Perhaps now the biggest fixture on the Premier League calendar, Liverpool’s trip to the Etihad Stadium would see Jürgen Klopp’s men in with a chance of overtaking Manchester City to hold the top spot in the league standings.
MCI: Ederson; Aké, Walker, Dias; Akanji, Rodri; Doku, Bernardo, Álvarez, Foden; Haaland
LIV: Alisson; Tsimikas, van Dijk, Matip, Alexander-Arnold; Jones, Mac Allister, Szoboszlai; Jota, Núñez, Salah
An entertaining first-half for Manchester City fans saw Jérémy Doku burst into life in the opening stages, with the Belgian international heavily involved on the left flank as he sought to make life hard for Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold.
And when Alisson’s poor clearance was played straight to Phil Foden after just twelve minutes, it looked to be a long afternoon for the travelling fans. To their relief though, Foden’s shot was tame – and directed into the arms of the Brazilian ‘keeper.
Manchester City opened the scoring just before the half-hour mark though, with another mistake from Alisson pounced upon by Erling Haaland. Seeking his first goal against Liverpool in a City shirt, the Norwegian picked out the bottom of the net for his 50th Premier League strike in just 48 appearances.Embed from Getty Images
Liverpool did have chances of their own, but Darwin Núñez appeared unable to pose a threat to Ederson’s clean sheet. Having already seen an effort palmed away by the home goalkeeper, he could only pick out the side netting after Dominik Szoboszlai’s perfect tee-up.
But the second half would tell a much different story, and it was the hosts that squandered their clear-cut chances – with Doku’s ball through for Julian Álvarez blazed over the bar by the Argentine forward.
Tactical changes from Jürgen Klopp would gift Liverpool an increased share of possession, with Luis Díaz and Ryan Gravenberch replacing Diogo Jota and Curtis Jones in the 54th minute. But despite increased time on the ball, chances were still few and far between for the Reds.
City felt they should have extended their lead twice in quick succession just before the 70-minute mark, with Rodri appealing for a handball by Gravenberch inside the box – despite replays clearly showing the ball had made contact with the Dutchman’s thigh. Merely three minutes later, Rúben Dias saw his back-post tap-in ruled out for an apparent foul by Manuel Akanji on Alisson in the buildup.
Two near chances for the hosts sparked some urgency into Liverpool’s attack, and with ten minutes of regulation time remaining, Trent Alexander-Arnold restored parity with a sublime curling finish after being teed up by Mohamed Salah on the edge of the area.Embed from Getty Images
Eight minutes of stoppage time looked to threaten Liverpool’s point when Alisson pulled up with an apparent hamstring injury, but with all five of Klopp’s substitutions made, the Brazilian was forced to continue as the Reds saw out a respectable draw against the table toppers.
Manchester City welcome RB Leipzig to the Etihad Stadium in midweek before hosting Tottenham Hotspur next weekend. Liverpool return to Anfield on Thursday to face LASK, before Fulham make the trip north to Merseyside.