Liverpool and Man City played out a real game of two halves at the Etihad – the first unmissable, the second terminally dull – as Sunday’s Premier League clash ended 1-1.
Man City 1-1 Liverpool
Premier League (8), Etihad
November 8, 2020
Salah pen 13′ (assist – Mane)
With a plethora of options to choose from, Jurgen Klopp defied expectations as he named all four of Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah in his starting lineup at the Etihad, and it led to a brilliant, fluid display early on.
City were clearly caught off-guard, and it paid off as Sadio Mane was brought down by a rash Kyle Walker in the 13th minute, allowing Salah to pick the ball up and fire in the penalty for his 10th of the season.
The hosts eventually grew into the game, however, and it came as Pep Guardiola prompted an overload on Liverpool’s two-man midfield, with Gini Wijnaldum – culpable for an earlier near-miss – vacating space to allow Kevin De Bruyne to feed Gabriel Jesus.
Whether Jesus intended it or not, a neat flourish allowed him to evade Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joel Matip in the box, and his instincts led to a poked finish beyond Alisson for 1-1.
Things looked to have got worse for the Reds soon after, with Joe Gomez penalised in line with the ridiculous handball laws, only for De Bruyne to – perhaps mercifully – send his spot-kick low and wide of the post to ensure the half ended level.
HT: Man City 1-1 Liverpool
- Matip & Gomez partner each other for first time; Klopp’s 37th pairing
- Salah and Jesus trade goals in fast-paced first half
- Gomez concedes penalty via ridiculous handball, De Bruyne misses
- Trent picks up calf injury in second half, likely to miss England duty
- Liverpool stay five points ahead of City but finish weekend in third
After a breakneck first half, the second began as a more attritional clash, but City had the better of the chances as Liverpool’s midfield still lacked the presence of numbers.
Xherdan Shaqiri was a surprising option as the player to come on, with both Naby Keita and Curtis Jones also on the bench, but few could argue with the withdrawal of Firmino, who again struggled in possession.
An enforced change came soon after, with Alexander-Arnold pulling up with a calf injury and, without a specialist full-back on the bench, Klopp turned to James Milner, who made his 750th career club appearance.
The busy schedule and the relentless rain looked to affect both sides as the play slowed down and passes grew sloppier, but Liverpool looked second-best for much of the second half as they grasped for a foothold at the Etihad.
Perhaps fortunately, neither side was able to craft any meaningful chances as the pace slowed almost to a halt, and the game ended with points shared at 1-1.
TIA Man of the Match: Jordan Henderson
Referee: Craig Pawson
Man City: Ederson; Walker, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo; De Bruyne, Rodri, Gundogan; Torres (Bernardo 61′), Sterling, Jesus
Subs not used: Steffen, Stones, Ake, Zinchenko, Foden, Garcia
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold (Milner 63′), Matip, Gomez, Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino (Shaqiri 58′), Mane; Jota
Subs not used: Adrian, Phillips, Keita, Jones, Origi
Next Match: Leicester (H) – Premier League – Saturday, November 21, 3pm (GMT)