There's always a first time - Fernandinho eyes Anfield win despite Man City's Champions League trials

By Sports Desk November 07, 2019

Fernandinho believes Manchester City showed the battling qualities they will need to end their Anfield hoodoo during the second half of Wednesday's eventful 1-1 Champions League draw against Atalanta.

Pep Guardiola's side led 1-0 at the interval thanks to Raheem Sterling's sublime seventh-minute opener and should have made their superiority weigh more heavily, with Gabriel Jesus dragging a dismal penalty wide.

But Ederson was withdrawn before the restart due to a thigh injury and substitute goalkeeper Claudio Bravo's first task was to pluck Mario Pasalic's emphatic 49th-minute header from his net.

City struggled to regain their earlier rhythm as Gian Piero Gasperino's men found a frenetic and effective tempo, and Bravo's outing got worse when he was sent off for charging out of his area to foul Josip Ilicic.

That meant Kyle Walker being introduced as an emergency keeper – the right-back's tentative save from Ruslan Malinovskiy's free-kick bringing chants of "England's number one" from the travelling supporters at San Siro.

City held out for a 1-1 draw that left them five points clear at the top of Group C, their progress to the last 16 virtually assured as attention turns towards Sunday's mouth-watering Premier League showdown with Liverpool.

Jurgen Klopp's league leaders are six points ahead of the reigning champions, who last won at Anfield in 2003.

"I think the main thing was the mentality of the guys," said Fernandinho, who was again deployed at centre-back. "In difficult situations like this we have to stick together and we did.

"This is important because we are building a team to be champions and sometimes to be champions you have to play games like this.

"Now it is good because everybody is understanding what we are building."

Guardiola reported Ederson's thigh injury was "not big" but he is unsure whether his influential number one will be available to face Liverpool.

Irrespective of whether his fellow Brazil international recovers in time, Fernandinho feels City will try to end 16-and-a-half years of Merseyside frustration with confidence.

"The mentality is always try to win the game," he added.

"There's always a first time in life, no? We are searching for this first time to win at Anfield. I am confident we can go there and try to win the game.

"Of course, we will see with Ederson's situation. We are going to train and the medical staff are going to check him and we are going to see if he will be fit or not for Sunday."

Related items

  • Gerrard calls for help for officials after Scottish League Cup final defeat Gerrard calls for help for officials after Scottish League Cup final defeat

    Rangers boss Steven Gerrard says his players and the assistant referee need to share responsibility for the 1-0 Scottish League Cup final defeat to Celtic on Sunday, but concedes officials need more help than they are getting.

    Gerrard's side were comfortably the more dominant throughout, carving out a host of clear opportunities and then missing a penalty through Alfredo Morelos just moments after Christopher Jullien's goal for Celtic, who played much of the second half with 10 men.

    Replays appeared to show Jullien in an offside position when he tucked home Ryan Christie's free-kick, leaving Gerrard frustrated the goal was not ruled out, with VAR not yet introduced to Scottish football.

    "Finals are normally decided on big moments and the big moments haven't gone in our favour," he told a media conference.

    "We conceded from a set-piece, which we shouldn't have given away. Once you concede it, you have to defend it better.

    "There were three Celtic players standing in offside positions but unfortunately we play in a country where there is no VAR.

    "I think it [VAR] has taken something away from the game, so I'd be a liar if I said I'm 100 per cent in favour of it.

    "But one thing I do know is that the officials up here do need some support and help because there are too many things, not just for our club but across the board, that they maybe miss and need a bit of support on.

    "I'm not the type of person who blames or look for excuses. The big moments have gone against us today; we are all responsible for that.

    "But the reality is, at the top end of football, you expect the linesman to get one of them right from the three who were in an offside position."

    Many were surprised to see Morelos take the crucial spot-kick ahead of regular taker James Tavernier, but Gerrard was quick to dismiss suggestions his captain passed up the opportunity to step forward.

    "Alfredo was the nominated penalty taker," he explained. "It was nothing to do with James passing the buck or anything like that. I decided we needed to change that up.

    "Unfortunately, we haven't taken our chance in that big moment. People will look back at that moment as the chance to swing the momentum of the whole game in our favour, although we were much the stronger team throughout the 90 minutes anyway."

  • Premier League Review: Vardy shines as Leicester cruise past Aston Villa Premier League Review: Vardy shines as Leicester cruise past Aston Villa

    Leicester City registered a club-record eighth Premier League win a row with a resounding 4-1 defeat of Aston Villa on Sunday.

