Manchester City and Liverpool ran it back for the Premier League title, and this time saw a 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium, joining the four-goal split at Anfield in October.
[ MORE: An enthusiastic JPW live from the Etihad ]
Man City ran its unbeaten streak to five-straight against Liverpool, and it comes as no surprise that those four points it kept from the Reds may be what keeps them atop the Premier League table for a third-straight season.
Pep Guardiola’s now posted four wins, four draws, and just one loss in his last nine meetings against Jurgen Klopp, all coming in the Premier League save for a Man City triumph in the 2019-20 Community Shield.
City keeps its one-point lead on Liverpool with seven Premier League matches left for each side. Both teams have UEFA Champions League quarterfinal second legs at midweek before an FA Cup semifinal date next weekend.
Man City vs Liverpool final score, stats
Man City 2, Liverpool 2
Scorers: De Bruyne (5′), Jota (13′), Jesus (36′), Mane (46′)
Shot attempts: Man City 11, Liverpool 6
Shots on goal: Man City 5, Liverpool 4
Possession: Man City 55, Liverpool 45
Three things we learned Man City vs Liverpool
1. The Coronation Gala was appropriately lavish, but ended with a new coronation date: We got everything we expected. Everything. Was the playmaking of Joao Cancelo or Trent Alexander-Arnold going to swing the game in his club’s favor? Yes. Would a surprise lineup move show one boss’ genius and a halftime adjustment remind us of the others’ brilliance? Yes. Two teams missing exactly one player of consequence — Man City center back Ruben Dias — gave us the appropriate spectacle of two impossibly big-spending teams with legendary bosses who preach the beauty and importance of positive football…. and refusing to back off those philosophies. You can easily imagine both teams realizing mid-game, “Well, no one else is beating these guys, so if we want to like our chances win the title, it’s gonna have to be us.”
2. TAA is incredible going forward and also who we thought he was: The intrepid right back is one of the best playmakers in the world and has taken real strides when it comes to obvious defensive shortcomings, but there’s a big, big difference between improving your defensive stock to become a suitable defender against most teams and being capable of slowing one of the best attacks the game’s ever seen. Alexander-Arnold was outright careless in his own end and if you use the word ‘subpar’ it wouldn’t be cruel. But his incredible vision and precision at the other end meant he wasn’t coming off (and we know Jurgen Klopp isn’t going to use the biggest game of the season to put TAA in midfield, where so many critics think he fits).
3. Klopp goes for it… but too little, too late? Liverpool didn’t need to win, but whatever verb is just behind need, this was that. Klopp’s first sub was Luis Diaz for Diogo Jota — like-for-like at worst — in the 70th minute, while it took until the 78th for the boss to remove his ineffective (on the day) captain Jordan Henderson. The ex-Sunderland man and English national team star, 31, was involved in a total of four duels and had just 44 touches in his shift, registering two tackles, zero clearances, zero blocks, zero interceptions, and zero key passes.
Man of the Match: Is it Gabriel Jesus, Mohamed Salah, or Alisson Becker? Jesus was a surprise starter and scored a brilliant goal but could’ve had two more (or two pull back assists). Salah went invisible for too long but he’s phenomenal and the reason the game went to 2-2 (Sadio Mane, too). And Alisson did not some amazing things between the sticks but can you really be MOTM when you allow two goals in a must-win title match?
De Bruyne, deflection, dream start
TAA sure can go forward…
…but TAA forgot his defensive awareness rating at home
Liverpool uses halftime reprieve appropriately
Look, maybe Jurgen Klopp’s going to get credit for a halftime adjustment when it was really just a great pass from one of the best attackers in the world to another… but we’ll allow it.Follow @NicholasMendola