- Arthiac Team
Pep Guardiola and his boys took the trip to Liverpool as they prepared to face Jurgen Klopp and his boys on hostile turf in a game with significant pressure on both sides to live up to the expectations and the hype built around this fixture throughout the week.
Liverpool were missing Trent Alexander Arnold as he was ruled out due to a groin injury as veteran James Milner took his place in the side at right-back.
Man City were with Foden, Grealish and Jesus in their attacking line as they looked to build confidence from their win last week against Chelsea at Stamford bridge.
The game began with both sides at high tempo and drive in this fixture with both sides pushing high up the field as the intention was clear on sight, the men in red and blue wanted to win at any cost!
The opening five minutes of the game showed no respite as they came in being explosive with Liverpool being alive for most parts of the game as City looked to build in a calm and comfortable way into the game, but the intensity and hype of the game got to the players a bit as both teams were rusty with the ball at their feet.
It was Phil Foden who looked to exploit the right-hand side of Liverpool's defence that missed Trent Alexander Arnold as the veteran legs of James Milner were put to the test.
Well, Milner was caught out of his position for a while as Grealish came over to the left hand side as he attempted a shot at goal.
However, with the way the first opening 15 minutes of the game went, it clearly showed that both sides were respectful of each other, but that patient build up play from City did catch the hosts on guard which earned them a corner which tested the gloves of Alisson in goal.
Although, each time that Liverpool got the ball at their feet, Man City had men in behind the ball to contain the Reds.
Alisson nearly put his side in trouble as his misplaced pass found Phil Foden, but Man City couldn't not come up with anything comprehensive at Liverpool's goal.
However, Bernardo Silva was the bright spark for Man City as he dribbled and drilled his way out of a tight spot as he manufactured a well-guided pass to Phil Foden who just took time to pull the trigger, but Liverpool's Brazilian keeper kept him out in fine fashion.
Man City were able to generate play from the left-hand side of their attack, i.e., the side in which James Milner operated from, but Liverpool got their teeth into the game as the Kop roared to life as the Reds kept knocking at Pep Guardiola's men.
The game grew into a much physical affair rather than skill and precision which would prove to be the difference.
But Man City had their own spells in the game as they continued persisting to keep the attack going on the left flank and they got through once again with Foden charging towards goal as he was brought down in the penalty box, but replays showed that Milner made slight contact with Foden, but the appeals for a penalty were waived off.
Once again, Man City kept pushing and probing through their left hand side as Phil Foden whipped in a devilish cross over the penalty box which saw Kevin De Bruyne in an open area to the back of the net, but his diving header went way over the crossbar as Pep Guardiola probably felt that he had a chance to head it in comfortably.
The game grew largely into Manchester City's favour as Liverpool were extremely poor as they couldn't keep a hold of the ball for longer periods of time.
Milner was just getting ripped to pieces as Foden and Grealish kept getting at him time and time again as he probably felt the heat getting onto him as he picked up a yellow card.
That was when you felt that Man City were in total control of the pattern of play, but as usual, there was nothing much to show for it for Pep Guardiola and his men.
Foden was just fizzing down the left hand side of City's attack as a demonic delivery from Ederson found Man City's number 47 as Alisson came rushing out to prevent him from scoring.
In a game such as this with this magnitude, you just never know what to expect and the faithful of Liverpool were in disagreement with how their side played out in the first half as Jurgen Klopp was seen sprinting at his own pace at the tender age of 54.
You could say, there's a much better Liverpool side coming out in the second half of the game, but Pep Guardiola would be disappointed to see that his side were not clinical enough to seal the countless opportunities they had on goal.
The second half began with Liverpool's tail up as they looked to make amends for their poor first half performance. They came gunning down on Dias and Laporte in defence as they began to grow their own roots in this fixture.
Buddy! They did it! Liverpool just broke through City's right hand side through Mohamed Salah as he found his strike partner in Sadio Mane as the Senegalese rifled his shot deep and low past Ederson who couldn't do much to stop the smearing pace and resilience of Mane.
The place? It was rocking as Liverpool stepped on the gas when it mattered the most!
Pace was the only way at which Liverpool could make nuisance at City's dominant display throughout the game and they certainly made the most of it through Sadio Mane.
The game picked up pace after Liverpool took the lead with Sterling and Firmino coming onto the scene with Grealish and Jota making way.
But hang on! The lad who always scores against Liverpool whenever he has faced them has equalised.
Phil Foden silenced the Kop. We've been stressing earlier in this article, that the threat for Liverpool came in from their right hand side where Milner was operating from and that was exactly where Pep's young lad, Foden took centre stage as he drew the leveler with 20 odd minutes left on the clock.
