Animosity between Liverpool and Manchester City exploded again on Sunday as the champions gave up their unbeaten start to the season at Anfield.
Mohamed Salah’s 75th-minute strike decided the competition but that was only part of the story, as coins were pelted at Pep Guardiola in the second half and Jurgen Klopp was sent off for, in his own words, ‘losing’ with an assistant referee .
City confirmed they would complain about the coin toss, which took place shortly after Phil Foden disallowed a goal in the 56th minute.
Liverpool later called the behavior “unacceptable” and said they would ban for life anyone found guilty of coin-slinging.
They issued another statement after the traveling supporters sang about the Hillsborough disaster on multiple occasions. The Guest Hall was also vandalized, with inflammatory graffiti covering the walls, and Merseyside Police reported four City fans were arrested. It is inevitable that the FA will launch an investigation.
Guardiola was furious at the coin toss, saying in a reference to the episode when City’s bus was attacked outside Anfield ahead of the 2018 Champions League quarter-finals: “Next time they’ll do better. They didn’t catch me. They tried but didn’t get me. They got it on the bus years ago but not this time.
Asked if he had any regrets engaging with Liverpool fans behind his dugout in the second half, Guardiola replied: ‘They shouted, we shout more. The game was quiet and after the goal was disallowed and they scored it was the real Anfield.
Klopp was appalled that one of Liverpool’s fans had acted this way, saying: “Terrible. I’m sorry, I apologize for that. It should never happen.’
However, Liverpool were furious at the actions of City fans. Alongside the chants about Hillsborough, there were repeated references to the 1985 Heysel disaster when 39 Juventus fans died before the European Cup final.
In a statement, Liverpool said: “We are deeply disappointed to hear vile chants about tragedy at the football stadium from the away department.
“We know the impact of such behavior on the families, survivors and everyone involved in such disasters.”
That controversy failed to overshadow a game of the highest quality – one Guardiola thought had gone haywire when Foden’s goal was ticked off by VAR for a foul on Fabinho under construction.
He said: “This is Anfield. The referee said, “I will not commit fouls.” The whole game was play and play and play. Except the gate. After that there was no further play.’