A breathless 90 minutes at the Etihad keeps the margin at one point at the top of the Premier League table and Liverpool were culpable of playing a game of two halves in the 2-2 draw.
Man City 2-2 Liverpool
Premier League (31), Etihad Stadium
April 10, 2022
Goals: De Bruyne 5′, Jesus 36′; Jota 13′, Mane 46′
Alisson – 7 (out of 10)
A busy afternoon for the Brazilian who could do little with the deflected goal but, in turn, put his defenders under pressure with his distribution that then led to City’s second.
A huge early save with his legs on Raheem Sterling was his moment of the match, and being quick off his line also proved crucial.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 6
A performance that had a bit of everything across the spectrum, from a well-timed assist to sleeping on the job in possession and as City aimed to make the most of the Reds’ high line.
Was not given a free license to galavant up the pitch but a move further inside in the second half saw him as the furthest forward at times.
Joel Matip – 7
A case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, twice.
Was forced to retreat as Liverpool lost possession and again provided the deflection for a city goal before then keeping Jesus onside in what was a representation of the tight margins in this title race.
Had looked nervy in possession in the early stages before settling and finding the right time to use his front foot defending to Liverpool’s advantage.
Virgil van Dijk – 7
Took more heat than expected as City did not look to avoid his left-hand side like so many others, slightly on edge before knuckling down.
Had his body positioning perfect to hold up Sterling as he looked to run clear on goal, marshalling him to the right and snuffing out the chance – we can never grow tired of seeing that.
Andy Robertson – 7
By his usual standards, it was a relatively quiet afternoon for the Scot in the areas you’d wish to see him.
Energetic, as always, and did deliver a handful of great balls curling around City’s defensive line when given the chance but they did not come around as often as his manager would’ve liked.
Fabinho – 6
A game of two halves for Fabinho.
Typically masterful in his craft, it was a rare sight as Fabinho looked to play the first 45 on delay – pulled in one too many directions and struggled to make his mark as the game passed him by.
He hit the reset button at the break, his composure and awareness returned and Liverpool looked all the better for it – although he had a tasty tackle or two and was lucky to only be booked in the 83rd minute.
Thiago – 8
The Reds’ most progressive and assured player, Thiago‘s experience came to the fore as he looked to get his side ticking and pulled City into conceding free-kicks to break up play.
A beautiful diagonal across to Alexander-Arnold created the Reds’ first having stretched the pitch, the moment of quality from the first half.
His trademark sliding tackle came out more times than one’s heart could handle, he too flirted with Anthony Taylor’s book.
Jordan Henderson – 6
Hardly a blade of grass he didn’t cover, not without a blemish or two but as the lungs of the side he was eager to trigger the press and propel his side forward, more so in the second.
Was one of those to struggle to stamp his authority early on and his aimless pass and indecision to shoot spoke as much.
His withdrawal at the 78-minutes mark was representative of his work ethic and the need for fresh legs in midfield.
Mohamed Salah – 7
Always has all the pieces, it’s just a question of whether he can put them together and without so much as a minute on the clock in the second half, did he slot one into place.
An exquisite ball around the City defenders and into his old mate Sadio Mane‘s path was just what the Reds needed after having seen their front three running too much in the wrong direction.
Another game without a goal in open play but he looked brighter as the game wore on, hopefully not long until the entire jigsaw can be put back together.
Sadio Mane – 8 (Man of the Match)
The Birthday boy was opted for over the electric Luis Diaz and had plenty of work to keep him busy, too much in the wrong direction for Liverpool’s liking, however.
But when handed the chance to finish on the run, he did just that having showed no signs of being cold from half-time with a clinical finish.
Was guilty of switching off, like others, for City’s opener but did what was needed as the out ball on the left before moving to the central role and keeping his side in the contest.
Diogo Jota – 6
A clinical close-range finish came to be from his expert positioning but he ought to have had another or created one on the cusp of the break, indecision his nemesis in the end.
Some were surprised at his inclusion over Roberto Firmino and while he did offer up some of the Brazilian’s traits, a lack of execution did not help his cause when an opportunity arose.
It was abundantly clear he ought to be the first change and Klopp agreed with 20 left to play.
Luis Diaz (on for Jota, 70′) – 7 – Injected pace and won the ball back well, question is should he have been introduced earlier.
Naby Keita (on for Henderson, 78′) – 7 – Was clean and tidy when he came on even with the game being stretched.
Roberto Firmino (on for Mane, 84′) – N/A – Not given long to have an influence, another who should have been injected before he was?
Subs not used: Kelleher, Konate, Gomez, Tsimikas, Milner, Jones
Jurgen Klopp – 7
It was a surprise to see Jota’s name on the teamsheet instead of Firmino but everything else was expected from the manager, aside from his side’s start.
Perhaps guilty of playing the occasion, Liverpool were desperately needing the half-time whistle and Klopp spoke words of magic once more as his team were switched on from the off in the second half.
Somewhat of an anti-climax with City still holding a point advantage but with seven games to go, there are plenty of opportunities to strike yet.
Plenty to play for and another big week ahead.