Manchester City finished up what may be their toughest stretch of the 2021/22 campaign against Liverpool FC at Anfield on Sunday. After a week that saw them dominate in a 1-0 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on the previous Saturday and a Tuesday evening loss at Le Parc des Princes to PSG, City
Liverpool were on the front foot early in this one and controlled the possession through the first 10 minutes. They probed City’s back line but were unable to find any cracks in the defense. Ruben Dias and Aymeric LaPorte easily handled the Liverpool attack, and in the end the Reds were unable to put any real pressure on Ederson.
The Sky Blues took over after that. City held possession in the Liverpool end for almost the entirety of the remainder of the first half. Rodri, Joao Cancelo, Kyle Walker, and Bernardo Silva quickly neutralized any emerging counter attacks, and rarely let Liverpool escape their own end.
Despite their dominance on the ball, Man City were unable to find the breakthrough goal that they desperately deserved. Two great Phil Foden chances were thwarted by Allison. Each save better than the last. The inability to finish kept Liverpool in the game despite being severely outplayed.
Liverpool had much more to say at the beginning of the second half. A tactical change by Jurgen Klopp had his side opening up the pitch and they finally unlocked the City defense. Mo Salah on the counter attack, found Sadio Mane for a shot that beat Ederson to put Liverpool up 1-0 in the 59th minute.
The goal only energized the match. Both defenses opened up as City now sent more players forward to find the equalizer. The next ten minutes were a frantic back and forth as each side took turns causing danger in the opponents end.
City found the leveler in the 69th. Kevin De Bruyne received the pass across midfield from Bernardo, then he patiently picked out Gabriel Jesus cutting in behind a Walker run. Jesus pushed the ball across the front of the Penalty area and found Foden on the left of the box. Foden pushed his first touch slightly to the left before sending a cultured finish past Allison to the far post.
Liverpool were a bit lucky not to be down to ten men. James Milner should have been sent off on his second yellow after tripping Bernardo as he built up the left side. Not only did Referee Paul Tierney Keep the card in his pocket, he swallowed the whistle entirely. Just four minutes later Liverpool would pull back ahead.
Salah created an incredible chance, single handedly breaking down the City defense. Coming from the right of Ederson’s penalty area, Salah wove his way through a sea of Blues to get the ball to his right foot. He let loose a shot from the tight angle that found it’s way past Ederson to send Liverpool out in front late.
The Anfield crowd had reached a frenzy and City were now frantic to equalize once more. Just five minutes after the Salah strike, KDB started another Sky Blue foray into the Liverpool end and found Foden out wide to the left. Phil found Walker streaking to the spot where he back heeled to the half circle to the trailing De Bruyne who hit a screamer that deflected off Joël Matip and into the goal.
That would close the score book. But the action would continue to the final whistle. It was perhaps the best game of football played in the Premier League this season, and it will do nothing to dissuade those who believe that City and Liverpool will fight for the title until the very last day.
In a week where they played on the road at Chelsea, PSG, and Liverpool, City were able to acquit themselves nicely and came away with 4 points from a possible 6 in the EPL. It wasn’t perfect, but we may look back at this 8 day stretch as a pivotal point for Manchester City.