Liverpool 1-1 Man City: Despite Their Utter Dominance at Anfield, Liverpool Fail to Break City Down

Arsenal picked up a win on Saturday to move above both of these teams into top spot in the league, so only a win would take either of these sides at Anfield back to the summit. The only time an away side has won in the league in this particular clash was three seasons ago when Man City won 4-1 at Anfield and with just a point separating these sides with eleven games to go in what will be Jurgen Klopp’s last season, few could wait for this mouthwatering clash between two titans.

Liverpool’s injury concerns have been highlighted for many weeks, but Klopp would have been delighted to be able to welcome back Harvey Elliott and Darwin Nunez, whilst Mo Salah was fit enough to be on the bench. But following Konate’s recent injury, van Dijk was the only actual first teamer in the back five, including the goalkeeper, so Liverpool fans would have been nervous, particularly considering Man City were virtually at full strength with only Jack Grealish missing. It’s the reason Man City started the match as favourites.

And for the first twenty minutes of the game, you could certainly see why. Liverpool looked nervous whilst Man City ran riot, De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Rodri and Foden winning the midfield battle, but it took a strange goal to break the deadlock. A quick corner kick, reminiscent of that Trent Alexander Arnold corner against Barcelona a few years ago, fooled the hosts and John Stones nipped in a squeezed the ball past Caoimhin Kelleher.

Strangely though, Man City decided to take their foot off the gas and slow the game down after they scored, a decision in hindsight that they probably regret. Liverpool started to come into the game from the half hour mark, and never really relinquished that hold on the match until the very end. Szoboszlai should have equalized on the half hour mark with a relatively free header from an Elliott cross, and a few minutes later, Diaz fired wide after a well worked move. Man City were looked rattled and were making errors, and Rodri picked up a yellow at the brink of half time after some sloppy play in the Man City defence.

One would have thought that the reigning treble holders would have regrouped at half time and come out in the second half fresh again, but just two minutes in, Nathan Ake played a loose back pass to Ederson which Darwin Nunez anticipated and beat Ederson to the ball, getting knocked over in the process and winning his side a penalty. Ederson looked hurt, failed to save MacAllister’s fierce penalty, and then was taken off. City were now the ones holding on.

Liverpool were relentless going forward and imperious at the back. And they took it to another level when Mo Salah came on with half an hour ago; he set up Luis Diaz for a one-on-one almost instantly, which he duly missed, and that was followed by another huge opportunity for Diaz when he took a touch too many following Elliott’s low cross. Chance after chance went begging as Liverpool mustered 12 shots in total in the second half compared to Man City’s 3, but it was actually Man City would came closest to winning it; substitute Jeremy Doku hit the post with minutes left on the clock after a rare and well worked move. But the drama wasn’t over.

Ten minutes of stoppage time were announced, and Liverpool continued attacking. On 97 minutes, Mo Salah was felled by Akanji in the box. In fairness, it would have been a soft decision, but with seconds left to play, it is the challenge of Doku on MacAllister in the box, when Doku’s high boot followed through into the Liverpool midfielder’s chest, that will be spoken about for a while. It was ultimately not given by the referee, with VAR confirming that there wasn’t enough evidence to overturn the call, and the points were shared.

It was a match few would have wanted to end. The latest Premier League era has been defined by these two sides, particularly the battle between Klopp and Guardiola, and this roller coaster match ending in a draw was perhaps a fitting response. These two sides may yet face one another one last time if they were to meet in the FA Cup, but they have to get through their quarter final ties next weekend first. Manchester City will host Newcastle on Saturday before Liverpool travel to Manchester United on Sunday. Next up for City in the league? League leaders Arsenal.

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