Callum Paterson scored the first goal at Anfield by an opposition in the Premier League in 918 minutes but it wasn’t enough as two late goals from Liverpool killed the game for Neil Warnock’s men.
It was always going to be an uphill battle, playing against one of the best attacks in Europe – but the Bluebirds shot themselves in the foot for the first goal, as Mohamed Salah poked home into an empty net after a scramble ensued – and the Bluebirds failed to clear their lines, to send Liverpool on their way.
Cardiff struggled to respond initially and Liverpool created more chances, as Virgil Van Dijk, who is having a sensational season at Anfield, hit the post with a header as he beat Ivory Coast defender Sol Bamba in the air.
The onslaught continued in a first-half which was dominated by Jurgen Klopp’s men, as Roberto Firmino tried his luck from 25-yards out, but to no avail, as his strike went wide of Neil Etheridge’s goals as Liverpool ended the half passing the ball 412 times to Cardiff’s mere 35.
Liverpool concede a league goal at home for the first time since February. End of a run stretching back 918 minutes, #LFC
— James Pearce (@JamesPearceEcho) October 27, 2018
Cardiff improved after the break, though and they thought they had the equaliser when Bamba bundled the ball into the net – but Sean Morrison was standing in an offside position when the free-kick was whipped in by Victor Camarasa as he headed it across goal, towards his defensive colleague.
They were continuing to grow in confidence and they were pressing Liverpool, forcing them into mistakes. The away supporters, who travelled in their numbers could sense that the Bluebirds were coming more and more into the game.
Liverpool needed something to quiet the away supporters and they go exactly that from their Senegalese forward, Sadio Mane, who swept home a wonderful finish to make it 2-0 to the hosts – which was probably harsh on Cardiff given how they had performed in the second half.
The Bluebirds responded, though and Paterson scored following a deflected cross from Junior Hoilett to cut the deficit as he stroked the ball past Alisson Becker to make things interesting.
Cardiff had their tails up as the away supporters chanted ‘allez, allez, allez,’ but it wasn’t to be, as Xhedran Shaqiri, the substitute, superbly finished past Etheridge – before Mane added a fourth and his second of the game to add even more gloss to the Reds’ performance – which was probably harsh on the visitors, who had battled well for long periods in the second half.
Man of the Match (Victor Camarasa)
A superb performance from the Spanish midfielder. Reads the game so well, keeps things flowing in midfield and always keeps things simple.
His technical ability made him a constant threat to the Liverpool back-line – the one thing that makes him stand out is his directness – he doesn’t fear anyone.
He’ll be key heading into the Bluebirds’ next two home fixtures, which are both winnable – against both Leicester City and Brighton & Hove Albion.