Liverpool fought back twice to hold Manchester City to a pulsating 2-2 draw at the Etihad stadium yesterday. De Bruyne and Jesus got the goals for the hosts with Jota and Mané providing the replies. Here’s a review of the match.

You can find player ratings from the game here:

° The lineup. Jürgen Klopp made three changes to the side that defeated Benfica in midweek. Matip came in for Konaté at the back, with Henderson starting ahead of Keita in midfield. Diogo Jota was also preferred to Luis Diaz in attack.

° Fast City start. The Citizens are trademark fast starters. They usually get an early goal or two and then use their supreme ability to keep possession to play the game on their own terms and see out a victory. It was similar here as Alisson was called into action as early as the fifth minute.

De Bruyne got away too easily from Thiago and run at the Reds’ defence. A through ball to Jesus followed, with the Brazilian squaring to Sterling in the centre for a tap in. Alisson sprawled himself and made the save with his feet. It was a warning the Liverpool midfield failed to heed.

° De Bruyne opens the scoring. Barely 30 seconds later, De Bruyne waltzed past Fabinho who made no attempt to stop him. The Belgian’s strike deflected off Matip and bounced out of the reach of Alisson. Matip saw a De Bruyne shot deflect in off him in the reverse fixture too. All blame for that goal has to go to Fabinho though. Shocking marking.

° Liverpool hit back. Eight minutes later, the Reds pulled level with their first real attack. Robbo picked out Trent with a cross to the backpost and the 23 year old showed unbelievable awareness to calmly cut it back to Jota who swept home. 1-1 within 13 minutes, this was already shaping up to be a classic.

Diogo Jota has now netted 21 goals for Liverpool this campaign, he’s opened the scoring for the side on 14 separate occasions.


° City create chances. The Citizens looked the better side first half, creating a couple of chances to threaten the Liverpool goal. De Bruyne clipped the base of the post after a sharp turn and shot, before Cancelo shot into the side netting after cutting inside from the left wing.

° Panicky display. The first half yesterday was reminiscent of the nervy first half we saw in the reverse fixture. The occasion got to more than a few players in red with several panicking in possession and making so many errors. A few minutes to the break, the Reds fidgeted with the ball at the back and conceded a cheap corner.

° Jesus puts City ahead again. Matip headed the resulting corner clear but it fell to Cancelo. The Portuguese international crossed to the backpost where Jesus stole in behind Trent to finish past Alisson. VAR confirmed the goal as Matip’s heel played the Brazilian onside. The Reds were sleepwalking into heavy punches.

° Much needed halftime whistle. The visitors were being overrun, with an uncharacteristic nervousness seeing them lose possession too easily. Aside the Jota goal, they didn’t create anything of note. The midfield wasn’t imposing itself and Fabinho especially struggled to keep his composure. The break was a chance to reset.

° Reset they did. The Reds flew out of the traps in the second period and were level after just 47 seconds. Trent did well to pass forward under pressure from Foden. Salah received the pass and cut through the City defence with a pass of his own. Mané had made the run on the blind side of Walker and finished with aplomb.

Sadio Mané vs Man City (LFC rank):

• 100% shot accuracy
• 100% tackles won
• 42 touches
• 26 passes attempted
• 22 passes completed
• 5 duels won (=1st)
• 5 ball recoveries
• 3 fouls won (1st)
• 1 aeriel duel
• 1 chance created
• 1 tackle won
• 1 shot (=2nd)
1 goal (=1st)

° Liverpool threaten. The goal seemed to galvanise Jürgen Klopp’s side as they went to work carving City open. Salah once again put one on a plate, this time for Jota. Ederson made the save this time as he parried Diogo’s first time effort. The Reds were in the ascendancy.

° City roar back. The hosts didn’t cower into their shells. They took the punches and roared back to throw a few of their own. This was a real heavyweight battle. Jesus went close again but saw his effort blocked on the line by Van Dijk.

Two minutes later, Sterling broke through and finished, only for VAR to call it back for offside. Not long after that, De Bruyne once again sent Sterling through on goal. Van Dijk however recovered brilliantly to dispossess the Englishman in the box. It was a breathless game.

° More end to end action. Neither side was willing to settle for the draw. Liverpool went forward and Salah saw a curled effort deflected just past the post. A minute later, Jesus received the ball at an angle and chose to go for goal, firing into the side netting.

° City finish strong. It was Guardiola’s side that looked like nicking a late winner. Mahrez clipped the outside of the post with a beautifully struck free kick before being sent through on goal deep into stoppage time. He got his attempted chip all wrong and sent his shot sailing over the bar.

° What a game! This was inarguably the best two teams in the world going hammer and tongs at each other. There were no parked buses, no dark arts, no attempts to dive for penalties and no lull to the flow of the game. It was a top class display of technical ability and tactical blueprints. A brilliant advert for the Premier League.

° Liverpool show fight. In the face of an intense press from world class opposition and a raucous atmosphere, the Reds refused to crumble, fighting back twice to take a share of the spoils. It was fitting, seeing as City also fought back twice at Anfield to take a point.

°What it means for the title race. It is as you were at the top of the table. City lead the way with 74 points, with Liverpool on 73 with 7 games to go. It’s advantage City but you definitely can’t rule out one more twist in this scintillating race for the title.

Defeat would have ended the Reds’ pursuit as you wouldn’t expect City to throw away a 4 point lead in April and May. The draw means Liverpool live to fight another day. They have to keep applying pressure by winning their games and at the very least, ask City to win every single game in order to clinch the title.

What’s next? It’s a quick turnaround for Jürgen Klopp’s troops as Benfica visit Anfield on Wednesday night for the second leg of the Champions League quarter finals. With a 3-1 first leg lead, we could see a host of changes after such an intense game yesterday.

The likes of Gomez, Konaté, Tsimikas, Diaz, Firmino etc could all come in from the start. Three days after Benfica, it’s City once again, this time at Wembley and with a place in the FA Cup final at stake. The big games keep coming. What a month and what a time to be alive!


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