A day after Liverpool got a fortunate break, Wolverhampton Wanderers just handed them an even bigger one.
Wolves went into the Etihad Stadium and stunned Manchester City 2-0, with a pair of late goals by Adama Traoré wrapping up three points for the visitors.
That leaves Liverpool now eight points clear atop the Premier League table. City has won the last two league titles, including the most dominant season in English top-flight history two years ago and a thrilling race to the finish with the Reds last campaign.
With Liverpool seemingly hellbent on ending a three-decade title drought domestically, every little margin counts, and those little margins are already adding up against City.
Once again Sunday, their bite was absent in the final third. City dominated possession but generated the same amount of shots on target (two) as Wolves. And they were doomed by a counter led by Mexican international Raúl Jiménez that produced Traoré’s first goal in the 80th minute:
In the fourth minute of stoppage time, Jiménez hit a clever pass with the outside of his right foot, and Traoré did the rest to seal the victory:
All the usual caveats apply here. City is still great. Even banged up, the squad is flush with quality. Pep Guardiola is a mastermind. It all deserves to be washed, rinsed and repeated.
But after a fifth of the season, Liverpool’s lead isn’t inconsiderable. Combine that with the focus they’re clearly putting on the Premier League and lacking in other competitions, mix in City’s open desire to finally summit the Champions League, and the Reds are sitting pretty going forward.
They’re also winning games when they’re not at their best. They eked out a result against Sheffield United last weekend thanks to a goalkeeper error, and got a fortunate late whistle that led to James Milner’s winning penalty against Leicester on Saturday.
City isn’t getting the same breaks. Sunday marks the first time Guardiola’s City has lost at home in the Premier League before December, and while Wolves is one of the better teams in England, their defense has been shaky and their season off to a rocky start. This is a game City really should have won, and the fact they didn’t is loud enough without Liverpool doing what they’re doing.
Credit is due to the visitors, and questions are also due to City. How else are we supposed to feel with the way things are shaping up?
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