James Milner was extremely fortunate to escape from a red card when he stuck his leg out to bring Bernardo Silva down which saw Pep Guardiola angered and booked.
Prior to that, we just saw one of the greatest goals in the fixture between these two colossal sides.
Mohamed Salah just pulled out a rabbit off his Egyptian hat as he dribbled past Bernardo Silva, Aymeric Laporte and Ruben Dias to score a glorious goal as he scored with his right foot off the post and that goal just BLEW THE ROOF at the Anfield stadium.
It was quiet in the first half, but there were more goals coming, this time, Man City broke through Foden once again and as the ball arrived to the Belgian, Kevin De Bruyne, he did not waste any time in pulling the trigger as his effort on target clipped Matip as it deflected onto the back of the net as Guardiola was seen fired up at the sight of that goal.
Liverpool kept coming like a Lion and they nearly found the net as Ederson misjudged the flight of the ball as it fell at the feet of Fabinho who had the heavens opened wide in front of him to give Liverpool the lead, but Rodri came in with a last ditch tackle to deny a volcanic eruption at Anfield.
It was box office football in the final 10 minutes of the game as both sides looked to land a few heavy blows by winning it at the end, but both sides defended really well as the points were shared.
Liverpool and Manchester City sit in 2nd and 3rd place with 15 and 14 points on the board.
We didn't have much to talk about in terms of goals in the opening 45 minutes of the game, but the second half provided us with 4 goals in just over 20 minutes.
You couldn't take your breath away from this fixture as I'm still not done with my Chips and dips here. Lol!
What a Stunning Game!
Player ratings: Liverpool
- Alisson: 7/10 - A few untimed passes, but he denied Foden well in the 1st half.
- Robertson: 6.5/10 - Struggled to get going in the 1st half, but made good surging runs up front in the 2nd.
- Matip: 6/10 - Was good aerially and denied KDB, Grealish and Foden quite well on the ground. The ball deflected off him into the goal.
- Van Dijk: 6.5/10 - The Dutch defender didn’t have much to do as City’s threat came down the flanks.
- Milner: 5.5/10 - Had a very tough night at right-back. Definitely should have been sent off for a foul on Bernardo Silva.
- Fabinho: 5.5/10 - Missed an open chance to goal. He was average in midfield doing the dirty work.
- Henderson: 6/10 - He had a quiet night by his standards.
- Jones: 5.5/10 - Did a lot of hard work in both halves, but he struggled to get the ball moving.
- Mane: 8/10 - Got one opportunity and he grabbed it with both hands.
- Jota: 6.5/10 - Worked tirelessly up front to link Salah and Mane, but couldn't make the most of it.
- Salah: 9/10 - A sensational goal and an assist to his name. Worked well with and without the ball. Linked up well with his teammates.
Player ratings: Manchester City
- Ederson: 6.5/10 - Made a few errors in the game especially the one where he misjudged the flight of the ball. However, he was comfortable with the ball at his feet.
- Kyle Walker: 7/10 - Surged with real pace up front in the dying minutes of the game and had a wayward attempt at goal. Got forward in good attacking areas in the first half.
- Ruben Dias: 6/10 - He was booked early on in the game. He had a good defensive game, winning a fair few battles on the pitch. Made a few good blocks and clearances.
- Laporte: 7/10 - He could have done better with Salah’s goal, but nevertheless, he covered up for Ruben Dias on many occasions.
- Cancelo: 7.5/10 - Gave Milner a real tough time in the opening 45 minutes of the game. Linked up well with Foden, Grealish and KDB. Attacking output declined in the second-half.
- Rodri: 7.5/10 - Cut out many counter-attacks from Liverpool, but one effort that counted the most was his goal-saving tackle.
- Kevin De Bruyne: 8/10 - He should have scored in the 1st half. Built up play really well in midfield. Got the second goal. He was up for the fight.
- Bernardo Silva: 8/10 - Dribbled past a number of Liverpool defenders during the game. Showed real character and determination. Tireless display in midfield for the Portuguese midfielder.
- Jesus: 7.5/10 - Worked well and brought his strike partners into the main fold. Set up a beautiful assist to Foden.
- Phil Foden: 9/10 - He was their bright spark in both halves. Gave James Milner a horrible time at right back and took the game on at Liverpool. Rifled a really good goal.
- Jack Grealish: 6.5/10 - Started on the left-hand side of attack in the 1st half and switched flanks regularly. Had a quiet evening, but linked up decently with Cancelo and Foden.