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Manchester City 1-1 Liverpool, 2017 Premier League: 3 Things We Learned

City rebounded from their Champions League exit with a highly respectable performance against Liverpool.

Manchester City v Liverpool - Premier League Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Manchester City and Liverpool suffered from awkward mistakes in front of goal but played an overall exciting game to thrill an Etihad audience.

Although, a City win would have been preferable, the draw reiterates how similar the two clubs are at this point in their respective projects.

Here are three things we learned:

1 - City players have great personality

City needed individuals who can steer the team in a positive direction with self-assured performances on the pitch, and they're getting it now.

The front five (David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, Leroy Sané, Sergio Agüero, Raheem Sterling) have shown that they deserve their place at the forefront of Pep Guardiola’s current schemes, but the rise of Willy Caballero and John Stones gives City a more balanced platform.

The Argentinian keeper has helped the Sky Blues rebound into sure contention for a place in the top four. Against Liverpool, a handful of wonderful saves kept City in the game.

John Stones has matured quickly after early-season woes threatened to tarnish his hopeful future. Improvements in his defensive positioning and decision making, along with growing skills in the build-up, has validated City’s decision to lure him away from Everton.

2 - City struggle against speed

On a number of occasions, City defenders were left scrambling and either struggled to challenge Liverpool’s attackers or left Caballero open to their advances.

The high line that has been employed during open play and set-pieces often tempts opponents to play over the top. Players like Nicolas Otamendi are not fit for such pursuits, as it became evident on Sunday’s match.

On the opposite end, City have the pace to unravel their opponents but need to finish with more efficiency. As the team progresses, the agility to close passing lanes and get numbers quickly into the box will be key to increasing their goal differential.

3 - City played with purpose

Despite all of their growth since January, City’s first half performance at Monaco required a swift response. In the second half at Monaco and against Liverpool, they showed that they will not go without a fight in Guardiola’s first season.

Improvements in front of the goal are not far off as Sterling and Sané provide regular drives into the box. Agüero has re-emerged as a master of maneuvers that could easily unsettle opponents.

As they head to the international break, the Sky Blues will be somewhat content with where they stand but there is much to be desired.

They cannot afford distractions or missteps when they return, and it will be important to advance as far as possible toward their ideal style of play before the end of the season.