Liverpool battled to a hard-fought draw against Man City at the Eithad Stadium in an entertaining and breathless top-four battle.
A much-improved performance was needed from that produced against Burnley last week, and the Reds delivered as Jurgen Klopp‘s men went toe-to-toe on an intense occasion that could have been won by either side.
There were numerous impressive individual performances across the park, but most pleasing was the collective display from back to front as Klopp’s side turned in a huge team effort.
City were sharp out of the traps, with ex-Red Raheem Sterling causing problems, and shaded the first-half as the contest turned into a ferocious battle, none more so than in the middle of the park where Emre Can led the Reds into the fight.
It was a fascinating tactical battle as two of European football’s most talented managers instructed their teams to go all out for victory, making for a compelling contest in the 10th meeting of their respective careers.
A relentless first-half ended goalless, but James Milner kept his nerve to slot home his seventh penalty of the season and put the Reds ahead against his former club after 51 minutes, sparking jubilant scenes in front of the ecstatic travelling Kop.
Buoyed by taking the lead, the Reds upped their incredible efforts another level and worked tirelessly all over the pitch, with Can in particularly fine form as he dominated the midfield tussle with his best performance of the season.
But Guardiola’s men upped the ante in pursuit of an equaliser, and it came on 69 minutes as Sergio Aguero converted Kevin de Bruyne’s wicked low cross from the right from close range.
The Reds regrouped well and had chances to take the lead again, but Roberto Firmino saw a huge chance saved by Willy Caballero when one-on-one, before then firing another effort wide.
City pushed forward in search of a winner, with de Bruyne hitting the post, but the biggest chance to win the match fell to Adam Lallana, who missed a sitter to restore the lead – somehow failing to connect with Firmino’s knockdown when he seemed certain to score from around six-yards out.
Aguero also went close up the other end in stoppage time, firing a volley over the bar, but the two teams settled for a point in what was a fantastic and engrossing top-four battle.
The draw will be a result neither manager wanted, but both Klopp and Guardiola will no doubt settle for taking a point from an intense top-four scrap.
An international break now rudely intervenes before Liverpool return to action at Anfield on 1 April for the small matter of the Merseyside derby.