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Manchester City Held by Liverpool

Blues Remain One Point Clear at Top of Table

Manchester City v Liverpool - Premier League Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Manchester City remained top of the Premier League table after a thrilling 2-2 draw at home to title rivals Liverpool. Goals from Kevin de Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus twice put the blues in front, only to be pegged back by strikes from Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane. However, the blues could have claimed the three points had a strike from Phil Foden not be hauled back for a foul in the build-up, or a dubious offside given against Raheem Sterling with the score at 2-2.

The match was billed as the ‘title decider,’ with both teams eager to claim victory and the initiative in the title race. However, with seven matches and twenty-one points still left to play for, it was still a little premature to claim the winners would be crowned champions at the end of the season.

Although there are seven matches to go, City’s season is likely to hinge on two tough away matches. The blues face a trip to West Ham in the penultimate match of the season, and must also visit Wolves in a rearranged fixture due to the FA Cup semi-final. How City perform in those two matches will likely determine the colour of the ribbons that adorn the Premier League trophy in May.

But the point keeps the blues ahead of their Merseyside rivals and the task in hand for the blues is now easily summed. Win all their remaining matches and City are crowned champions. Either that or just match what Liverpool do and the reds can’t overtake them.

The blues set out with purpose in the first half and took the lead after just five minutes. Moments earlier, Jesus found Sterling completely unmarked inside the penalty area, but Alisson in the Liverpool goal made a decent save. From there, City won a free kick which found de Bruyne, and the Belgian charged forward and hit a shot that deflected of a defender and into the back of the goal.

The visitors were level just six minutes later as City switched off at the back to allow Trent Alexander -Armstrong to pass back to Jota, and the former Wolves man side-footed home.

Goalkeeper Ederson, well known for his coolness under pressure, once again demonstrated this extraordinary ability when he gave the faithful a heart-in-their-mouths moment. The Brazilian looked to control the ball but got his foot caught in the turf and, with the ball rolling towards the goal, calmly chased after it and played a casual pass to Aymeric Laporte, despite the on-rushing Jota trying to get a deflection.

It was a moment of madness from the keeper, but at the other end, City were finding space behind the Liverpool defence and eight minutes before the break, Jesus made it 2-1. A corner on the City left as headed clear, but only as far as Joao Cancelo. The Portuguese defender’s cross-field ball found Jesus in acres of space to fire into the roof of the goal.

Liverpool looked for the offside flag that never came and for once, Jesus had timed his run to perfection, giving the faithful a moment of seeing him onside.

The visitors levelled for a second time in the opening stages of the second half. Mo Salah’s ball through the City defence found Mane, and the Senegal striker rifled home Liverpool’s second equaliser of the afternoon.

Sterling then thought he’d given City the lead for the third time in the match. De Bruyne’s ball set the England man clear, and Sterling finished well, much to the delight of the home fans. But delight turned to despair when VAR ruled the goal out for the most marginal of offside.

Substitute Riyad Mahrez then hit the post in the closing stages before having a glorious chance to win it for the blues moments later. City broke up a Liverpool attack and de Bruyne charged forward, before releasing the Algerian. Mahrez cut inside onto his left foot and, with the hard work down, hit his shot agonisingly over the bar.

A point was enough o keep City in pole position in the title race, and next face back-to-back home matches against Brighton and struggling Watford, while Liverpool also face successive home matches against Manchester United and Everton. The two finish the month away from home, with City travelling to Leeds while Liverpool visit Newcastle.

Next up for City is a trip to Madrid as they try to secure a Champions League semi-final spot, before heading to Wembley at the weekend to face Liverpool as they look to book a place in the FA Cup final.

Final Score: Manchester City 2-2 Liverpool