Friday 17 August 2018

Gabriel Jesus completed six passes in nightmare Man City first half - three of them from kick-offs

Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus reacts Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine
Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus reacts Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine

Daniel Zeqiri

Manchester City's best laid plans were in tatters after a disastrous first 45 minutes at Anfield on Wednesday - and Gabriel Jesus' struggles typified their night.

The forward completed just six passes in the first half of City's 3-0 Champions League defeat against Liverpool, three of them from kick-offs.

The Brazilian was an isolated figure as Pep Guardiola's side uncharacteristically struggled to pass their way out of trouble.

The Man City manager might regret picking an extra-midfielder in Ilkay Gundogan at the expense of Raheem Sterling, with City put under inssecant pressure by a Liverpool team urged on by a raucous home crowd.

Things barely improved for Jesus in a second period in which City failed to score an away goal.

First he was booked for a frustrated challenge on the ever-present James Milner, then saw a goal chalked off when provider Leroy Sane was deemed offside.

As City chased the goal that may have changed the complexion of the tie, Jesus and Sterling got in each other's way and another counter-attack broke down.

Guardiola has now won just five of 24 away knockout ties in the Champions League and City will need something spectacular at the Etihad to turn the tide.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson said: "We knew the atmosphere would be brilliant and it was, and we made the most of that. Second half they came at us more, we dropped deep at times.

"Our game is about working together as a team and we did that brilliantly. We all chipped in with the hard yards. It's only the first leg. I didn't make many fouls in the game so it's disappointing to miss out next week."

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