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Man City’s Mersey hoodoo: It’s been 16 years since their last win at Anfield

Riyad Mahrez fired his penalty high into the Merseyside sky, and hid his face behind his hands. Anfield erupted.

Liverpool held on for a 0-0 draw and confirmed the continuation of Manchester City’s sorry record on the red half of Merseyside.

It has been over 16 years since they have tasted victory there. That’s 18 games, if you include a League Cup semi-final in 2012 and the Champions League quarter-final last year. 

Nicolas Anelka celebrates after netting from the spot in Manchester City’s last win at Anfield

Milan Baros had given Liverpool the lead in the game at Anfield back in May 2003

Milan Baros had given Liverpool the lead in the game at Anfield back in May 2003

Sylvain Distin and David Sommeil celebrate City's victory over their rivals 16 years ago

Sylvain Distin and David Sommeil celebrate City’s victory over their rivals 16 years ago

It is the closest they have come to breaking their Mersey misery since Nicolas Anelka thumped home a left-footed bounding volley to silence the Kop in May 2003.

CITY AT ANFIELD SINCE 2003

February 11, 2004: Liverpool 2-1 Man City

August 21, 2004: Liverpool 2-1 Man City

February 26, 2006: Liverpool 1-0 Man City

November 25, 2006: Liverpool 1-0 Man City

May 4, 2008: Liverpool 1-0 Man City

February 22, 2009: Liverpool 1-1 Man City

November 21, 2009: Liverpool 2-2 Man City

April 11, 2011: Liverpool 3-0 Man City

November 27, 2011: Liverpool 1-1 Man City

January 25, 2012: Liverpool 2-2 Man City (League Cup)

August 26, 2012: Liverpool 2-2 Man City

April 13, 2014: Liverpool 3-2 Man City

March 1, 2015: Liverpool 2-1 Man City

March 2, 2016: Liverpool 3-0 Man City

December 31, 2016: Liverpool 1-0 Man City

January 14, 2018: Liverpool 4-3 Man City

April 4, 2018: Liverpool 3-0 Man City (Champions League)

October 7, 2018: Liverpool 0-0 Man City

Back then City were a very different animal, back in the Premier League after promotion under Kevin Keegan. They have been there ever since.

Gerard Houllier’s Liverpool were chasing Champions League qualification, and had it in their own hands with just two games to go.

Milan Baros gave them the lead on the stroke of the hour before Anelka equalised from the spot 15 minutes later and then sensationally snatched it at the end.

Anelka’s late intervention, after being passed over by Houllier in favour of El-Hadji Diouf the previous summer, swung the momentum in Chelsea’s favour.

They won the infamous fourth-place play-off at Stamford Bridge a week later. It was the beginning of the end for the Frenchman at Anfield, and he was sacked 12 months later.

It was also the beginning of the end for City’s Anfield joy. It has been misery, near-misses and thrashings ever since. 

Up until the Abu Dhabi investment in 2008, City were always the underdogs in this clash. But they gave as good as they got, only losing by one-goal margins five years on the spin.

For the last 11 years City have not necessarily been favourites,  but have at least arrived at Anfield with a target on their back. From the Premier League’s nouveaux riches, to top-four rivals, to champions and now, finally, title rivals. 

Craig Bellamy ended the rot in February 2009 but Dirk Kuyt earned the Reds a draw with an equaliser 12 minutes from time. In November it was the turn of Yossi Benayoun to score a 77th minute leveller in a 2-2 draw.

MAN CITY’S 10 WORST RECORDS AT AWAY GROUNDS IN PREMIER LEAGUE
PL – Away (Overall) Venue P W D L F A GD Pts PPG
Arsenal Highbury 9 0 2 7 4 18 -14 2 0.22
Liverpool Anfield 22 1 6 15 20 44 -24 9 0.41
Middlesbrough Riverside Stadium 10 1 3 6 11 25 -14 6 0.60
Tottenham Hotspur White Hart Lane 20 4 3 13 23 32 -9 15 0.75
Chelsea Stamford Bridge 22 4 5 13 18 39 -21 17 0.77
Coventry City Highfield Road 5 1 1 3 5 10 -5 4 0.80
Leeds United Elland Road 7 2 0 5 6 12 -6 6 0.86
Portsmouth Fratton Park 7 2 1 4 8 11 -3 7 1.00
West Ham United Boleyn Ground 15 4 4 7 17 23 -6 16 1.07
Arsenal Emirates Stadium 13 3 5 5 14 14 0 14 1.08
Riyad Mahrez missed from the spot in last season's goalless stalemate on Merseyside

Riyad Mahrez missed from the spot in last season’s goalless stalemate on Merseyside

Mohamed Salaha and Andy Robertson celebrate during Liverpool's 4-3 win in January 2018

Mohamed Salaha and Andy Robertson celebrate during Liverpool’s 4-3 win in January 2018

Liverpool's players celebrate a 3-0 victory over Manchester City at Anfield in March 2016

Liverpool’s players celebrate a 3-0 victory over Manchester City at Anfield in March 2016

Philippe Coutinho's goal edged a pulsating 3-2 classic between the two sides in April 2014

Philippe Coutinho’s goal edged a pulsating 3-2 classic between the two sides in April 2014

The next season Andy Carroll scored his first Liverpool goals as City were trounced 3-0 in April 2011. In November that year a Joleon Lescott cancelled out a Vincent Kompany header as Mario Balotelli saw red for the visitors.

