LIVERPOOL, England (AP)Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said Liverpool fans needed to improve their aim after coins were allegedly thrown at him – and missed – during his team’s 1-0 defeat at Anfield on Sunday.
Liverpool, meanwhile, said City fans must behave better.
”We are deeply disappointed to hear vile chants relating to football stadium tragedies from the away section during today’s game at Anfield,” Liverpool said in a statement after the Premier League game. ”The concourse in the away section was also vandalized with graffiti of a similar nature.”
It is not the first time the rivalry between English soccer’s most dominant teams of recent years has turned bitter.
In 2018, City’s team bus was attacked by Liverpool supporters ahead of a Champions League quarterfinal match at the same stadium. And the wounds clearly run deep for Guardiola, who joined City in 2016.
The flash point Sunday came after Phil Foden’s second-half goal was ruled out when VAR invited referee Anthony Taylor to review the pitchside monitor and he spotted a foul on Fabinho in the buildup.
The City manager angrily remonstrated with the crowd, wildly gesticulating before he claims coins were thrown in his direction.
”Next time they will do it better,” he said. ”They didn’t get me. They try it again next year.
”All these coins, they tried, but didn’t get it. They got the coach years ago.”
Liverpool said it would investigate the alleged incident and that any fan found guilty of throwing coins faced a lifetime ban from Anfield.
Liverpool was fined just under $20,000 for incidents around the Champions League match four years ago, which included such severe damage to City’s team bus that a replacement was required to get the players back to Manchester.
The rivalry on the field has grown increasingly fierce due to the quality of both teams in recent seasons.
And that was in evidence in this latest installment, even on the back of Liverpool enduring such a difficult start to the campaign that City went into the match 13 points ahead of last season’s runner-up.
Jurgen Klopp was sent off after furiously racing out of his technical area to complain about a late decision, for which the Liverpool manager later apologized.
”It is about emotion of course so (it was a) red card,” Klopp said. ”My fault. I went over the top in the moment. I know myself, I am 55 and I deserve a red card.”
Klopp also apologized to Guardiola for the alleged coin throwing.
”Horrible,” he said. ”I am sorry. It never should happen.”
While that incident threatened to overshadow the result, this was an occasion when Liverpool showed it potentially remains a major threat to City.
Mohamed Salah’s 76th-minute goal was the difference but the home team had the better chances in an engrossing encounter.
Salah was denied by Ederson when one-on-one with the City goalkeeper in the second half, while substitute Darwin Nunez missed a golden opportunity late on to extend the lead.
Arsenal was arguably the biggest winner on the day, moving four points clear at the top of the Premier League.
ARSENAL POWERS AHEAD
Arsenal increasingly looks like a genuine title contender after a battling 1-0 win at Leeds in a game that was delayed for 40 minutes after an electrical fault at Elland Road led to the players coming off just two minutes in.
Bukayo Saka’s first-half strike made it nine wins out of 10 for Mikel Arteta’s team, but Patrick Bamford missed a penalty and Leeds had another spot-kick decision overturned in stoppage time.
”We expected some very hectic and chaotic moments,” Arteta said. ”The way they play and the atmosphere that this produces in this stadium. I’m really pleased we managed to handle it.”
The game had been delayed shortly after kickoff when the referee and his officials lost contact with VAR and goal-line technology due to a power cut.
TEN HAG AVOIDS REF ROW
Erik ten Hag refused to engage in a public war of words with referee Craig Pawson after drawing for the first time as Manchester United manager.
Cristiano Ronaldo saw two efforts ruled out in the 0-0 draw at Old Trafford against Newcastle, while a penalty appeal was dismissed when Sean Longstaff challenged Jadon Sancho.
”Everyone has seen the game,” Ten Hag told reporters. ”It’s your job to judge the performance from the teams and from the refs not me, so I will not do it.”
PRESSURE MOUNTS ON HASENHUTTL
Ralph Hasenhuttl remains under pressure at Southampton after Declan Rice’s strike denied him a much-needed win.
Romain Perraud fired the Saints in front after a run of four straight defeats in the league but Rice equalized in the second half as Hassenhuttl had to settle for a 1-1 draw.
”I think everybody put everything in to fight for this point,” the Southampton manager said. ”It’s not been lack of effort, more showing a lack of quality. It is a challenge to bring that back on the pitch.”
KEPA KEEPS CHELSEA RUN GOING
Chelsea manager Graham Potter praised Kepa Arrizabalaga after a string of saves from the goalkeeper extended his team’s winning run.
The Spaniard, who has been reinstated as No. 1 under Potter, was outstanding in the 2-0 victory at Aston Villa, which saw Mason Mount score twice.
It is now five straight wins in all competitions for Potter’s team.
”Aston Villa made us suffer, certainly in the first half,” Potter said. ”We lost our way a little bit and we needed Kepa to make some fantastic saves.
”He is contributing to us with clean sheets, how we are trying to play and the environment around the place. Kepa found a fantastic level, he made brilliant saves which kept us in the game.”
AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson