Manchester City

Premier League champs Manchester City welcomed Liverpool to the Etihad, with the hosts needing to win this “do or die” game. The other top clubs from England would have been hoping that the Manchester based side could beat Jurgen Klopp’s team on the night, as it would spread wide open the title race. With that being said, the two teams were both keen on winning, as the Reds too wanted to continue their unbeaten streak to showcase their domination on the league.

The game started with City playing the better football, though it was the visiting team that had the bench chance in the game. It was a quick one-two by Salah and Firmino, that opened up space for Mane, who hit the post. Not just that, the ricochet almost created confusion between Ederson and John Stones and led to an own goal. The centre-back kept it out by a margin of 1.12cm.

Vincent Kompany was also lucky to stay on the pitch after a rash challenge on Mo Salah, which saw him getting just a booking. He could have been sent off, though shortly after Sergio Aguero gave his team the lead. The hosts went into the break leading 1-0.

After the restart, the Kops did equalize to make it 1-1, after Klopp introduced Fabinho into the game. It was Firmino scoring a free-header from a Robertson flick into the box. Despite that, Sane gave City the lead once again, with Sterling claiming an assist. Shaqiri and Sturridge had been introduced to make a difference, though there were no more goals.

Bernardo Silva and Aguero had more golden opportunities to score too, though they failed to hit the target. Eventually, it ended in a 2-1 win for the reigning champions.

Talking Points-

City Survive Goal Scare, After Mane Hits The Post

Sadio Mane had a great chance to put his team into the lead, though he hit the post when the scores were 0-0. On the other hand, even on the rebound, an lack of communication between Ederson and Stones nearly gave away an own goal. Had the visitors managed to score at this point, things would have possibly been so different in the match.

Inconsistent Aguero Scores

Though it was the Aguero goal that separated the two teams at half-time, this was far from his best performance. The Argentine international got a lot of chances to add to his tally and failed to do so. His second half one on one chance against Alisson would have probably been a goal on any other day, though it just didn’t happen for him.

Poor Liverpool Passing

Liverpool gifted City most of the possession in the first half, due to their poor passing. They never looked comfortable on the ball and played into the hands of their opponents. A little bit of composure could have made a huge impact in the first half. There were very few signs of good positive passing from the away team, which helped City’s cause.

Tactical Battle Between The Two Managers

Pep Guardiola’s side had realized that there was no point attacking Robertson and Van Dijk at the start and they focused on the right-hand-side of Liverpool’s defence. Arnold and Lovren were the constant targets of their attacks and they kept pressing hard on that side. On the other hand, in the second half, the approach was different and the opposite side was attacked.

Also, Salah was well man-marked by Fernandinho right through the defence and the defensive line was well organized against the trio of Salah, Firmino and Mane, who were barely given any space.

Klopp also replaced Milner in the second half with Fabinho, which saw his team equalize. His half-time talk also did its job, as the team looked better in the second 45. He brought in more attacking options at the right time, though they just did not click for him.

Firmino Scores Yet Again

Though his impact in the game wasn’t a really strong one, Firmino did manage to get on the score-card yet again. It was a clever pass by Robertson from a superb ball by Arnold, resulting in a free header for Firmino in front of goal. The Brazilian did the rest and put it into the back of the net.

Sane Goal Keeps Title Race Alive

A 72nd minute goal by the German international was enough to keep the title hopes alive of not just his side, but a lot of top clubs that were trying to stay in the hunt as well. Liverpool finally dropping points was good for healthy competition and this win could make all the difference in the current campaign.