It was a classic. An absolute stunning display of all the best that the Premier League can be. Two of the top clubs in all the world going at each other in a back-and-forth affair at one of football’s most storied grounds. In the end, Liverpool and Manchester City would play to a scintillating 2-2 draw. But if not for one play in the dying moments, the Sky Blues would be feeling much less happy with their visit to Anfield.
It had been a frantic half hour since Sadio Mané had opened the scoring. Liverpool scoring twice, and each time City finding the equalizer. First Phil Foden answering Mané, then Kevin De Bruyne matching the efforts of Mohamed Salah. Man City had looked the better of the two clubs in the first half, but Liverpool had grown into the game furiously in the second stanza.
It was against this back drop that perhaps the play of the game was made. The 87th minute. Late in an action packed closing half. Liverpool and City had been trading blows up and down the pitch. Salah having won a free kick along the right touch line, Jordan Henderson pushed a pass back to the Egyptian striker who lofted a cross into the box from 40 meters.
The pass eluded a charging Ederson who had collided with Rúben Dias while trying to clear the attempt. Ederson staggered back toward his line, but it was too late for him. The ball had found it’s way onto the foot of an unmarked Fabinho. Taking one touch to settle, and with only a gaping goalmouth in front of him, it was over, City were cooked, and Liverpool would be collecting all three points.
Rodri was the closest City player to Fabinho, but he was at least 5 yards from the Brazilian and surely would only be able to watch as he buried the winner. Poor, steady, slow-footed Rodri couldn’t possibly close this down. But he did! The Spaniard closed the gap between himself and the game winner in less than a second. He lunged with his right foot. And with it he saved the shot and the draw for his side.
Certainly it was exciting. And certainly it was nervy. But it may go down as one of the biggest saves of City’s season. It not only preserved the draw and salvaged a point for City, but it also kept Liverpool from going top of the table and 4 points clear of the Champions. In what figures to be a tight title race, that might just be a moment that makes the difference when the trophy is lifted at the end.