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Matchday 19, Premier League, Anfield, Liverpool
Liverpool Sat 31st Dec - 17:30pm Manchester City

1:0


Half Time 1:0

Match Report

Liverpool signed off from 2016 with a 1-0 victory over Manchester City at Anfield on New Year’s Eve in an absorbing top-of-the-table Premier League encounter.

Georginio Wijnaldum gave the Reds the lead after just eight minutes of play, arriving into the area to firmly guide a header into the corner of the net.

It proved to be the only goal of the evening, but it was enough for Jürgen Klopp’s side to consolidate second position in the table and open up a four-point gap over Pep Guardiola’s men.

The key points…

Wijnaldum headed hosts into lead after eight minutes from Lallana cross.

Henderson withdrawn due to injury just after hour mark.

Reds stay second, six points behind Chelsea but now four ahead of City.

The team news…

Liverpool’s teamsheet confirmed one change from the team that was deployed against Stoke City, with Emre Can coming into the starting XI and Divock Origi dropping down to the bench. Daniel Sturridge was also again among the substitutes.

The first half…

With noise levels inside Anfield cranked up several notches for the early-evening kick-off, a sense of occasion engulfed the early atmosphere.

When the game was finally underway, it was City who looked to pose the early threat – but they found themselves on the receiving end of a devastating counter-attack after just eight minutes.

Lallana scampered down the left and did well to retain possession under pressure before swinging a deep centre into the middle, where Wijnaldum arrived to plant a firm header beyond Claudio Bravo from 12 yards out. The timing of the run and the finish, both expertly precise.

The visitors' response saw Sergio Aguero engineer space for a shot on the edge of the Liverpool area soon after, but he uncharacteristically scooped well wide of target with the outside of his boot.

But Klopp’s men were buoyant, swarming all over their opponents across every blade of grass – and Wijnaldum struck over the bar after the Blues had been carved open on 26 minutes.

Moments later, a sublime ball over the top from James Milner picked out Roberto Firmino’s run, but he couldn’t take it under his control as Bravo claimed.

Can then clipped wide of the upright, while at the other end, a fine diving block from Dejan Lovren prevented Kevin de Bruyne’s run and shot from testing Simon Mignolet as the hosts went into the break holding the advantage.

The second half…

Liverpool signalled their intent to add to their tally within 60 seconds of the re-start when Nathaniel Clyne chested down a cross from Firmino inside the area, but failed to get any direction on his effort under the attentions of Nicolas Otamendi.

City did threaten, however, when Aguero’s low drive brought a first save of the night out of Mignolet before David Silva danced into a striking position on the edge of the area, but slid wide of the target.

As the clock ticked towards the hour mark, Guardiola’s side began to pose more questions of the home defence – and Liverpool were dealt a blow when Henderson was forced from the field due to injury. Origi took the captain’s place as Lallana dropped back into the midfield three.

So finely posed, by now the encounter was as tense as anything Anfield has witnessed this season, with the Reds required to repel the visitors’ pressure and aim to strike once again on the counter.

But City were unable to find a way beyond the home rearguard, and Liverpool were able to celebrate New Year’s Eve in the best possible fashion by clinching three crucial points and enter 2017 on a high.