By Kurt Ganapathy
Featured photo: Premier League
They have the same nemesis in Manchester United, more than a few players have lined up for both clubs and their fans know the pain of long title droughts (44 years for City, 27 years and counting for Liverpool).
Beyond these similarities, the two clubs have also provided their fair share of memorable moments of late. Here are five worth revisiting.
Sergio Aguero is a big game player whose goals are often as magical as they are momentous, but he won’t score many more outrageous than his strike against Liverpool back in 2013. With Liverpool heading for the three points in the 78th minute, Aguero rounded an over-eager Pepe Reina and swung in a shot from outside the box at an impossibly acute angle to goal. Few would have believed their eyes when the ball gently dropped into the inside side-netting. Final score: 2-2.
Liverpool’s 4-1 win at the Etihad Stadium in November 2015 had plenty of highlights for the Reds faithful, not least Martin Skrtel’s half-volley, but Firmino’s goal to make it 3-0 just outside 30 minutes was simply sublime.
The move started with a relatively soft shot from Philippe Coutinho that Joe Hart should really have caught. Instead, the City keeper parried it towards Alberto Moreno on the left flank. Moreno returned the ball to Coutinho who flicked it to Emre Can. Can in turn backheeled the ball to back to Coutinho who set up Roberto Firmino for an easy tap-in. The City defense was less effective than a line of traffic cones. Firmino’s goal was his first for the club; not a bad way to announce your arrival as a key player of the future.
Liverpool has played in 14 FA Cup finals and 12 EFL Cup finals. Manchester City has played in 10 FA Cup finals and 5 EFL Cup finals. It was somewhat surprising then that the 2016 EFL Cup final was the first ever major decider contested by the two clubs.
City were the dominant side during the 90 minutes and had enough clear-cut opportunities to seal victory, but Philippe Coutinho had other ideas. The Brazilian equalized in the 83rd minute to send the match into extra time and eventually penalties.
City’s goalkeeper Willy Caballero was the hero as he saved three penalties in their 3-1 shootout win. Great drama, great entertainment and, for Liverpool, great pain – they would also lose the 2016 Europa League final later in the season.
For the 96
In the last ten years, Manchester City has been a key part of memorials for two of English football’s darkest days.
In 2008, City played their great rivals Manchester United as the Red Devils marked the 50th anniversary of the Munich air disaster. In 2014, it was also City who stood together with Liverpool on the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.
Moments like these – moments that transcend football – are what make football the incomparable sport that it is. That day in 2014 would also be remembered for another reason, of course.
“We go again”
The 2013-14 Premier League season will forever be remembered for the way Liverpool quite literally let the title slip away. Just two weeks before the world watched Steven Gerrard struggle to find traction at Anfield, however, the aging Liverpool captain was at the center of what, at the time, had the makings of a truly incredible sporting moment.
At the end of a thrilling 3-2 win against City, which put Liverpool in pole position in the title race, Gerrard couldn’t contain his emotions as the magnitude of the moment dawned on him. With his teammates gathered around him, he launched into an impromptu speech that was equal parts unfortunate and immortal: “This does not f****** slip now! This does not f****** slip! Listen, listen, this is gone. We go to Norwich; exactly the same! We go again. Come on!”
Manchester City vs Liverpool kicks off at 7:30pm (GMT +8) tonight. Catch the action on mio Stadium.