English Premier League

Liverpool 1 – 1 Manchester City

Liverpool and Manchester City fought out a thrilling draw at Anfield to leave Arsenal top of the Premier League.

This meeting of the pre-eminent domestic powers of recent years lived up to its billing in an encounter of the highest quality in which both sides had chances to claim a vital victory.

Manchester City took a 23rd-minute lead when a slick corner routine caught Liverpool cold and John Stones turned in Kevin de Bruyne’s delivery at the near post.

City deserved the lead but were pegged back when they conceded a penalty only 84 seconds after the interval – Darwin Nunez was sent crashing to the ground by keeper Ederson after intercepting Nathan Ake’s poor backpass. After a delay, Alexis Mac Allister scored the spot-kick.

Ederson, who was injured in the incident, tried to play on initially – facing the penalty – but was unable to continue, and had to be replaced by Stefan Ortega.

As Liverpool finally turned on the full power in front of an expectant Anfield, Luis Diaz missed a glaring chance when put clean through by substitute Mohamed Salah while Ortega blocked crucially from Nunez.

City had chances of their own as Liverpool keeper Caoimhin Kelleher blocked from Foden. Kelleher also had a lucky escape when he punched Ake’s cross on to Foden, the rebound crashing against the bar, while Jeremy Doku struck the post late on.

Liverpool will also feel they had strong penalty claims when Doku’s foot was high on Mac Allister in the dying seconds but nothing was given.

These two outstanding sides could not be separated on the day – which means, for now, it is advantage Arsenal in the title race.

Liverpool show huge character

Liverpool initially struggled to impose themselves on Manchester City, and their first-half efforts were frantic in comparison with the visitors’ more measured approach.

They were never out of contention, however, despite trailing to Stones’ goal.

And once they were thrown the lifeline of Mac Allister’s equaliser following Ake’s error, Liverpool showed that relentless urge to attack that almost brought them victory – although City had clear chances of their own too.

Diaz will wonder how he missed their best chance when sent clear by a magnificent Salah pass, the Egyptian’s first touch after coming on as substitute on the hour. Diaz was full of energy and pace throughout but wasteful in the vital moments.

Liverpool will be disappointed to have conceded the Premier League leadership to Arsenal this weekend, but they are still in an outstanding position as the season enters its final stretch.

And the fearless approach of Jurgen Klopp’s side, which they demonstrated once they got themselves back in the game, means they can enter this defining period with confidence.

Mixed feelings for Man City

Manchester City have had tough times at Anfield in recent years but this will rank among their most composed displays, despite a second-half Liverpool onslaught after Mac Allister’s equaliser and the loss of Ederson to injury.

And this is why there will be mixed feelings for manager Pep Guardiola because he will know his side were exerting a strong measure of control until Nathan Ake’s dreadful back pass. Not only did it offer Liverpool a way back into the game, it also led to the incident that forced Ederson off.

City still posed a huge threat even when Liverpool went through the gears in the second half, cursing their luck when Foden hit the bar with a rebound off Kelleher’s punch, then Doku hit the post.

The immediate concern will be Ederson’s injury but there was still much to admire in City’s display, especially the outstanding Rodri, although De Bruyne was visibly unhappy when he was surprisingly replaced by Mateo Kovacic after 69 minutes.

In the end, City will take a point at Anfield and move on, although they may also feel they let three points escape their grasp because of Ake’s self-inflicted wound.

It was honours even after a magnificent game – but Arsenal are the big winners this weekend.


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