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Wednesday 16 October 2019

Reds lifted by Barca triumph but title is City’s

Liverpool players, and manager Jurgen Klopp, sing a rendition of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ with the fans in the Kop End after Tuesday’s victory over Barcelona. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool players, and manager Jurgen Klopp, sing a rendition of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ with the fans in the Kop End after Tuesday’s victory over Barcelona. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Liverpool go into the final weekend of the Premier League season on Sunday thinking that, after that win over Barcelona, anything can happen and the belief will be there that they can finish the season on a high

But I can't see Manchester City throwing it away at this stage.

It's only natural that the Barca win will get Liverpool thinking that maybe someone else can do them a favour and that luck is on their side this season. So they will go out against Wolves with the attitude that they will do their own bit and then see what happens in the other game.

The two games kick off at the same time so Liverpool can only influence things in their game. Their job is to beat Wolves and they can't do anything else, so their approach has to be, 'we win this game no matter what, if we win the league it's brilliant, if it's not enough to win the title then we have done all we can'.

It would be unbearable for Liverpool to come off that pitch on Sunday knowing that they didn't beat Wolves but that City failed to beat Brighton.

Nerves

Against Leicester on Monday, City did show some nerves on the pitch, there were nerves in the crowd, and they needed that great goal from Vincent Kopmany to win it.

You don't often see centre halves score like that. I tried plenty of shots from distance like that in my career and none of them were on target, but to give Kopmany credit, he took on the captain's role and got the goal that the team needed.

Brighton is not an easy game. Chris Hughton's team defended really well against Arsenal last Sunday, and their players know that the whole football world is watching their game this weekend. It will be a nervous day but City will get there in the end.

Liverpool fans might think that their name is on the title because of what happened in midweek but, likewise, City supporters will think that they won the game they had to win with a goal from a 33-year-old defender who never shoots.

It will be a massive shock if City don't win it. They have generally been better than every team they have played this season and no matter how good Liverpool were at home to Barca, City are just too strong.

I don't know Jurgen Klopp at all so I can only judge him from what I see on TV. He is full of enthusiasm and character and he gets the best out of all of his players. They keep going no matter what, so his influence is there to see in the players.

Needing to win 4-0 against Barcelona was such a big ask, a seemingly impossible challenge, but they just grew in confidence with every goal they scored. There was so much talk before the game about Liverpool's history and the atmosphere at Anfield on those big nights, and I think even Barcelona started to believe it. When Liverpool's second goal went in I just saw the shoulders drop on those Barca players - they were in trouble, Liverpool fed off that and the whole placed lifted up.

You would have to be very critical of the way Barcelona defended for that winning goal. They were in a serious situation at the time so they should have been on high alert

It was brilliant play from Trent Alexander-Arnold but as a defender, your job is to be ready and it's unforgivable that no Barca players were even looking at the ball. It's hard to believe that such a talented team was all over the place. Nobody semed to be in control at the back for them.

The first rule in the game is that you keep your eye on the ball and Barca forgot that. You can't blame their manager for that. It's down to the players, they just switched off, and one thing you can't do in a Champions League semi-final is switch off.

With all of that said, Liverpool's performance was sensational. It reminded me of Ireland when we played France in Paris back in 2009. Nobody gave us a hope going into the game but the prize at the end of it all was so big for us, as players, that something just lifted us. Anfield had a sense of that.

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