A look back at Manchester City’s struggles at Anfield

Manchester City are rarely scared to travel to face any team on the planet, but if there’s one ground where history isn’t on their side, it’s Anfield.

Through their ups and their downs, Liverpool have tended to have City’s number when they rock up to Merseyside, and City’s desperation to overcome that poor record has led to some utterly enthralling games between these two sides.

Let’s take a look back at some of the recent results.

Craig Bellamy
Bellamy sealed Liverpool’s win | Michael Regan/Getty Images

We start with a League Cup semi-final second leg which saw Sir Kenny Dalglish’s Liverpool come out on top against Roberto Mancini’s City.

Liverpool won the first leg 1-0 away from home and always seemed favourites for this one, although they had to come from behind twice to get the draw needed to advance to the final.

Goals from Steven Gerrard and Craig Bellamy cancelled out strikes from Nigel de Jong and Edin Dzeko, and Liverpool went on to beat Cardiff City in the final.

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Sterling on his league debut | PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

Brendan Rodgers took over at Anfield in the summer of 2012, and they looked set to hand him his first Premier League victory in charge of the Reds when they met City in August.

Liverpool were 2-1 up late on, only for a calamitous back pass from Martin Skrtel to gift Carlos Tevez an equaliser most City fans will happily accept they did not deserve.

City struggled to deal with 17-year-old Raheem Sterling, who was making his league debut, while Joe Allen was the one pulling the strings in midfield in the kind of performance which earned him his ‘Welsh Xavi’ nickname.

Philippe Coutinho
Liverpool looked to have sealed the title | Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Perhaps the most famous fixture on this list, Liverpool looked to have won the Premier League title when they beat City 3-2 in April 2014.

With four games to go, Liverpool had the title in their own hands after dispatching of City, whose slow start had them two goals down at the interval. A David Silva strike and a Glen Johnson own goal saw City come close to snatching a point, but Liverpool always looked favourites to win.

City ended up having the last laugh, however, as Liverpool threw their lead away with a shocking loss to Chelsea and that 3-3 draw with Crystal Palace that turned their entire season into a meme.

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Coutinho stole the show | OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

Manuel Pellegrini took his City side to Anfield in March 2015 knowing a defeat would hand Chelsea all the momentum in a title race, and that’s exactly what happened.

Liverpool, who were chasing a top four spot, took the chocolates thanks to a stunning winner from Philippe Coutinho (remember him?), who fired home from all of 25 yards to seal the victory.

City did their best to cause problems for Liverpool and were impressive in attack, but some shoddy defending meant all their hard work was for nothing.

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Klopp won his first clash with City at Anfield | PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

Jurgen Klopp’s first taste of this fixture came in March 2016, when a struggling Liverpool side picked up their biggest victory over City since 1995.

City had just beaten Liverpool on penalties in the League Cup final less than a week earlier, but Klopp’s men got their revenge in emphatic fashion here.

Pellegrini’s side were second best throughout as goals from Adam Lallana, James Milner and Roberto Firmino dented their hopes of challenging Leicester for the league title.

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Guardiola came up short | PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

Klopp vs Guardiola, round one.

Georginio Wijnaldum’s early header decided this one, but it was Klopp who stole the headlines with his energy in the dugout, looking more like a cheerleader than a manager throughout.

Despite City’s firepower in attack, they failed to get the better of a defensive spine which included Dejan Lovren, Ragnar Klavan and Simon Mignolet. Yikes.

Sadio Mane, Andy Robertson
Liverpool survived a late scare | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

One of the best meetings between these two sides came in January 2018, when Klopp’s men survived a late onslaught to walk away with a 4-3 victory.

Goals from Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah in an eight-minute period had Liverpool 4-1 up early in the second half, and despite late strikes from Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan, Liverpool held on to hand City their first loss of the season in their 23rd game.

It was Liverpool’s first game after selling Coutinho to Barcelona, and the Reds proved they would be just fine without him.

Manchester City v Liverpool - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Second Leg
Liverpool were dominant | Visionhaus/Getty Images

The two sides’ next meeting came in the Champions League quarter-final in April 2018, and it was Liverpool who again came out on top.

First-half goals from Salah, Mane and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain decided this one, and Klopp’s side picked up a 2-1 win in the return fixture to book their place in the semi-final with ease.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t all positive for Liverpool that day as a group of fans chose to attack City’s coach before the game, and the last word on this fixture ultimately came from Merseyside police.

Riyad Mahrez
Mahrez missed a crucial penalty | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

We don’t get a lot of goalless draws between these two sides, but both Klopp and Guardiola were left satisfied as they shared the points early in the 2018/19 season.

It looked like City were going to snatch a win late on when Riyad Mahrez stepped up to take a penalty kick, but the £60m signing blazed his effort over the bar.

Truthfully, that was about the only entertaining thing that happened during the game, with both sides clearly not interested in taking risks.

Jurgen Klopp
This was the win that set Liverpool up to win the title | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

City extended their run without a win at Anfield to 19 games when they fell to a 3-1 loss in November 2019.

It was this result which saw most start to view Liverpool as favourites for the league title. Goals from Fabinho, Salah and Mane left Klopp’s Reds eight points clear at the top of the table, and they didn’t take their foot off the gas pedal until they had won the title.

City got some revenge later in the season with a 4-0 win at the Etihad, but Liverpool had already started to switch off at that point. They had won the title, so they simply didn’t care.

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