City held to draw with Liverpool
De Bruyne misses penalty as Blues draw Reds 1-1
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In a match featuring the Premier League champions over the past three seasons, Manchester City and Liverpool drew 1-1 in a thrilling encounter Sunday.
Goals from Mohamed Salah and Gabriel Jesus was all either side could produce at the Etihad.
This game was truly a tale of two halves with chances from both sides through the first 45 minutes.
Jurgen Klopp’s side burst out of the blocks early on, with a 4-2-4 formation that appeared to throw City off their game.
On 13 minutes Pep Guardiola’s side was behind when Kyle Walker stuck out his knee catching Mane on the left of the box leading to a Liverpool penalty.
Mohamed Salah’s spot-kick was too strong for Ederson giving the Reds the lead.
City might consider themselves hard done by given what occurred less than a minute before that foul.
Raheem Sterling was nudged on the edge of the box by Diogo Jota but because it wasn’t in the box and in a much earlier phase of play, it wasn’t reviewed by VAR.
To their credit though City didn’t despair and eventually found gaps in the Liverpool midfield.
Kevin De Bruyne did well to exploit the gaps catching Georginio Wijnaldum out of position in the 31st minute.
The Belgian fed Gabriel Jesus whose brilliant touch on the turn beat Trent Alexander-Arnold allowing the Brazilian to poke it underneath Alisson for the equalizer.
City got a break in the 41st minute when De Bruyne’s cross inadvertently struck the hand of Gomez inside the box.
After consulting with the pitchside monitor the referee Anthony Taylor awarded City a penalty in what seemed like a harsh decision.
The usually dependable De Bruyne however added to the drama by hitting his penalty wide of the post.
Just before the break, Ederson came up big in the City goal.
Mane latched onto a long diagonal ball, cutting inside to feed the dangerous Salah.
The Egyptian rolled a ball into the path of Alexander-Arnold but his effort was stopped by Ederson who covered up the rebound.
The second half was much more tentative with both sides looking to ensure a point.
City’s best chance came in the 55th minute when Joao Cancelo’s cross reached an unmarked Jesus but his header went wide.
Alexander-Arnold got a calf injury in the second half and was substituted for James Milner in the 63rd minute.
This change threw Liverpool off their game with sloppy passing.
Klopp moved back to a traditional 4-4-2 formation as City laboured and couldn’t find a way through.
Kevin De Bruyne’s penalty miss was the first spot-kick in the Premier League to miss the target since Riyad Mahrez blasted one over the top at Anfield in October 2018.
Gabriel Jesus made his first start of the season since their opening fixture against Wolves.
Both sides will rue some glorious opportunities squandered.
Liverpool had the Blues on their heels for the first twenty minutes but could only muster the one goal.
With City on the ropes early on, Liverpool couldn’t seize the opportunity.
When the Citizens finally woke up they should’ve put away their scoring opportunities.
Kevin De Bruyne missed a penalty, and Jesus missed a free header.
The Blues didn’t take advantage of the opportunity given to them when Alexander-Arnold left with an injury.
Liverpool’s midfield left huge gaps that City more often than not couldn’t exploit.
Man City has drawn three of its last five Premier League games, that’s as many as they had in their previous 70 EPL matches before.
A normally strong road team in Liverpool has cooled off lately away from Anfield.
The Reds have won just three of their last 10 away games, after winning 16 of 17 on the road before that.
The Jesus equalizer featured a total of 19 passes, the most for a build-up goal against Liverpool since September 2017.
Man of the Match
Lately, Joao Cancelo has made a huge impact.
His poise and control were evident today against a Liverpool strike force that’s caused nightmares for their opponents.
His cross to Jesus should’ve been converted for the match-winner.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said: “Super football game to be honest, from all points of view. Two top teams, ready for a massive fight, energy level of both teams was incredible.”
Pep Guardiola believes that the draw was a fair result: “Tight game. They started well, we conceded, and after we take the game. It was tight. Second half we had the more clear chances. But a draw is a fair result.”
What it means
The draw extends City’s unbeaten run to nine as they currently sit in 10th place with 12 points in seven matches.
Liverpool drops out of first with 17 points, one behind Leicester City for the top spot.
The international break allows City a two-week rest before they return to league action on November 21 against Tottenham
Kickoff is at 5:30 from London. (JSL)