Manchester City 1-1 Liverpool: Who Was Man of the Match?
The points were shared at the Etihad Stadium as Liverpool and Manchester City played out a 1-1 draw in the final match before we head into another international break. It was probably a fair result with both teams failing to create too many clear-cut chances. City will feel the more disappointed of the two sides, though, having missed a penalty late in the first half.
In goal, Alisson was very impressive. He was so quick off his line on a number of occasions which snuffed out any potential danger. He also kept out a Sterling one-on-one in the first half where he denied the Englishman from close-range.
In defence, we welcomed back Joel Matip for his first appearance since the derby at Goodison Park. He lined up alongside Trent, Robertson and Gomez. Defensively, the Cameroonian played quite well, but you could tell it was his first game in a while by his passing. Normally it’s one of his strengths to play balls into midfield but he struggled against City. This was partly down to the home side’s press in the second half making forward passes difficult to find. Robertson was also quite wasteful with possession, often electing to play hopeful long passes over the top which were cut out time and again. I did feel that the Scot defended well, however, which was important against a team as dangerous going forward as Manchester City.
In midfield, due to a change in system, only Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum occupied the central spots. It was always going to be tough for them to play in a two-man midfield away to Man City and they did get caught out on a few occasions. They’re clearly not as comfortable with this system as the 4-3-3 and that is understandable. Having the likes of Fabinho, Keita and Thiago back soon who are used to playing in a two-man midfield will help greatly when Klopp wants to try this formation again going forward.
In attack, a four of Salah, Mane, Firmino and Jota were given starts. It was a case of having to reward Jota’s form and Klopp’s unwillingness to drop Firmino. For the first half-an-hour or so it looked very good with their quick passing and movement causing all sorts of problems. However, once we lost some control of the game, they didn’t have the same impact. Jota on the right wasn’t ideal and limited his impact, while Firmino continued the form we’ve come to expect from him over the last 12 months or so. Mane did well to win the penalty which Salah put away, with those two being the most dangerous of the front four throughout the game.
As for Man of the Match, I’m going with Alisson. We needed him to be at his best to get anything from the game and he certainly was. He swept up brilliantly when City threatened in-behind our defence and stood up well to the few good shooting chances he faced as well.