Liverpool 1-1 Manchester City: Arsenal remain top of the Premier League after it ends all square at Anfield

Knocked off the top of the Premier League standings for the time-being after Arsenal’s late London derby victory over Brentford on Saturday, Liverpool again were forced to kick-off a Premier League match without the talismanic figure of Mohamed Salah – with the Egyptian King only fit enough to take a seat on the substitutes’ bench.

Meanwhile, a victory for Manchester City would leave them top of the table come 6pm, but Pep Guardiola’s side first had to overcome the daunting omen of the away side on the day winning only two of the previous 30 head-to-head league meetings.

LIV: Kelleher; Bradley, van Dijk, Quansah, Gomez; Mac Allister; Szoboszlai, Endō; Díaz, Núñez; Elliott

MCI: Ederson; Walker, Akanji, Aké; Rodri, Stones; Foden, Silva, De Bruyne, Álvarez; Haaland

Having registered nine consecutive away day victories across all competitions, reigning Premier League champions Manchester City flew out of the traps as Julián Álvarez forced a brilliant one-handed save from Caoimhin Kelleher before the deputising Liverpool goalkeeper – with Allison still out injured – had his palms stung via a rocket from the boot of Kevin De Bruyne.

Responding to City’s early unparalleled prowess in front of goal, Jürgen Klopp’s title-challengers had the ball in the back of the net in the 19th minute. However, the offside flag rescued Guardiola’s side as Darwin Núñez was adjudged to have strayed into a marginally offside position before firing Conor Bradley’s delivery home.

Despite this, the opposite end of Anfield would see the deadlock broken four minutes later as De Bruyne’s training ground-esque corner was confidently converted from close range by John Stones for his first goal of the season.

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Despite being behind, the momentum was firmly on the side of the hosts on the approach to half time, as Dominik Szoboszlai – on his return to the eleven – and Luis Díaz fired efforts to get back on level terms inexplicably wide of the mark.

Staggeringly on the losing side in only one of the previous twenty matches at Anfield, Liverpool fired back immediately from the restart as Nathan Aké’s mistimed backpass forced Ederson to bring down the onrushing Alexis Mac Allister for a resulting penalty.

Already on the scoresheet in the Czech Republic in midweek – which saw Liverpool comprehensively sweep Sparta Praha aside in the UEFA Europa League – the FIFA World Cup winner made no mistake from the spot as he levelled up proceedings to set-up a scintillating second half.

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Already guilty of wasting a glorious opportunity in the opening 45 minutes, Díaz missed another gilt-edged chance to net his 11th goal in all competitions this season as he somehow misfired Salah’s pin-point pass wide of Stefan Ortega’s far post.

Ederson’s replacement, after the Brazilian had been forced from the field after sustaining an injury following the penalty, then acted instinctively to block Núñez’s close-range effort. Ortega’s baptism of fire to the Anfield cauldron continued, with the Reds ruthlessly pushing for a late winner, as he denied Jarell Quansah and then Salah.

Despite their second-half dominance, Liverpool frustratingly could not break down City, and were even fortuitous not to end the evening with nothing as Jérémy Doku agonisingly clipped the post in the 89th minute. Ultimately, a point apiece leaves Arsenal atop the Premier League table – courtesy of their superior goal difference – but with Manchester City menacingly lurking only the one point behind.