Avik Bose:Unbeaten in the first 5 months of the campaign,3 points to English title, a quarter-final clash against a so-called “vulnerable defense” of Liverpool… all seemed to be scripted in heaven. A 3-0 away defeat in the 1st leg of the quarterfinal against Liverpool and being humbled on home turf by arch rivals Man United, Pep’s men had no choice but to produce a barrage of attacks on the Liverpool defense come the 2nd leg of the tie.
Pep Guardiola v/s JurgenKlopp, calm tactician against an industrious soldier, Manchester City v/s Liverpool,Champions League Quarter-final. Present glare against a rich European heritage…Nobody has tasted greater success over Pep than Klopp.2nd minute of the game made the aggregate look City 1 – 3 Liverpool. Start which even the most optimistic City fans wouldn’t have dreamt of. A line up consisting of G.Jesus, Sane, De Brunye, D.Silva, Sterling, B.Silva, were ready to pounce on any mistake of a Red shirt. The high scoring trio of Liverpool consisting of Mane, Firmino and the phenomenal Egyptian ‘Salah’ were kept at bay as De Brunye, D. Silva spun the threads. Liverpool were under severe pressure with a 50-50decision going in the Red’s favour denying Sane from scoring his team’s 2nd goal. B.Silva’s was dribbling like his Portuguese national team captain and even got his outrageous effort clipped by Liverpool’s no.6 to hit the post. Liverpool was living on a thread against the beast like attack and a halftime breather was more than welcome.
As said by the famous Sir Alex Ferguson,” attack wins you matches…defense wins you titles”, Liverpool were on course of putting up their stubborn defense for display again,until it was 56th minute on the match-watch. It was the time for the inevitable. The man who has taken the world by storm. Yes, not the Egyptian Messi rather the first “Mohamed Salah” who chipped past Ederson effortlessly to extinguish whatever fire the blues had.Standing in a pose to accept the gratitude of the Liverpool fans after scoring he certainly looked nothing less than the “Pharaoh of Egypt”. Someone quite rightly sang “At The End Of The Storm, There’s A Golden Sky”…. 77th minute saw Firmino punishing City and scoring the winner in order to seal the aggregate score by a margin of 5-1. Liverpool marched into the semis, a place where they belong, a status they crave for. The only unbeaten team in the competition indeed deserved more than anyone to move 1 step closer to glory. Passion and tireless work-ethic took centre-stage again. 5 times champion is on course for the 6th title, highest scoring team of this year’s Champions League with the hottest prospect in world football right now “Mohamed Salah” indeed has only complacency to fear. Thus on a day, on which Etihad’s dream of conquering the greatest silverware in world football broke apart, resurgence of the golden era was on the minds of the Red army. Who knows what’s instore for the mighty Reds but there’s no harm in believing and when you surge ahead together… indeed