City’s dismal Anfield record examined

Manchester City
Liverpool's youngsters have reached their first FA Youth Cup final in 10 years after a 2-1 win over Watford at Anfield.

If Manchester City are to reduce the gap at the top of the table to Liverpool on Sunday they will have to put an end to their miserable record at Anfield.

City have a shockingly poor record away at Liverpool in the modern era, winning only once at Anfield since 1981 – and that was 16 years ago.

The 2-1 triumph at the end of the 2002-03 season, when former Reds loan star Nicolas Anelka struck twice for a City side that also contained Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler, is the last time the away fans were able to celebrate all three points at Anfield.

But it’s a record they must put right this weekend if they want to close the gap on the leaders to three points as part of their overall quest to make it three successive Premier League title wins.

Incredibly, for a team as talented as City, they appear to shut down when visiting Liverpool but, with what’s at stake on Sunday, there’s no better time for Pep Guardiola’s men to flex their muscles and remind Jurgen Klopp’s side who they are up against in the title race.

For whatever reason, City have not performed at Anfield and have been subjected to some chastening defeats in recent years.

Andy Carroll didn’t make much of an impact at Liverpool following his big move from Newcastle in 2011 but he did strike a double against City in a 3-0 win in April 2011, while a Philippe Coutinho goal three years later gave Brendan Rodgers’ side a 3-2 win which, at the time, took the Reds a step closer to the title. They would end up losing out to the Citizens in the big battle that season, but in the years that followed still City have struggled to impose themselves despite dominating the domestic scene.

Coutinho again struck the winner in 2015 in a 2-1 win, a 3-0 success followed a year later, while a Georginio Wijnaldum header was enough to settle it on New Year’s Eve in 2016.

There was then the memorable 4-3 win for the Reds in January 2018, which sounds closer than it was after two late goals from City made it a nervous finish for Klopp’s side, before the Merseysiders blew their familiar opponents away in the Champions League semi-final a few months later, winning 3-0 with all three goals coming inside the first 31 minutes.

Last season, City wasted a great chance to end their horrible record when Riyad Mahrez blazed a late penalty over the bar in a subdued 0-0 draw which brings us up to date.

The law of averages says an away win in this fixture must happen soon and City know if they can achieve it on Sunday it could be their most important result of the season.