Are City still in the title race after this? Nine points is a lot. It gets better from Liverpool when considering that City take on Chelsea in their next match. It is going to take some effort from the rest of the pack to prevent Liverpool from winning this season's title.
YELLOW CARD! Rodri (Man City) is booked for protesting after Sterling goes down inside the box under a challenge from Mane and nothing is given. Looked a close one.
Alexander-Arnold drives into a dangerous position before going down under a challenge but there is no whistle from the referee. Still 3-0 with 68 minutes on the clock here.
CHANCE! Stunning chance for City as De Bruyne delivers a wonderful cross into Aguero, but the Argentine somehow misses the ball. Quite incredible moment there.
City are preparing to make their first change of the match as we head into the final 20 minutes. Gabriel Jesus will be the player off the away side's bench here.
MAN CITY SUB! Gabriel Jesus replaces Aguero for the away team.
City go short from the back as Bravo finds Stones, who kicks it straight out of play. And that just about sums up the champions from a defensive point of view here.
Little over 15 minutes of the second period remaining, and not too much is happening at the moment in terms of clear chances. Liverpool are so incredibly comfortable here.
Surely City will attempt to sign a centre-back in January because this cannot be allowed to continue. The loss of the brilliant Laporte has hurt them so badly.
Sterling and Walker both have shots blocked as Liverpool continue to defend. The home side will soon make their second change with Oxlade-Chamberlain entering the field.
GOAL! LIVERPOOL 3-1 MAN CITY (BERNARDO)
GOAL! City have one back as Bernardo Silva picks out the bottom corner from a low Angelino cross. Brilliant finish from the Portugal international - game on here?!
LIVERPOOL SUB! Oxlade-Chamberlain replaces Firmino for the home side.
Half-chance for City as Sterling breaks into the Liverpool box before looking for a pass, and Liverpool eventually manage to clear. Nervy moment for the home side.
Alisson collects a low cross from Sterling as City go on the attack again.
City call for another penalty as Sterling strikes towards the hand of Alexander-Arnold, but once again the decision goes in the home side's favour. Still 3-1 here.
If City can score in the next couple of minutes then it would be some finish to the match. Liverpool are not so comfortable now as they continue to drop deep.
LIVERPOOL SUB! Joe Gomez enters the field in place of Salah.
City have the ball with 89 minutes on the clock, there is still time, but Liverpool are holding their shape at the moment. Gomez has gone into a back five for the home team.
We are into stoppage time at Anfield, of which there will be four minutes. Gabriel Jesus has just headed over the crossbar but the offside flag was raised.
Rodri attempts to find Stones but instead plays the ball straight to Wijnaldum, who drives forward as the clock continues to tick on. Poor from City again there.
Liverpool defend City's latest attack and we are into the final moments of this match. The Reds are going to be moving eight points clear at the top of the Premier League.
FULL TIME: LIVERPOOL 3-1 MAN CITY
So there we have it, the referee brings the second period to a close with Liverpool running out 3-1 winners over City to move eight points clear at the top of the Premier League table. It is a huge result for the Reds, who needed some luck to get there.
That is just about it from me this afternoon, but I shall leave you with the match report
from what was a brilliant game at Anfield. Thanks for joining us once again!