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Four key factors that helped Liverpool beat Manchester City

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It's safe to say that the feel-good factor has returned to Anfield.

On the back of a home defeat, it's always difficult to predict how a team will bounce back, especially when an international break intervenes.

Liverpool had the most difficult match possible on Saturday; an away trip to Manchester City, a fixture the Reds had won just twice in 12 years.

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Klopp Factor

The absence of Mamadou Sakho had many travelling supporters sceptical about their chances of getting a result at the Etihad. Leaving Christian Benteke and Daniel Sturridge on the bench further lowered expectations - how wrong the doubters were.

The overall performance from the Reds was by far the best since Jurgen Klopp took charge last month and maybe even the most impressive since they struck five past Arsenal two seasons ago.

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Many fans had their doubts about Brendan Rodgers in the latter stages of his spell in charge and questioned each and every move he made. Those doubters have now turned into believers since Klopp took charge. The German has added an obscene amount of confidence into each individual in the Liverpool team.

Brazil Pair Benefit

The international break has seemingly done several key individuals the world of good. Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino were left out of Brazil's latest squad and remained on Merseyside last week.

Not resting on their laurels of not being selected to represent their country, they instead worked closely with their manager at Melwood during the period to master the blueprint to triumph over City.

The pair both netted in a friendly behind closed doors against Wolverhampton Wanderers and likely imitated the plan they devastatingly put together at the Etihad.

Coutinho and Firmino were a joy to watch from the first to the final whistle against Manchester City. Their movement, flair and pace both on and off the ball devastated the home side's rear-guard.

Firmino, in particular, had previously struggled to gain momentum since his £29 million summer move from Hoffenheim. He struggled to adjust to the pace of the English game in the early stages of the season and, overall, did not seem happy playing under Rodgers.

He's been reinvented since Klopp took the reins at Liverpool. Klopp has showed Firmino plenty of faith and everything seems to have clicked into place.

Liverpool had the deadly Luis Suarez and Sturridge partnership in the past, but Coutinho and Firmino were poetry in motion against the Citizens and almost rivalled the former SAS pairing.

They fed off each others movement, knowing exactly where one another was throughout. Coutinho instantly spotted his compatriot's diagonal run that led to Eliaquim Mangala's own goal, and things only got better.

Firmino showed exactly what Klopp wants from his players for Liverpool's second. His pressure forced an error out of Martin Demichelis and the 24-year-old instantly latched on to the loose ball and got his head up to find Coutinho free inside the box, who doubled the Reds' lead.

The former Hoffenheim star selfless work rate was rewarded when he was granted an easy tap in to give Liverpool a third, provided by Coutinho who could have been selfish.

The countless hours on the training ground have clearly been highly successful and both men are set to play a key role under Klopp.

Reinvention

Klopp has approached his task at Liverpool by using encouragement to get the best from his players.

It's worked for both Adam Lallana and Emre Can.

Lallana particularly struggled during his maiden season at Liverpool. Many called him overpriced and another typical Rodgers purchase.

However, he's transformed himself under Klopp. The England international has adapted to the gegenpressing without even the slightest of fuss.

Lallana may well be the face of Nivea Men products, but he was far from scared to get his hands dirty throughout and never stopped running to win the ball for his side. He too was very clever on the ball and his dummy after the break almost saw Coutinho net his second.

The England international was greeted with a massive hug by Klopp when he came off late on. He may be 26-years-old, but he certainly won't feel too old for a cuddle off his boss and will hope for more.

Can has as much potential as any player his age, but it's been all about putting it together with him. He's often showed his rawness and lack of experience, but he was superb against Manchester City.

Can also played as a right-back of three centre-backs for the majority of last term and was not natural in the role.

On the back of his devastating experience during the Paris terrorist attacks when representing Germany last week, Klopp sat the 21-year-old down and had a good chat with him. Various topics were likely discussed, but the two chief conversations were probably about his experience in France and how he can fulfill his ability.

Yaya Toure has been known as being the best midfielder in the Premier League when on the gallop with the ball at his feet.

Can imitated his opponent and was far superior. Like a loose bull on the break, it was rare that a blue shirt could thwart the ex-Bayer Leverkusen man. He was almost given a free role by Klopp and he used his physical advantage to overpower the helpless Fernando.

Can's back heel that led to the Reds' third was quite exquisite and, if he can continue to produce moments of magic like that, he has a bright future.

Lovren Performance

There was a significant amount of pressure on Dejan Lovren pre-match.

Given the recent form of Sakho, who had added much-needed solidarity to Liverpool's back-line, Lovren had to be at his very best to keep Sergio Aguero at bay.

The Argentina international netted City a consolation goal but, for the most part, Lovren and Martin Skrtel were excellent.

Skrtel's poor clearance had led to Aguero's goal, but the former Zenit St Petersburg man had already made several last ditch interceptions to keep his team in the match.

Lovren has been public enemy number one amongst supporters on the Kop. He's far from lived up to his £20 million price-tag, but his effort was faultless against City.

He kept his composure when under pressure and leapt like a salmon throughout to intercept multiple long balls played from Joe Hart.

Skrtel often gets criticised for not scoring enough goals from set pieces. The cameras always focus on him in the box but, quite often, there is no end product.

The Slovakia international certainly provided against City, rocketing Liverpool's fourth late on to seal a memorable victory.

Where will Liverpool finish this season? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below!

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Topics:
Premier League
Steven Gerrard
Liverpool
Emre Can
Football
Philippe Coutinho

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