Manchester City v Liverpool FC Three things that stood out in the best game: Guardiola-Elf keeps the Reds alive

Leader versus chaser, Pep Guardiola versus Jürgen Klopp, or as Liverpool icon Jamie Carragher put it, the “duel between the two best teams in the world”.

As the title clash between Manchester City and Liverpool FC approaches, superlatives have certainly not been spared – but the best match should deliver.

The Citizens, who played like crazy at the start, went ahead twice thanks to Kevin De Bruyne (5th) and Gabriel Jesus (36th). Diogo Jota (12th) and Sadio Mané (46th) secured a happy 2-2 draw for Liverpool and star manager Jürgen Klopp.

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Three things we noticed in the top game.

1. City keep Liverpool alive

The whole of England football looked forward to Manchester on Sunday.

As so often, the question arose as the title showdown approached whether it should be the spectacle Klopp had predicted or a more tactical game. The Citizens provided the more than clear answer to that after less than five minutes, when Raheem Sterling came up short alone against Reds goalkeeper Alisson Becker.

De Bruyne went one better moments later when he passed Fabinho in midfield and hopefully (deflected off by Marvin Matip) scored to make it 1-0. As a result, the home side managed time and time again to thwart Liverpool’s back line with surgically precise passes from half the pitch. Jesus’ second goal for the Skyblues was a stroke of genius from João Cancelo, who sent the Brazilian into the spotlight with a perfectly timed chip pass.

“I think we played very well today and dominated the game. The way we played today was very, very good. We have to score more goals, that’s the only downside. Otherwise , we played well,” said De Bruyne, visibly disappointed afterwards. “Sky”.

The stats reflect the Belgian’s statements well: a 7:2 shootout record and a tackle record of nearly 63% illustrated the home side’s superiority in the first round. Only the exploitation of chances was not worthy of an English champion. “We feel like we missed a great opportunity. We were the better team and could have made many decisions better in the opposing third,” argued Guardiola.

After the two teams were largely neutralized in the second 45 minutes, it was again the Citizens who had the lucky break several times in the final phase. Substitute Riyad Mahrez only hit the post with a direct free kick (90′) and shortly after made the wrong decision in the opposing penalty area (90’+4′).

“Liverpool must be happy with the point because City were more dominant for 90 minutes and had the better chances,” said Sky pundit and former Liverpool professional Dietmar Hamann.

Phil Foden – Manchester City

Photo credit: Getty Images

2. Half of Liverpool to forget

Klopp kept shaking his head in disbelief and even the Reds fans barely recognized their team in the opening minutes.

The guests initially had no control over the game and therefore practically no more ball possession phases. The reason for this was City’s high pressing, with which they almost constantly put the opponent under pressure.

But Liverpool not only revealed weaknesses in their own build-up game, but also in the game against the ball, Klopp’s side did not put enough pressure on opponents with the ball, so they able to topple the extremely high line of defense. of the Liverpool team with long balls again and again.

“We had a lot of pressure from City at the start. It was hectic,” admitted Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson after the game. Liverpool only managed two penalty kicks in the first half, in which even stars like Thiago and Fabinho showed up extremely error-prone. The halftime score of 1:2 was therefore flattering.

It wasn’t until the start of the second half and Mane’s goal to make it 2-2 before the 2019 Champions League winner really got into the best game and met City at eye level. “It was like a boxing match. You put your arms down for a second and you get a huge punch and you shake a bit,” Klopp said, continuing: “It was a great match and a result that we have to live with and be able to live.”

Despite all the criticism, it is positive to point out that Liverpool showed excellent morale despite all the setbacks. “We didn’t lose and showed character. We came from behind twice,” a delighted Henderson said.

Virgil van Dijk, Thiago and Diogo Jota (left to right) – Liverpool FC

Photo credit: Getty Images

3. Pep’s trump wins

Fox trainer Guardiola had once again amazed all pundits as the title showdown approached.

Instead of the in-form Mahrez, Jesus, who hasn’t exactly emerged as a proven goalscorer with two goals this season, was allowed to start in the attacking row of three.

“It’s a bit of a surprise,” Hamann wondered. Former national goalkeeper Rene Adler agreed with his expert colleague. “He hasn’t had a good season so far, so I’m surprised.”

Guardiola had his thoughts on the 25-year-old’s appointment, as he revealed. “He is very experienced and has already played several games against Liverpool, so we chose him,” he explained. Success should prove the star coach right.

Jesus was a constant frontline asset, constantly causing danger with his deep runs. He capped off his impressive performance with a technically demanding goal to make it 2-1. “A sensational finish,” enthused Hamann.

The Brazilian scored the most goals (four) until he was substituted in the 83rd minute (for Jack Grealish) but, like his teammates, missed a few good chances. All in all, however, the striker has undoubtedly recommended himself for other tasks.

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