    The result – aided by a Jamie Vardy brace – means Brendan Rodgers' side go back to within eight points of leaders Liverpool and sees them open a six-point advantage over Manchester City following their defeat to Manchester United on Saturday.

    Sheffield United's impressive return to the top flight continued as they came from behind to beat Norwich City 2-1 at Carrow Road, while Newcastle United left it late to scrape past Southampton by the same scoreline.

    In the day's final game, Diogo Jota scored twice as Wolves and Brighton and Hove Albion played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at the Amex Stadium.

     

    Foxes maintain sensational run

    Vardy's stunning streak continued as he became the first player to score in eight consecutive Premier League games since he previously achieved the feat himself in 2015.

    The 32-year-old claimed goals in a record-breaking 11 matches in a row during Leicester's remarkable title-winning campaign and is now threatening to match or even improve upon that landmark.

    He put Leicester ahead at Villa Park before Kelechi Iheanacho doubled the Foxes' advantage from close range.

    Jack Grealish suggested the hosts could stage a comeback when he scored on the stroke of half-time, but Jonny Evans and Vardy's second sealed yet another three points for Rodgers' relentless side.

    Blades bounce back to overcome Canaries

    Sheffield United remain unbeaten away from home in this season's Premier League after a narrow victory over Norwich City.

    Alexander Tettey had given the hosts a first-half lead, but Chris Wilder's side bounced back after the break courtesy of goals from Enda Stevens and George Baldock.

    The Canaries thought they had been handed an opportunity to claw their way back into the game when Chris Basham was shown a straight red card for a lunge on Kenny McLean, only for a VAR review to downgrade the dismissal to a yellow card.

    The result moves the Blades up to eighth, while Daniel Farke's side remain four points away from safety in 19th.

    Jota double seals away point for Wolves

    Wolves stretched their unbeaten run in the Premier League to 11 games after a draw with Brighton that saw all four goals scored in the first half.

    Jota put the visitors ahead in the 28th minute after playing a one-two with Raul Jimenez before the hosts turned the game on its head with two goals in 96 seconds.

    First, Neal Maupay drew Graham Potter's side level and then Davy Propper put them ahead with a fine header from Leandro Trossard's cross.

    Jota ensured a share of the spoils a minute before the interval, though, turning inside the penalty area and firing past Mat Ryan.

    Magpies' revival continues with hard-fought win

    Jonjo Shelvey scored for a third consecutive game as Newcastle made it four wins from their past six in the Premier League with a late victory over Southampton.

    The Saints went ahead courtesy of Danny Ings' fifth goal in as many games seven minutes into the second half, but Shelvey restored parity in the 68th minute.

    Federico Fernandez had the final say, firing in from close range after Sean Longstaff's shot was parried by goalkeeper Alex McCarthy with three minutes of normal time to go.

  • Football needs Mourinho - Bosingwa pleased ex-Chelsea boss is back at Tottenham Football needs Mourinho - Bosingwa pleased ex-Chelsea boss is back at Tottenham

    Jose Mourinho's appointment at Tottenham has got the approval of Jose Bosingwa, who said "football needs" the old Chelsea boss.

    Spurs replaced Mauricio Pochettino with Mourinho last month and the Portuguese has guided the club to four wins out of five since taking the reins.

    Mourinho, who had been out of work since being sacked by Manchester United last December, was a surprise appointment by Spurs, having previously said he would "not take the job" with Tottenham due to his Chelsea connections.

    However, Bosingwa, who played under Mourinho at Porto, is glad to see his former coach back in work.

    Bosingwa, speaking on behalf of the UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour driven by Nissan, told Omnisport: "I think football needs Mourinho. I'm happy he came back.

    "I hope he will do a good job because he's one of the best managers in the world so for sure he will do a great job."

    Bosingwa was part of Mourinho's Champions League-winning side in 2003-04 and the full-back won Europe's premier club competition again in 2011-12 with Chelsea.

    Success has proved more elusive for Tottenham, though, with the 2007-08 EFL Cup the most recent trophy the north London side won.

    Asked whether Mourinho could end that wait for silverware, former Portugal international Bosingwa replied: "Tottenham have a good squad, maybe one of the best squads in the Premier League.

    "It's not easy [to win trophies] but I hope he does."

    Tottenham's rivals Arsenal are currently looking for a new head coach after sacking Unai Emery last month.

    Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo is one of those to have been linked with the vacancy and Bosingwa believes his compatriot has earned a shot at a top club.

    "I think he deserves [this], the next two or three years," Bosingwa said.

    "He's doing very well with his team now, so he deserves [this]. Let's see what will happen."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.