Football Features

“The best midfielder in the world” – Full player ratings as Man City obliterate champions Liverpool 4-0

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 22:20, 2 July 2020

In an emphatic night of football, Manchester City obliterated Premier League champions Liverpool at the Etihad.

After applauded the Reds onto the field, Pep Guardiola’s men played Jurgen Klopp’s boys right off it. It was an utterly dominant victory that equalled a record (beating a sitting champion in the season they won it) set by Liverpool themselves, and it reminded everyone that a Manchester City side in full-cry can take any team to task.

Here’s how the players rated at the Etihad Stadium:

Manchester City

Ederson – 7 – Wonderful bit of sweeper-keeping on the half-hour. Did what he had to do with ease.

Kyle Walker – 6 – Solid when tested 1v1 but often left too much space for Mané to play in. Needlessly barged Mané in the back to almost give away a penalty.

Eric Garcia – 6 – Struggled to handle Mané’s movement but otherwise defended space quite well.

Aymeric Laporte – 7 – Calm and composed as always.

Benjamin Mendy – 7 – Weak defending to allow Firmino rebound early on. Constantly out of position early on but did start the counter for the second goal quite nicely. After that he really stepped up to defend his flank well.

Rodri – 7 – Cool and calm in the middle of the pitch.

Ilkay Gundogan – 8 – Kept things ticking over in midfield. Always in control.

Kevin De Bruyne – 9 – Absolutely phenomenal performance from the Belgian. Some great movement and supreme passes, devastating Liverpool between the lines. The hub of all City’s attacks he had a hand in all four goals (scoring, assisting twice and enabling an assist with a sublime decoy run) and created numerous chances besides. It was a symphonic display from Manchester City, led by their magical maestro; the best midfielder in the world and comfortably the second-best player on the planet. Only Leo Messi stands above Kevin de Bruyne in game-altering genius. Right now no one else can come close.

Phil Foden – 9 – A hurricane display from the English youngster, unleashing his full potential on the Premier League champions. His movement was always bright and sharp and he provided a genuine threat in behind the Liverpool defence. Set up City’s second goal was a cool pass and scored the third with a thunderously confident finish following a quite excellent one-two with De Bruyne.

Raheem Sterling – 9 – Excellent skill and persistence to force a foul from Joe Gomez and win his side a penalty. Scored City’s second goal with a laser-guided near-post finish and forced the fourth with a lovely display of balance albeit his shot was headed wide before Oxlade-Chamberlain’s intervention. Seemed to banish a few demons.

Gabriel Jesus – 7 – Missed a great chance to make it 2-0 after a De Bruyne through-ball. Pressed well and linked his team-mates nicely but didn’t threaten himself. Subbed off early.

Substitutes:

Riyad Mahrez (for Jesus 58′) – 7 – Came on and looked threatening. Played a part in City’s fourth goal and scored a fifth before VAR cruelly denied him for Foden’s accidental handball.

Joao Cancelo (for Walker 73′) – 5 – Didn’t get much of a chance to show off his attacking prowess.

Nicolas Otamendi (for Laporte 78′) – 6 – Defended reasonably well.

Bernardo Silva (for Sterling 79′) – 5 – Came on late.

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Liverpool

Alisson – 5 – Not at his sharpest and Liverpool suffered as a result.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 5 – Typically light on the defensive end but unusually didn’t do much in attack.

Joe Gomez – 3 – Foolish defending to foul Raheem Sterling and concede a penalty. Got absolutely blitzed by Sterling for City’s second goal as well. A torrid first Premier League defeat since 2018 for Gomez, who was subbed at half-time.

Virgil van Dijk – 5 – Overwhelmed. Absolutely obliterated by quick movement for Foden’s goal. Got his revenge second-half by clearing a Foden shot off the line in the second-half.

Andy Robertson – 4 – Absolutely absent as a defensive force. Exposed repeatedly by City on the break.

Fabinho – 4 – Unable to stem the tide of City midfielders gliding through midfield. Moved to centre-back second-half. Didn’t help much.

Jordan Henderson – 6 – A non-event from Liverpool’s captain in the first-half. Kept on working, however, and was better in the second-half. Created a fantastic chance for Mané with a lovely pass.

Georginio Wijnaldum – 5 – Anonymous in the middle both defensively and offensively.

Mohamed Salah – 6 – Great shot saved well early. Tortured City with his movement. Hit the post 20 minutes gone.

Roberto Firmino – 5 – Almost scored early, but his weak effort was easily saved. Not influential enough.

Sadio Mané – 6 – Some penetrative runs early on. Excellent unselfish use of the ball and constantly giving City headaches. The only Liverpool player to really look “at it” albeit he spurned a fantastic chance to score when played through on goal.

Substitutes:

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (for Gomez 46′) – 5 – Looked brighter than his team-mates. Unfortunate to score an own goal.

Divock Origi (for Firmino 62′) – 5 – Drove well at City’s defenders but produced nothing.

Naby Keita (for Wijnaldum 62′) – 5 – Was more noticeable than Wijnaldum, let’s put it like that.

Neco Williams (for Alexander-Arnold 76′) – 5 – Was alright.

Takumi Minamino (for Mané 85′) – n/a – Came on late.