Liverpool and Manchester City served up a thrilling Premier League thriller on Sunday night, leaving the title race wide open. The two giants produced an enthralling contest at Anfield that saw Liverpool come from behind to win 3-2 thanks to a last minute strike from Mohamed Salah.
Liverpool and Manchester City served up a Premier League thriller worthy of the great rivalries.
THE CITY OF LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND — When Liverpool plays Manchester City, there are more backslaps and hugs between players than flying pizzas and tunnel bust-ups, but the sheer quality displayed during Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Anfield showed that the rivalry is as intense as when Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger’s greatest teams locked horns.
Nothing can ever compare to the feeling of occasion and suspense that surrounded the bulk of United-Arsenal matches between 1998 and 2004, when the two teams shared seven Premier League championships.
However, nostalgia has a way of making things appear better in the past, rejecting whatever the current day has to offer as a bad copy.
While those games from the past conjure up images of legendary players like Thierry Henry, Wayne Rooney, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Patrick Vieira, and Roy Keane scoring spectacular goals, Liverpool and City’s recent history has its own list of unforgettable contributions, which were added to at Anfield when Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Phil Foden, and Kevin De Bruyne scored sensational goals.
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Salah’s performance, in particular, was among the best the league has ever seen. With his back to goal, the Egypt international gathered the ball well outside the City penalty area, evading several players before turning Aymeric Laporte and firing past Ederson from a tight angle.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp remarked, “Only the greatest players in the world score goals like this.” “It was the initial touch, the first challenge he won, and then he went around and placed it on his right foot, completing the play. Extremely impressive.”
After Foden’s neat finish had cancelled out Mane’s opener, which was set up by another Salah dash, the goal restored Liverpool’s advantage. Anfield was buzzing with anticipation of another victory over the champs, but De Bruyne’s finish from a quick City burst won Pep Guardiola’s team a point. After the game, City manager Pep Guardiola stated, “I adore the Premier League.” “I congratulate Liverpool and their players on their victory. That’s why, in recent years, both clubs have been vying for the Premier League title.”
Beyond the four second-half goals, the talent on show at both ends of the field was outstanding. Alisson Becker, for example, made saves similar to those made by Peter Schmeichel and David Seaman for Manchester United and Arsenal, respectively.
Meanwhile, Rodri’s late block denied Liverpool what appeared to be a certain Fabinho winner; it was a fitting end to a personal duel that demonstrated that, while the game’s evolution has removed the physical confrontations that defined Keane and Vieira’s battles, there is still room for tough-tackling and cynical challenges in any modern rivalry.
Liverpool and Pep Guardiola’s Man City are still the ones to beat in the Premier League. Getty
Yes, unlike when Manchester United defeated Arsenal at Old Trafford in 2004, Liverpool and City have yet to devolve into a post-match feast tossed among opposing players. True, Klopp and Guardiola hugged at the conclusion of the game instead of giving perfunctory handshakes like Ferguson and Wenger, but this game has become the Premier League’s timekeeper.
It’s the first time it’s done so over an extended length of time. The Manchester clubs’ rivalry, ignited by Sheikh Mansour’s purchase of City in 2008, has died down with City’s supremacy since Ferguson’s departure in 2013, but Guardiola’s squad has been exchanging blows with Klopp’s Liverpool for four years.
The two clubs have played 12 times in all competitions since the start of the 2017-18 season, with each side winning four times and drawing four times. Furthermore, the times have always been crucial.
Liverpool’s 4-3 league victory at Anfield in January 2018 was followed three months later by a seismic Champions League quarterfinal success for Klopp’s side. City, on the other hand, has won three of the past four English championships, with 5-0 and 4-0 victories; Liverpool has won the fourth.
For years, the two sides had been inches apart. When the teams met in 2018-19, Liverpool collected 97 points and finished second, one point behind Guardiola and Co., thanks to a crucial clearance from John Stones.
Personalities and stories create rivalries, so don’t underestimate the intensity of City vs. Liverpool just because there isn’t any bad blood. Both sides have players who can compete with those from the United-Arsenal period, and Guardiola and Klopp are just as vital to their respective clubs as Ferguson and Wenger were to theirs.
Despite the fact that City’s possession game lacked a centre-forward to put the finishing touches on their excellent buildup play, Foden and De Bruyne produced beautiful goals. And, despite being pushed back for most of the game, Liverpool demonstrated their razor-sharp cutting edge when Mane and Salah scored.
This period will be judged on the number of trophies it has won in the future. Under Guardiola, City has won everything domestically many times, while Klopp has made Liverpool champions of England, Europe, and the globe.
Seven games into the Premier League season, there is nothing to distinguish between them again; this tense match hinted at both teams battling for the championship, as well as everything else, next May.