Liverpool ripped apart Manchester City with three goals inside the opening 31 minutes as they won their Champions League quarter-final, first leg tie 3-0 on Wednesday.Anfield has witnessed many memorable European nights over the years and this will take its place among the most spectacular as a simply devastating, first-half display was crowned with goals from Mohamed Salah, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sadio Mane.The tie may not be over, with 90 minutes remaining at the Etihad on Tuesday, but Liverpool boss Juergen Klopp, who has enjoyed more wins over City counterpart Pep Guardiola than any other manager, will be delighted as his commitment to attacking football was amply rewarded.Liverpool are the only team to have beaten City in the Premier League this season, with a thrilling 4-3 victory in January, and they repeated the formula of that success by attacking City’s defence from the outset.Roared on by a particularly vocal home crowd, Liverpool put the Premier League’s champions-elect under intense pressure from the first kick and it took just 12 minutes for City to crack.After a City corner, James Milner launched the ball forward, Salah broke from the halfway line and played the ball inside to Roberto Firmino.His shot was blocked by City keeper Ederson but Firmino pounced on the loose ball and slipped it to Salah, who fired home.City responded with a swift counter-attack of their own but Leroy Sane, who had broken from deep, screwed the ball wide when he could have played in team mate Kevin De Bruyne.UNSTOPPABLE DRIVELiverpool were rampant though and harrying City off the ball in midfield when Milner won back possession and moved it straight to Oxlade-Chamberlain.The former Arsenal midfielder unleashed an unstoppable drive from 25 metres to make it 2-0 in the 20th minute.City were now reeling and looked nothing like the team that has marched so convincingly to a 16-point lead in the Premier League and it was not long before Juergen Klopp’s side made it 3-0.Salah floated a teasing cross from the right towards Mane, who rose above the City defence to power a header past Ederson and send the Anfield crowd into delirium.City came out brightly after the break though, finally managing to find some composure with their passing.Liverpool were unable to get back into their first-half rhythm and they suffered a blow when Salah went off injured in the 52nd minute.Guardiola’s side were back in their familiar role of controlling possession, but were struggling to create chances with Sane wasting a promising opening at the back post, one of a series of frustrations for the German left winger.A miserable night for Sane, who was superbly handled by young Liverpool right back Trent Alexander-Arnold, was completed when he was ruled offside as he broke down the left and crossed for Gabriel Jesus to put the ball in the net.Yet the fact that City’s late pressure was accompanied by audible tension from the Liverpool fans was a reminder that the tie is not over. Few teams could overturn a 3-0 deficit against Liverpool but Guardiola’s side is certainly one of them.
Advertisement18-year-old left-arm pacer Rex Rajkumar Singh becomes the first from Manipur to make it an Indian side after he picked up all 10 wickets in an innings during a Cooch Behar Under-19 Trophy match against Arunachal Pradesh.In December 2018, 18-year-old left-arm pacer Rex Rajkumar Singh made the cricketing fraternity sit up and take notice after achieving the rare feat of picking up all 10 wickets in an innings during a Cooch Behar Under-19 Trophy match against Arunachal Pradesh in Anantpur. His figures of 9.5-6-10-11 were simply staggering and even drew comparisons with the veteran pacer Irfan Pathan.The hardwork he has put in has finally reaped rewards as he becomes the first player from Manipur to be selected in a representative Indian team. Rex was picked in India’s Under-19 squad for the 4-day games against South Africa U-19 this month.Born in Sagolband Moirang Hanuba, Rex’s journey to cricket began with a tennis ball in front of a small ground near his house. “I used to practice Taekwondo and play football in the ground but the interest never materialised,” said Rex.It was there that Ph Rohendro Singh, who is currently his coach, noticed his talent and brought about the transition from tennis ball cricket to the leather one.“What caught my eye was that even as a 10-year-old he was bowling quick and maintained discipline. That prompted me to take him under my wings and today I am happy that he has excelled,” said coach Rohendro Singh.“Bowling at the age of 10-11 with a leather ball helped me a lot. Added to that my coach guided me well on how to hold the ball and also told me the importance of the wrist position,” recalled Rex.It was not long before Rex’s first notable performance came in his initial BCCI tournament in Ranchi in 2014 where he picked up a five-wicket haul against Bihar U-16. Since then he’s never looked back, making an impact in every chance that has come his way.His impressive performances in Cooch Behar Trophy opened the door for a spot in Manipur’s Ranji Trophy squad. Thereafter he did feature in a couple of first-class games but what caught everyone’s attention was his ability to move the red ball in the air.Asked on who he admired, Rex named Anderson citing to the wrist positions that the England bowler had at display. “I love the way he grips and swings the ball and I watch his videos on youtube. Mithcell Starc is another bowler that I am looking forward to learn from,” he said.Training sessions at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) helped the teenager get meaningful insights into the game. “It was an eye-opener. I came across certain aspects of the game that I had never thought of before. I was told of how to manage my diet and focus on my action,” he said.“Now I know that to play at the top-level I need to grow my patience, work on my abilities and keep repeating my performances,” he further added.Rex is also thankful to his father, who is a truck driver in Imphal, for supporting him financially. “For us, cricket is an expensive game and I am happy that I could make them proud. My father supported a family of three single-handedly and never allowed my cricket to stop. So I am really very happy,” he concluded.Also Read:Cricket: MS Dhoni speculated to be honoured with a stand at the JSCA Stadium. Advertisement Also Read: