However, the £89 million man stepped up and answered his critics in the second half by scoring two brilliant goals in quick succession and instigating a shock comeback that prevented City from winning the title in a dream scenario.
In a largely subdued first half, both home goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and the visitors' Loris Karius were extended.
However, Jose Mourinho's men had a different script in their mind when they returned to the pitch for the second half.
And they soon had two in two minutes when Alexis Sanchez picked out Pogba's late run into the box and his header beat Ederson low to his right-hand side. "I want to congratulate City for the title because they are going to win and deservedly. Because the way he played is only possible when he's focused on the game".
For all the inevitability of City's eventual confirmation of their third Premier League title, there was genuine disappointment and frustration from their supporters that it was not achieved with United in opposition.
His 55th minute finish came after he found Sanchez to his left as he was dribbling toward the City goal.
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JS: City were by far the better team in the first half and it really should have been all over after Ilkay Gundogan's second.
The match was also important for Mourinho.
Asked whether it was a case of United being that much better in the second half or tiredness from Anfield creeping into the City side, the Brazil worldwide retorted: "I don't agree with you because if you see the statistics of the game, you analyse the game, we had the ball possession, we had the control".
"But we lost it so for the fans it's hard, but maybe we're going to get more credit if we are able to win the Premier League "OK, how tough it was".
To be fair, if that doesn't inspire a United team, nothing will. By spearheading this comeback against City, he showed he still has the dressing room, that his teams can attack when they are allowed to and that he ought to play with the handbrake off on more occasions. The Serbian was his usual solid self while Herrera had a good day as well, passing the ball well and with confidence and providing a refresher in game management, resorting to the dark arts when needed to thwart the danger. On what level can this Manchester City side compete with those achievements?
Raheem Sterling's old uncertainty in front of goal, absent this season, suddenly returned and his two missed chances ended up as decisive moments in a most unlikely turn of events.