A muted Liverpool were given a late let-off as they held Premier League title rivals Man City to a 0-0 draw at Anfield on Sunday afternoon.
Liverpool 0-0 Man City
Premier League, Anfield
October 7, 2018
Following two games on the road, the Reds were back at Anfield as they took on title rivals City in their final outing before the international break.
The majority of Jurgen Klopp‘s first-team squad will join their national teams next week, and needed to end a run of seven games in 23 days with a positive result.
City presented a major test of their credentials, however, but having seen his side step up in these fixtures last season Klopp will have been confident of taking all three points.
Klopp made two changes from the side that lost 1-0 at Napoli in midweek, with Dejan Lovren and Jordan Henderson coming in for Trent Alexander-Arnold and Naby Keita.
With a place at the top of the Premier League at stake, the pressure was on Liverpool to win, but they were fortunate to draw.
- Klopp makes two changes as Lovren takes over at centre-back
- Liverpool lose Milner early on with injury, Keita takes his place
- Salah registers Reds’ first shot on target in two games in second half
- Mahrez sends spot-kick into orbit after Van Dijk’s foolish challenge
- Reds end weekend level on points with Chelsea and City
Liverpool took the game to City early on, and Mohamed Salah almost fired the hosts to the perfect start as he took advantage of a shaky away defence to send a shot just wide.
On his return to the side Lovren was lucky to avoid gifting City a penalty, as he swung at Sergio Aguero’s legs following a shanked clearance from Joe Gomez, with Martin Atkinson thankfully waving away appeals.
Recalling a setback in Naples, James Milner went down injured as the half-hour approached, prompting Klopp to send on Keita in an early substitution.
Momentum shifted as City adopted a more expansive approach, with Liverpool occupied by David Silva in his advanced midfield role, who required a brilliant tackle from Virgil van Dijk as he jinked into the box.
Neither side were able to turn their brief openings into any clear chances, however, and the Reds ended the first half having failed to hit the target.
Klopp made a slight change of approach at the break, with Gomez given more licence to charge forward from right-back in an effort to pin City into their half.
Riyad Mahrez flashed a shot wide as he eluded Andy Robertson with a late run, with Liverpool continuing to look out of sorts as they struggled to get their front three involved.
The Reds finally hit their first shot on target in two games as Salah bent one towards goal, and though it was too close to Ederson it clearly gave the Egyptian confidence.
With substitute Leroy Sane charging forward into the box, the otherwise flawless Van Dijk made a clumsy challenge and gave City a penalty—but was let off by a risible spot-kick from Mahrez.
This gave Liverpool a big boost as they pushed for a late winner, but they were ultimately left to settle for a share of the spoils.
TIA Man of the Match: Virgil van Dijk
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Liverpool: Alisson; Gomez, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Henderson, Milner (Keita 29′); Salah, Mane, Firmino (Sturridge 72′)
Subs not used: Mignolet, Matip, Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Shaqiri
Man City: Ederson; Walker, Stones, Laporte, Mendy; Fernandinho, B Silva, D Silva; Mahrez, Sterling (Sane 75′), Aguero (Jesus 65′)
Subs not used: Muric, Kompany, Otamendi, Danilo, Foden
Next Match: Huddersfield (A) – Premier League – Saturday, October 20 – 5.30pm (BST)