Liverpool and Manchester City play out enthralling draw at Anfield

Liverpool and Manchester City play out enthralling draw at Anfield

Alexis Mac Allister’s penalty earned Liverpool a dramatic 1-1 draw against Manchester City that left the destiny of the Premier League still very much up in the air.

A point apiece means Arsenal remain top of the table on goal difference from Jurgen Klopp’s side but they have to go to the Etihad in three weeks with the gap to City currently only a point.

The Argentina midfielder struck from the spot to cancel out John Stones’ first Premier League goal since April.

In reality this game was never likely to point to the eventual champions but what it did serve up was a reminder that these two teams remain the top-flight’s standard bearers.

Whether that will remain the same after Jurgen Klopp’s departure in the summer remains to be seen but Pep Guardiola has still not won at Anfield in front of fans.

Nevertheless he left the happier of the two managers after enduring significant second-half pressure.

Guardiola may consider himself fortunate as in the final seconds VAR ruled Jeremy Doku’s chest-high challenge on Mac Allister did not warrant a second spot-kick.

Klopp will be satisfied with a point but will know it was perhaps a missed opportunity.

City changed their pre-match routine and arrived in mini-buses rather than by coach after previous incidents en route to the ground and even Liverpool avoided the heavily-congested Anfield Road, filled with the acrid smoke of flares, to come in the back way.

The first half could be divided into thirds, with City holding the initiative in the first and last but not pressing home their advantage.

Kevin De Bruyne’s early shot was parried by Caoimhin Kelleher before momentum switched with youngster Conor Bradley turning Nathan Ake before curling a low cross which just evaded Darwin Nunez, whose tumbling header then dropped wide before he was flagged offside after squaring for Luis Diaz to tap into an empty net.

City opened the scoring with a move straight off the training ground.

De Bruyne’s clever, low corner was driven into the near post to be turned home by Stones after Ake had cleared the space by manoeuvring Mac Allister out of the way.

Guardiola turned to point to set-piece coach Carlos Vicens for the input he had in the game.

The one-to-one everyone was looking forward to pitched a charging Erling Haaland against a backtracking Virgil van Dijk after a misjudgement by Jarell Quansah but the experienced Dutch international jockeyed the striker onto his left foot and Kelleher saved comfortably.

Van Dijk was imperious throughout, subduing Haaland, and even deep into second-half added time he was still winning challenges as he dispossessed Phil Foden as he threatened to break.

Liverpool were far from cowed by City’s control and better finishing from Dominik Szoboszlai, with a flying header, and Luis Diaz could have put them level at the break.

But it took them just two minutes of the second half to equalise as Ake left his backpass short and Nunez nipped in to nick it past Ederson, who sent the Uruguay striker flying.

For the second time in four days Mac Allister was nerveless from the spot and the punishment was doubled for City when Ederson was forced off with injury.

That was the signal for Liverpool to seize the momentum but Diaz’s touch from Nunez’s return pass was terrible and he lost possession with only Ederson’s replacement Stefan Ortega to beat.

Mohammed Salah made his arrival on the hour and sliced open City’s defence with a magnificent pass only for Diaz to balloon wide.

The Colombia forward’s afternoon did not get any better when he was robbed by Kyle Walker as he prepared to pull the trigger eight yards out.

Salah and Mac Allister both had attempts and, with no sign of the red tide easing, Guardiola sent on Mateo Kovacic for De Bruyne.

Ortega’s brilliant close-range block denied Nunez before Kelleher punched an Ake cross into Foden, with the ball rebounded onto the crossbar, although replays showed it had come off the forward’s arm.

Doku hit the post in the 89th minute, Salah ran down the other end to shoot straight at Ortega before VAR had the final, contentious, say.

Published: by Radio NewsHub

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