The first game of the 2019 calendar year was against Manchester City which was the turning point for Liverpool’s season. The game was played at the Etihad Stadium with Manchester City hoping to close the 7 point gap to 4 points.
In the first half, John Stones incredibly cleared the ball off the line after Sadio Mane hit the post then Mohamed Salah shot was cleared by Stones onto the goal keeper which was heading in. However, Stones scrambled to the line to clear the ball, which seemed to be over the line, but according to goal line technology it did not completely cross the line by a few millimetres.
Hence, Sergio Aguero scored in the 40th minute to lead City into the second half but Roberto Firmino equalised in the 64th minute after a superb team build-up. However, City’s Leroy Sane scored in the 72nd minute to give City the victory and Liverpool first and only loss in the Premier League.
Liverpool crashed out of the FA Cup against Wolves in the 3rd round with a weaker side facing the newly-promoted Premier League but it did not concern Liverpool fans or the manager.
The final game before an international break, Liverpool faced Crystal Palace which seems to be out of character for the defence with Liverpool struggling against their attack. Even though Liverpool won due to the goalkeeper’s mistake, Liverpool seems to be for the first time this season, not in control.
The next two games proved to be devastating for Liverpool’s title bid by losing a possible of 4 points of 6. Mane opens the game in the 3rd minute against Leicester at Anfield but Harry Maguire manages to score from a long-range freekick at the closing seconds of the first half. Liverpool failed to break down the Leicester defence with all their possession which ended in a draw.
While the manager and many fans believe this was a one-off, West Ham held Liverpool back again in a 1-1 draw after Liverpool scored a controversial goal because the build-up to it was offside but Michail Antonio equalised in the 28th minute.
Liverpool bounces back with a comfortable victory against Bournemouth but the following game against Manchester United cost the team once again another 2 points. After beating United in the reverse victory, Jose Mourinho was sacked and Ole Gunner Solskjaer replaced him, leading United to 9 games unbeaten.
This game exposed Liverpool’s weakness which was the lack of creativity upfront to break the opposition defence. Jurgen Klopp blamed the number of injuries disrupting the flow but that did not matter to Manchester United fans who saw this draw as a victory to prevent Liverpool winning the league.
Even though Liverpool bounce back again with a 5-0 victory over Watford, they were held to a goalless draw against their derby rivals Everton. At this point, Liverpool ceded their top spot to City by one point which forced both teams to go on perfect winning runs until the end of the season to challenge the title.
Liverpool ended at 97 points, one point behind league winners Manchester City which proved to be devastating for Liverpool’s morale. In any other season apart from last season, Liverpool would have won the title but it was not the end of the season for them.