Martin Keown has claimed Liverpool were ‘predictable’ when playing out of defence without the services of Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
The Dutchman will be missing for the majority of the season after surgery on his ACL, whilst Alexander-Arnold was taken off against City in the second half with a hamstring injury.
Liverpool are yet to confirm a timescale of the Englishman’s return but Jurgen Klopp confirmed after the match he would miss the national team’s tripleheader over the international break.
James Milner replaced Alexander-Arnold at right-back, whilst Joel Matip slotted in alongside Joe Gomez in defence at the Etihad Stadium.
Without two of their best passers from defence, who could be absent for the foreseeable future, Keown believes Liverpool became predictable.
With Manchester City applying the pressure in the second half, he claimed the Reds struggled to get out of their defensive third as they lost the ability to play longer, accurate balls out of the backline.
“In the second half, De Bruyne was pressing higher, while Liverpool weren’t getting as many balls into their attackers as they were before the break,” Keown wrote in the Daily Mail.
“When pressed, you’d normally see Virgil van Dijk react by playing raking diagonals, or Trent Alexander-Arnold might produce punishing forward passes. But without those two on the pitch, Liverpool started to look predictable.
“Overall this was an excellent game played to a very high level. Of the two, the visitors left the Etihad the happier team.
“City perhaps could have nicked the win towards the end, but now Liverpool get to spend the international break looking down on their rivals in the Premier League table.”