Liverpool senses their former self ad Adam Lallana drifted in a from the left and his floated cross was met by Giorgio Wijnaldum, whose perfectly time run allowed him to tower over Aleksandar Kolarov and plant a header past Claudio Bravo. A goal that later settled the two sides at Annfield.
For much of the first period, Jurgen Klopp could claim tactical mastery over his old Bundesliga sparring partner Pep Guardiola in the City dugout and it is Liverpool’s superstar manager who now looks the most likely challenger to Antonio Conte in the battle for the league title.
A grapple for a place in the top four would mark something of a downgrade on Guardiola’s previous exploits in charge of Barcelona and Bayern Munich, but Klopp, who ultimately laboured under his rival’s latter successes while in charge of Borussia Dortmund, might just have introduced him to a new reality.
But Guardiola’s men might drop to fifth in the table if Arsenal and Tottenham pick up wins over Crystal Palace and Watford on New Year’s Day respectively.