Manchester City’s treble hopes are hanging by a thread after they suffered a 3-0 first-leg defeat against Liverpool in the Champions League.
Mohamed Salah inspired a first-half blitz as Liverpool seized control of their Champions League quarter-final tie against Manchester City with a stunning 3-0 win at Anfield.
As expected, the first leg of the all-English tie provided plenty of goals, albeit few predicted Jurgen Klopp’s side would score three without reply against the Premier League champions-elect.
Salah broke the deadlock in the 12th minute, grabbing his 38th goal of a prolific season after Roberto Firmino had capitalised on Kyle Walker’s failure to clear the danger.
Guardiola waited only 12 minutes into the second half to bring on Sterling, who was welcomed back to his old stomping ground by a chorus of boos – his only contribution luring Henderson into a rash tackle that earned him a booking and a suspension.
Klopp was forced into an early substitution in the second half too, Salah disappearing down the tunnel to have treatment after pulling up.
Georginio Wijnaldum’s introduction signalled a reshuffle but Liverpool struggled to clear their own territory as they were pegged back by City’s relentless passing.
Yet for all their patient probing, and despite dominating possession, the visitors failed to test goalkeeper Loris Karius in front of a raucous Kop, leaving them facing a monumental task in the return fixture at the Etihad Stadium.
Liverpool know a thing or two about dramatic comebacks in Europe, yet they – not City – are the ones in pole position to reach the last four.