When Manchester meets Merseyside, sparks are expected to fly and hostility usually shapes the environment. Same happened as Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City hosted Liverpool at the Etihad. Pep has met Klopp before on the German soil and on the English territory as well earlier and it has always been a tight affair. The match started on a balanced note with both sides meeting the tactical preparation of the other but then the game which was simmering until the thirty-minute mark absolutely boiled over.
Both the teams started carving each other apart and the first half ended on a promising note. Second half matched the tune of the first and Liverpool drew first blood after Clichy’s high tackle on Firmino saw Michael Oliver pointing to the spot and Milner duly scored from the penalty spot. Manchester City had to answer and a quarter of an hour later and beyond that, a whipped cross from De Bruyne from the right was slotted in by Aguero and the match ended leaving neutrals salivating on a sublime game.
3 Things We Learnt From Liverpool’s Hard Fought Draw Vs Manchester City
The draw between these two has busted open the top four race
Liverpool have played two games more than Manchester United and their gap remains to be four points ahead of them with the Merseyside Derby to come next week. Manchester City on the other hand face Arsenal who will be hungry to respond under Wenger after humiliating defeats in the league while United host West Brom. Any more dropped points from either of City and Liverpool will mean that United have a fantastic chance to leap over them. Also, it will be too soon to write off Arsenal.
A victory for the Gunners over City and a draw at Merseyside would mean that they will be back in the race as well. The draw has helped all the teams surrounding them and indeed it has busted open the race for the top four and the comfort these two enjoyed isn’t there anymore.
Defensively, two solid performances. Have the teams found their balance at a crucial stage?
Emre Can dominated proceedings in the middle for Liverpool and excelled in the role that Henderson played in earlier. Liverpool have found their defensive pair as well. Nathaniel Clyne had a wonderful game over Sane and the attack of Liverpool seems set. Same can be said for City as well as the offensive five of Sterling, De Bruyne, Sane, Silva and Aguero seem to have cemented their place. Stones had a brilliant night whereas Fernandinho too stepped up and so did Otamendi.
Heading into a very crunch match, both the teams seem to have found a balance in this game from which they can build upon and improvise. In the heated race for top four where balance and maintenance of the squad is ever so crucial, this game has provided lots of positives for both the sides.
Who looks likelier to drop out of the top four?
In the course of the season, one thing becomes evident. Premier League is a league where performances against the lower sides win you the league. Liverpool have the highest points against the top six but their seasons has been dotted with the points dropped against minnows. Guardiola’s Manchester City have always pulled the trigger when needed but this is something that cannot be firmly answered. Fixtures definitely favour Liverpool but their tendency to drop points is horrible. City have to face United, Chelsea, Arsenal.
It looks like Manchester City will still step up against other teams and get the qualification wherever Liverpool can be expected to drop their flow. Jose Mourinho has never finished below third place and secretly he will have an eye on a higher finish. They have games in hand as well so they are the makers of their own destiny. If they get the points, Liverpool indeed drops out of the top 4.
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