City were back two months later for the second-leg of a Carling Cup semi-final. Craig Bellamy’s 74th goal earned a 2-2 draw in an Anfield thriller, with Liverpool progressing to the final after winning at the Etihad a fortnight earlier.

Roberto Mancini’s champions were held in August the next season, where Martin Skrtel’s calamitous late error allowed Carlos Tevez to score.

WORST GROUND-BY-GROUND RECORD FOR SIDES IN PREMIER LEAGUE SINCE 2003-04
PL – Away since 2003-04 Opponent Venue P W D L F A GD Pts PPG
Manchester City Liverpool Anfield 16 0 5 11 14 29 -15 5 0.31
Everton Manchester United Old Trafford 16 1 4 11 12 30 -18 7 0.44
Everton Liverpool Anfield 16 0 7 9 8 27 -19 7 0.44
Tottenham Hotspur Chelsea Stamford Bridge 16 1 5 10 13 31 -18 8 0.50
Manchester United Chelsea Stamford Bridge 16 1 5 10 13 28 -15 8 0.50
Everton Chelsea Stamford Bridge 16 0 8 8 11 27 -16 8 0.50
Tottenham Hotspur Liverpool Anfield 17 1 6 10 16 32 -16 9 0.53
Arsenal Manchester United Old Trafford 17 1 6 10 14 30 -16 9 0.53
Tottenham Hotspur Manchester United Old Trafford 16 3 2 11 12 28 -16 11 0.69
Liverpool Manchester United Old Trafford 17 3 3 11 18 28 -10 12 0.71
Vincent Kompany looks on after City thought they had handed the league title to Liverpool

Vincent Kompany looks on after City thought they had handed the league title to Liverpool

James Milner lets out a groan as Roberto Mancini's champions were held to a 2-2 draw in 2012

James Milner lets out a groan as Roberto Mancini’s champions were held to a 2-2 draw in 2012

Andy Carroll celebrates netting his first ever goal for Liverpool during a 3-0 win in April 2011

Andy Carroll celebrates netting his first ever goal for Liverpool during a 3-0 win in April 2011

They next met as title rivals in April 2014, with emotions running high at Anfield the hosts raced into a two-goal lead through Raheem Sterling and Skrtel. City hit back after half-time before Philippe Coutinho fired home a winner, setting up a finale made famous by Steven Gerrard’s ‘This does not slip’ speech. The rest is history.

It was the first of six successive wins for Liverpool over City at Anfield. Coutinho struck another winner in March 2015, a year later Jurgen Klopp’s men avenged their League Cup final defeat with a comfortable 3-0 win.

Georginio Wijnaldum’s header decided a pulsating New Year’s Eve clash in 2016.

In January 2018 Liverpool blitzed Pep Guardiola’s champions elect in an extraordinary second-half which yielded three goals in nine minutes. It lost them their Invinicble tag and scarred them for their next visit in a Champions League quarter-final first leg.

AVERAGES AT ANFIELD SINCE 2003-04
PL away at Anfield since 2003-04 (per game)
Team Games Conceded Shots Faced Avg Possession
Man City 16 1.8 15.6 48.2
Everyone 309 2.0 19.3 41.1
Fernando Torres slots home to give Liverpool victory in their final home game in 2007-08

Fernando Torres slots home to give Liverpool victory in their final home game in 2007-08

Steven Gerrard lets fly from range and finds the back of the net in a 1-0 win in November 2006

Steven Gerrard lets fly from range and finds the back of the net in a 1-0 win in November 2006

Harry Kewell's goal past David James was the difference between the clubs in February 2006

Harry Kewell’s goal past David James was the difference between the clubs in February 2006

On that April night it was a first-half blitz which did for Guardiola’s men in a 3-0 defeat. Liverpool won again at the Etihad a week later and made the final in Kiev that year.

Last year City were ready and a rather humdrum stalemate followed. It was a good result, they beat Liverpool at home in January and won the league by a single point. 

But when Mahrez blazed that 85th minute penalty high over the bar it laid bare the Anfield hoodoo. Their record at Anfield is their second worst at any ground in Premier League history, with just one win in 22 attempts. Only their record at Highbury was worse, with no wins in nine games.

Since the win in 2003, their record at Anfield is worse than any other ever-present Premier League side at any other ground. It has been five draws and 11 defeats from 16.

Victory this weekend would both end a hoodoo and ignite a title race. There would be no better time to do it.

Steven Gerrard and Nicolas Anelka embrace after Liverpool's 2-1 win over City in August 2004

Steven Gerrard and Nicolas Anelka embrace after Liverpool’s 2-1 win over City in August 2004

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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