Manchester City closed the game on league leaders Liverpool to four points by recording a 2-1 victory over the Merseysiders at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday night. The win was vital to keep the reigning champions in with a chance catch Jurgen Klopp’s team at the top of the table.
A tight contest
The match was a very affair with both teams remaining compact. The first sniff of goal came for the visitors on 11 minutes Mohamed Salah found Sadio Mane with a superb through ball, only for the winger’s effort to strike the post.
However, City centre-back John Stones attempted to clear the ball only to hit his own goalkeeper Ederson, the ball rebounded towards the goal and Stones made a superb goalline clearance. The goal technology confirmed that the ball did not quite cross the line.
Mane then fired straight at Ederson after good work by Andy Robertson. City captain Vincent Kompany went in the book for a lunge on Salah before the half-hour mark, with some claiming the centre-back should have been dismissed.
Sergio Aguero saw a penalty appeal waved away after the striker went down under a challenge from Virgil van Dijk in the visitor’s penalty area. The decision may not have gone their way, but the lead did on 40 minutes, as Aguero beat Dejan Lovren before smashing an effort home past Alisson at his near post.
Liverpool levelled the score on 64 minutes. Trent Alexander-Arnold found opposite full-back Robertson at the far post and the Scot volleyed the ball back across goal for Roberto Firmino to stoop and head into an empty net.
With the game delicately balanced, City scored their second goal of the game on 72 minutes Raheem Sterling produced a good solo run and found Leroy Sane, who fired home off the post from just outside the area.
Aguero came close to sealing victory with seven minutes remaining, as Aguero found himself one-on-one with Alisson, only for the Brazilian to get a hand to the ball as the striker attempted to round him. The Liverpool goalkeeper also denied Bernardo Silva after a poor error from Lovren.
The ending was tense, as Klopp’s side attempted to find an equaliser. However, in truth, they never looked like levelling the scores.
Liverpool still the favourites for the title
Despite the victory, Liverpool remain favourites for the title, as their lead at the top of the table is still healthy. It is now Liverpool’s lead to lose, so their destiny is still in their own hands.
However, the defeat the Reds first defeat of the campaign. It will be interesting to see how the current team copes with the pressure, as previous Reds teams have crumbled in recent seasons when in the lead at the top of the Premier League table.
A Manchester City win has at least kept the title race alive as if Liverpool had have won the Merseysiders would have been ten points clear, which would have all-but ended interest in the title for the rest of the season.
Will Liverpool still win the Premier League title?