Neville: City haven’t learned to handle Anfield ‘washing machine’

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Neville: City haven’t learned to handle Anfield ‘washing machine’

Manchester City are yet to learn how to handle the Anfield “washing machine”, says Gary Neville, after an out-of-sorts performance saw them draw 1-1 against Liverpool on Super Sunday.

Pep Guardiola’s side went ahead in the first half as John Stones turned home Kevin De Bruyne’s fine corner. But for much of the second half, they struggled against a rejuvenated Liverpool, who equalised through Alexis Mac Allister’s penalty.

It is yet another game where Pep Guardiola has failed to win at Anfield. He has only done so once against Liverpool in his tenure at Man City, that result coming in February 2021 when fans were not allowed into stadiums due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Of course, Man City are not the only team to struggle at the famous Merseyside ground, and Neville offered some explanation as to why Guardiola’s team were not victorious this time around.

On the latest Gary Neville Podcast, he said: “I thought City would win here today. I said at half-time that City could regret the way in which they approached the last 15 minutes of the first half.

“I don’t know why they do it here, I don’t know why they’ve not learnt.

“They’re a brilliant team, one of the best we’ve ever seen, but they went 1-0 up and then started to relax on the ball. They started to walk to throw-ins, reduce their tempo and rhythm they were in and rely upon. You just invite this mayhem and chaos.

“I once described Anfield as being like thrown in a washing machine, tumbled around. That’s how it used to be like for us sometimes. You can be going ok and then your world caves in all around you.

“The big disappointment for Pep Guardiola will be from the first goal going until half time. That’s the period of the game where they I thought they could have gone for it. They started ambling in the game, almost like killing the clock.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the Premier League clash between Liverpool and Manchester City.

“You can’t kill the clock here. They won’t go quiet this lot, they always come back. You’ve got to go and get the second goal. You’ve got to believe you need that second and then the third. You’re never safe in this ground.

“As soon as that mistake happens from Ake and Ederson [for the Liverpool penalty], you know all hell is going to break loose and then you’re fighting for your lives in the game.

“To win here, you can’t think you’re ok. You can’t let moments drift. You might let the clock run down with three minutes to go, but you can’t do it with 65 minutes to go and that’s what I felt City tried to do.

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Jamie Carragher, Roy Keane and Micah Richards analyse Liverpool’s late penalty appeal as Jeremy Doku raised his foot in a challenge with Alexis Mac Allister

“They started making passes and standing – and stopped making those runs forward into the box alongside Haaland.

“Once you stop doing that, you’ve got a tidal wave coming towards you and that’s what they had in the second half. Waves of pressure and you can’t stop it then because once they have that at Anfield, it’s very difficult to turn it around.

“But Liverpool in the second half were outstanding. What a great game. Both managers will be proud. It was how a big game should be, it was a monster of a match.”

Guardiola: We survived ‘tsunami’ at Anfield

Man City manager Pep Guardiola:

“We spoke at half-time that in this stadium, if you have to defend something, you have to play and play and play.

“We gave away the penalty and, sooner or later, with this stadium, you have 15 or 20 minutes and it looks like a tsunami coming for everybody who has the ball.

“It is not easy but we never stopped trying to play. They had their chances, we had our chances and at the end of the game it (draw) is what happened.”

The result sees Liverpool go level on points with Arsenal, with the Gunners remaining top on goal difference. Man City are a point behind in third place, with 10 Premier League games to play.

However, Neville points out that the Reds may have missed a moment to take points off of their rivals, who he described as “on the ropes” in the second half.

The Sky Sports pundit added: “The only thing about this City team is they are a machine and I think how well Liverpool have done today but you can’t rely upon other teams to take points off City, you’ve got to do it yourself.

“I don’t think anybody will have Man City on the ropes. Arsenal could but it’s at the Etihad. Are they really going to have them on the ropes like Liverpool did in the second half? Arsenal can do well at the Etihad, as tough as it will be because they are playing really well.

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Gary Neville believes Arsenal have to come away from the Etihad with a win over Manchester City if they want to stand any chance of winning this year’s Premier League.

“City were anxious and nervy – on the ropes. It’s brilliant seeing them like that because they’re a team of ultimate composure and melodic every season and all of a sudden they were on a roundabout, spinning for five minutes.

“I said they didn’t have their boots on the right feet at one point. They completely can’t handle this ground. The City fans at the end were clapping because they knew they withstood a barrage in that second half.”

There was also praise for outgoing Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp after an impressive performance, especially given the plethora of injuries in his side.

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The Super Sunday studio team debate where they think the Premier League trophy may end up with three teams fighting it out in one of the tightest-ever title races.

“For Jurgen Klopp to extract that performance in this game is something else,” Neville said. “He’s a great, great manager.

“To do that to Man City, to make it uncomfortable and chaotic for them. It works. He has no fear, he doesn’t step backwards, he goes forwards at them. His team follow him.

“If you think they had no Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Jota and Salah wasn’t on the pitch for large parts. That’s a weakened Liverpool side that have done that to Man City. Credit to Liverpool for doing that and credit to City for withstanding the pressure and coming out with a point, that’s respectable here when you’ve been beat up in the second half.”

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