Manchester City 1 – 1 Liverpool – The Postmortem 

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Crucial Point for the Reds

This was a very important contest, one which saw the Premier League’s two outstanding sides going head-to-head on match week thirteen. The international break (in the fortnight prior) had seen Everton receive a ten-point deduction for their single charge, which of course sent the entire football reporting world into a Manchester City related debate, given their own 115-charges and likelihood of major sanctions. This game was always going to be in the balance, given so many international players had travelled the globe in the two weeks prior. The pre-game was a tense build-up and even more so to watch.

The Starting Eleven

  • Alisson Becker
  • Trent Alexander Arnold
  • Virgil van Dijk (c)
  • Joël Matip
  • Kostas Tsimikas
  • Alexis Mac Allister
  • Dominik Szoboszlai
  • Curtis Jones
  • Mohamed Salah
  • Diogo Jota
  • Darwin Núñez

Subs

  • Ryan Gravenberch – Curtis Jones (54 mins)
  • Luis Díaz – Diogo Jota (54 mins)
  • Cody Gakpo – Dominik Szoboszlai (73 mins)
  • Wataru Endō – Alexis Mac Allister (85 mins)
  • Harvey Elliott – Darwin Núñez (85 mins)

Goals

  • Manchester City 1 – 0 Liverpool: Erling Haaland (Nathan Aké) 27 mins
  • Manchester City 1 – 1 Liverpool: Trent Alexander Arnold (Mohamed Salah) 80 mins

Important Match Stats

  • Possession: Manchester City 61% – Liverpool 39%
  • Total Shots: Manchester City 16 – Liverpool 8
  • Total Crosses: Manchester City 25 – Liverpool 13
  • Counter Attacks: Manchester City 3 – Liverpool 4

The First Half Analysis

The opening period of this game saw the battle of two sides used to taking immediate control of proceedings. Within a cagey and tactically tense initial exchange, it was perhaps the visitors that started to look the more likely to score. Unfortunately for the reds, a combination of overthinking and perhaps some very long international journeys, saw Alisson Becker succumb to a couple of uncharacteristic errors. The first mistake came to nothing, as his pass from goal was intercepted close to goal. The second mishap was not so lucky, as it created an urgent siege that ended with the world’s deadliest marksman bearing down on goal.

The opening goal was dispatched into the far bottom corner by Erling Haaland, which allowed the home team to draw first blood. For the remaining twenty minutes of that first half, it was a case of the reds trying to stay composed, as Pep Guardiola’s men started to hunt that crucial second goal. Throughout the first half, Jérémy Doku had been the common out ball (for City), as he was no doubt instructed to try and exploit Liverpool’s own version of the hybrid initiative. Though Trent Alexander was tested and overrun on a few occasions, the central defenders remained vigilant and firm, despite underwhelming for the only goal of the first period.

Liverpool were 0-1 down, however, it was an even affair that will have left their German manager frustrated.

The Second Half Breakdown

On resumption of the second half, no one would have argued the removal of either Curtis Jones or Diogo Jota. Both these players were very ineffective before the break, therefore, to see them leave the field so soon after the restart was no surprise. From this moment onwards, it was a case of waiting to see who would strike next. A second City goal would have ended the contest, which nearly came, if not for the rightful intervention of VAR. After the ball had been bundled into the goal, Liverpool’s goalkeeper was rightly adjudged to have been fouled from the corner, which allowed the game to stay in the balance.

Throughout the encounter, both Darwin and Salah offered moments of danger, yet it was Liverpool’s vice-captain, Trent Alexander Arnold, who levelled the encounter, as his good on ball work and awareness around the box allowed him to drive into a shooting position, before striking the ball beyond Ederson. It must be noted that the ball carrying and progressive play of the reds substitute, Ryan Gravenberch, was key in creating prior opportunities and the resulting equaliser. Game management came into effect for the away side, as Manchester City gave their all to try and snatch a late winner, one which never came.

Final Thoughts and Reflections

A visit to the home of the dominant Premier League champions, Manchester City, is undoubtedly the toughest fixture on anyone’s calendar. After securing 23 straight home victories, to gain a point is a tremendous accomplishment for Liverpool. A transitional period continues for the Merseyside giants, which makes this post international draw a big plus point for a team during regeneration. The intricacies and weaknesses of the evolving Liverpool team are sometimes evident to the fanbase and opposition, yet Jürgen Klopp and his team were able to match their opponents, thereby producing a decent performance when so many others wilt.

The weekend ended with Liverpool in third position, just two points behind top-placed Arsenal. After the disaster of a season that was the 2022/23 campaign, the entire Liverpool fanbase must celebrate the steps that are being taken, though will surely be mindful of the many miles that remain in the quest for renewed elite status.

Pre-game prediction:

Manchester City 1 – 1 Liverpool

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