The Sunday Mail
BY the time this game had finished Ederson, Manchester City’s goalkeeper, had just reappeared from the x-ray suite at the nearby clinic where he had been taken to check his cheekbone or jaw were still in working order. Ederson had been caught flush in the face, head-high, by Sadio Mané’s flying studs and the red card that was shown does at least offer Liverpool some kind of excuse for this score line.
Not entirely, though.
Liverpool’s response to going a man down did not exactly offer great encouragement about the competitive courage of this team and, not for the first time, it was difficult to imagine any possibly way Jürgen Klopp can achieve his ambitions if his side are going to defend this generously. Liverpool crumbled far too easily and once City scent blood they can be cruel opponents.
Pep Guardiola’s team were already winning courtesy of Sergio Agüero’s goal by the time the referee, Jon Moss, decided that Mané’s collision with Ederson 25 yards from goal constituted dangerous play eight minutes before half-time.
Gabriel Jesus headed in a second in the fifth minute out of eight that had been added on, taking Ederson’s injury into account, at the end of the first half and when the same player made it 3-0 eight minutes into the second half it was almost a surprise City restricted themselves to only two more. Leroy Sané, one of their second-half substitutes, scored them both and Ederson was back in the stadium to see the final one – the game’s outstanding moment – fly into the top corner.
This was certainly not the way Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, a second-half substitute, must have envisaged his Liverpool debut going and the punishment for Mané will be considerable. He will miss their next two league fixtures – Burnley and Leicester – and a Carabao Cup game against the Foxes.
Will Liverpool appeal?
Possibly, but it is unlikely to make any difference. As red cards go, however, this one will always polarise opinion.
Mané’s sympathisers will argue that he was entitled to go for the ball and that it was an accidental collision.
Equally, his studs were way off the ground, if the argument is whether it constituted dangerous play.
All that can really be said for certain is that it left Ederson motionless on the ground with a clutch of City players frantically waving for medical assistance. The goalkeeper had taken an almighty whack, requiring fully eight minutes of treatment, and it was lamentable that some Liverpool fans seemed to hold him responsible, booing as the stretcher bearers prepared to take him off the field. — Guardian