WATCH: Man City’s John Stones saves John Stones from conceding own goal

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You know the old cliche of a team having it “all to do” when it’s down a couple of goals or more at halftime?

We’ve got a new turn of the phrase, because John Stones had it all to do in the 18th minute at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday.

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A beautiful bit of team play from Liverpool saw denied a goal by the thinnest of margins and the Goal Decision System.

Mohamed Salah played Sadio Mane on goal, and Stones was second-best and had to watch the Senegalese striker beat Ederson but not the goal post.

Stones then found the bounding ball but lashed his clearance off the hands of a sliding Ederson.

He’d have more work to do, racing back to the goal line and clearing the ball just off the line in a move which would’ve caused palpitations in the steadiest of tickers.

The small margin could’ve seen City down 1-0, but instead half time saw the opposite score line.

Bernardo Silva played Aguero’s near post run perfectly, and the Argentine had a yard from Lovren to blast past a slow-to-react-at-close-range Alisson Becker. 1-0, City.

Liverpool duo, Aubameyang are CAF Player of the Year finalists

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Mohamed Salah‘s bid to become the third player to win consecutive African Player of the Year awards faces some stiff competition.

[ MORE: Top PL storylines, Wk 21 ]

Salah (Egypt) is joined by Liverpool teammate Sadio Mane (Senegal) and Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon) as finalists for the confederation’s award, set to be handed out Jan. 8 in Senegal.

The Egyptian won in 2018 — his first year as a finalist — edging second place Mane and third place Aubameyang last year. Aubameyang won the award in 2015, and Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez claimed the honors in 2016.

Salah will be the heavy favorite despite Aubameyang’s outstanding year, if only because he was the lone member of the three to appear in the 2018 World Cup.

Still injured from a Sergio Ramos challenge in the UEFA Champions League Final, Salah scored both of the Pharoahs goals as Egypt failed to claim a point in a group with Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Uruguay.

Salah already won the BBC’s award. Surprisingly, Aubameyang was left off the BBC’s five-man shortlist, which instead chose Kalidou Koulibaly, Mehdi Benatia, and Thomas Partey. That’s trying a bit too hard, in this man’s view. Alex Iwobi and Wilfred Ndidi were also denied by the CAF.

El Hadji Diouf, Samuel Eto'o, and Yaya Toure were the others to win back-to-back African POTY honors.

Firmino, Liverpool torpedo Arsenal

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  • Arsenal takes early lead
  • Firmino scores two, the second a wonderful solo goal (video)
  • Salah with goal, assist

Liverpool ran roughshod over Arsenal, continuing to buttress its championship credentials behind a Roberto Firmino hat trick and a 5-1 win over the Gunners at Anfield on Saturday.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles put the Gunners ahead after 11 minutes, but the Reds answered four times by half. Firmino scored twice, with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane also netting before the break.

The win gives Liverpool a nine-point lead on second-place Spurs, while Arsenal is two points back of fourth-place Chelsea.

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It was a thrilling first 20 minutes at Anfield, with Arsenal taking a surprise lead off a Virgil Van Dijk giveaway. Maitland-Niles lost his mark and poked a seeing-eye cross from Alex Iwobi past Alisson.

But the Gunners were down one within minutes, both times due to Firmino.

The goals were not equal. His first came when a Mohamed Salah pass made several turns before the hustling Firmino was alone with the loose ball inside the six.

The second came moments later, as the Brazilian made his way through the entire Arsenal defense to beat Leno.

Mane made it 3-1 in the 32nd, blasting a sublime first touch pass from Salah beyond Leno off a long distance pass from Andrew Robertson.

The fourth goal came from Salah, who went down rather easily after slowing his run behind Sokratis. No matter, he capped the Reds’ outstanding half in style from the spot. 4-1. Goodnight, Unai.

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Fabinho was denied a bid to make it 5-1 in the 63rd minute when Leno dropped low to make an arm save.

Sokratis then conceded a penalty when Dejan Lovren hit the deck, and Firmino used the penalty spot to complete his hat trick.

WATCH: Firmino’s magnificent solo goal cooks Arsenal

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It was a thrilling first 16 minutes at Anfield was capped by Roberto Firmino‘s outstanding solo goal, completing his brace and leading Liverpool back from an early 1-0 deficit to Arsenal.

Arsenal took a surprise lead off a Virgil Van Dijk giveaway. Ainsley Maitland-Niles lost his mark and poked a seeing-eye cross from Alex Iwobi past Alisson.

[ MORE: Spurs 1-3 Wolves ]

But the Gunners were down one within minutes, both times due to Firmino.

The goals were not equal. His first came when a Mohamed Salah pass made several turns before the hustling Firmino was alone with the loose ball inside the six.

The second came moments later, as the Brazilian made his way through the entire Arsenal defense to beat Leno.

Sadio Mane would add a third Liverpool goal off a tremendous first touch pass from Salah, who would later win and convert a penalty.

Shaqiri, Liverpool overrun Manchester United

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  • Fabinho, Mane team up for terrific opener
  • Alisson gaffe cues up Lingard equalizer
  • Super sub Shaqiri scores two off the bench

Xherdan Shaqiri scored a pair of deflected second-half goals as Liverpool went back into first place with a 3-1 defeat of Manchester United at Anfield on Sunday.

Sadio Mane scored the Reds’ other goal, as the leaders moved to 45 points. Jesse Lingard scored for Manchester United, now 11 points adrift of the Top Four.

Jose Mourinho kept Paul Pogba on the bench for the entire 90 minutes.

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Mohamed Salah dribbled Ashley Young into the grass with a cutback before earning a corner for Liverpool in the second minute.

Romelu Lukaku was pushed offside by Sadio Mane, making a free kick goal offside because the Belgian’s air kick rightly put off Liverpool keeper Alisson Becker.

The first half-dozen minutes were chaotic, with Liverpool claiming for a penalty at one end when Salah hit the deck and Alisson collected a long distance effort from United at the other.

Fabinho rocketed a shot wide with a partial deflection. Young then made a goal line clearance on the ensuing corner as Liverpool ravaged the Manchester United box.

Mane got Liverpool’s much deserved breakthrough when Fabinho sent a sensational ball over the top to meet the Senegalese striker, whose technical work in turning it past De Gea was top notch. It was Liverpool’s 11th shot attempt of the first 25 minutes.

There was such little danger from United, which makes the equalizer all the more stunning in our story. Lingard started a move to Lukaku, and Alisson couldn’t corral an easy ball. Lingard followed it up for 1-1.

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[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

David De Gea made a fine low save and Young blocked Mane’s big at a rebound in the 53rd minute, as Liverpool took advantage of a waylaid Eric Bailly.

Liverpool had a pair of corner kicks around the 62nd minute, including a near miss by Dejan Lovren.

Fabinho stung a 30-yard shot at De Gea in the 71st minute, but the United keeper stayed with the swerve for a difficult catch made to look easy.

Mane then set-up the winner by cooking Ander Herrera on the left flank, cutting his effort toward goal. De Gea kicked it back atop the box, where Shaqiri zipped it off Young, then the cross bar, and finally into the goal.

Shaqiri then put it to bed with a second deflected goal, ripping this 81st minute effort off Bailly’s ankle and past a flying De Gea.