A desperate first-half display saw Kylian Mbappe and Fabinho give the hosts a deserved 2-0 lead at the break to swing the tie back in Monaco’s favour.
Monaco underlined their growing status as one of the continent’s most exciting sides.
“It’s not about the defense”.
The message clearly got through to the players, who all said afterwards they had fluffed their lines. Our strikers have to be aggressive and pick the ball up, but we didn’t, at this crucial time.
With the result standing at 5-5 on aggregate and Monaco leading on away goals, City just had to score to get back into it.
Faced with Act Three of what he described as a season-defining week, Pep Guardiola remains unshakeable in his convictions despite a chastening European visit. “City could have won the game easily in the second half but because they are human beings they missed a few chances”.
Right now, neither Klopp nor Guardiola have the quality to do that and that’s why we have seen both Liverpool and Manchester concede so many goals.
City won the first leg 5-3 in a pulsating game, recovering from a 3-2 deficit before rallying with late goals to take the initiative.
We played an exceptional second half, but the first one we forgot to be there, Guardiola told BT Sport. “My mistake was being not able to convince them”.
On the eve of the game, Guardiola had also warned his players to concentrate hard on set-pieces.
City’s status as one of the world’s wealthiest clubs has led to speculation Guardiola will implement an extensive overhaul of his squad in the close-season, but the manager insists such a strategy would not be feasible. But six minutes later Bakayoko rose imperiously to meet Thomas Lemar’s curling free kick and restore the two-goal margin Monaco needed as the contest finished 6-6 on aggregate. We know what we have to do, if we can do it, I don’t know.
City’s defence is nothing to brag about but Monaco made John Stones and co. look like a bunch of League Two players.
The forward’s pace was too much to handle for City and Mbappe put Monaco in the driving seat with a goal after eight minutes, proving a nightmare for the visitors’ defence.
“We did not play how the manager wants us to play”, Clichy admitted after the defeat. Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim stood perfectly still, hands behind his back like an army general watching his battle plans unfurl to perfection. He became the youngest player in the Champions League who scored a goal at home and at an away game. “What’s going to happen in three months is up to the chairman, the boss and the club will carry on in its way”, he said. “We tried to exploit this weak point”.
Manchester City v Liverpool is the game of the weekend in England, and there may be some value in backing Raheem Sterling to score against his former club.