Georginio Wijnaldum rose to meet a cross from Adam Lallana in the game’s eighth minute. Using his head he thumped the ball into the net and Anfield erupted.
The rest of the game saw Liverpool fight admirably to hold onto their lead. The final whistle caused another eruption as Man City players slumped to the ground.
Klopp had beaten Pep. On the last day of 2016 and with half of the league’s games played, Liverpool sat in second position just six points behind leaders Chelsea.
January has been a terrible month for Liverpool Football Club. They have yet to win a match in the Premiership in 2017.
Their sole win so far this year came in an FA Cup replay against League Two side Plymouth. Their least awful moment in the league came when they succumbed to a draw in Old Trafford.
They were routed and humbled by relegation favourites Swansea and Sunderland. The recent defeats to Southampton in the League Cup semi-final and Wolves in the fourth round of the F.A Cup has made the entire world ask what has gone wrong.
The chief reason for Liverpool’s drop in form is the lack of goals. Though still the league’s top scorers, they have managed just six goals in their last seven matches.
The goals have dried up mostly due to other teams getting wise to their tactics. A strong resolve in defence has been enough to frustrate a team that too often relies on eight great passes to set up a goal.
Losing Sadio Mané to the African Cup of Nations also proved decisive. His pace has been a great asset all year and something Liverpool have sorely missed in recent games. With him now having returned it’ll be interesting to see whether their form does begin to recover.
Daniel Sturridge has the pace to get behind defences, but he has looked more and more listless as the season wears on. Once hampered by injuries but now entirely fit, Sturridge has no excuse for his poor return of 2 league goals all season.
Defensive mistakes have led to their undoing on multiple occasions. Liverpool should have started the year by beating Sunderland, but giving away two needless penalties scuppered them then.
The defeat to Swansea was the season’s low point and it too featured two goals caused by errors. Liverpool still look like a team that can and will collapse at any moment.
They are also a team with no Plan B. Either things go exactly to plan and they score four goals, or they quickly come apart at the seams.
Liverpool have slipped to fourth in the table and are ten points behind Chelsea.
Fighting for a Champions League spot might be the best they can hope for at this point. Just two points ahead of Man City and four ahead of Man Utd, any further slip ups will see them languishing in relative mediocrity yet again.
This team have proved they are better than that. On their best days they are the most exciting and enterprising players in the land.
The Kop still has faith in Klopp, but that faith is being tested for the first time. The draw against Chelsea, whilst showing a spirited resolve to force themselves back into the game, seems that, over the course of the season, may not have too much of an impact on Liverpool’s fast dwindling title aspirations.