Liverpool 1-1 Manchester City (Mar 10, 2024) Game Analysis

Alexis Mac Allister fired home a second-half penalty as Liverpool salvaged a point against Manchester City in a 1-1 Premier League blockbuster at Anfield on Sunday that left Arsenal top of the table.

Liverpool are second but level on 64 points alongside Arsenal, with 10 games remaining of a thrilling three-way title race. Holders City, who are unbeaten in 21 games across all competitions, are third on 63. Arsenal climbed top with their 2-1 win against Brentford on Saturday.

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“Sensational,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said after the game. “The second half was the best we ever played against Manchester City, definitely. Exceptional football game. Wow.

“We proved today the first time 100% we are exactly where we should be. We will fight for it and see what we can get.”

City looked poised to hand manager Pep Guardiola his second victory in nine trips to the cauldron of Anfield when John Stones lost his marker to tap in Kevin De Bruyne‘s corner from close range in the 23rd minute. Stones leapt onto the barrier in front of the visitors’ fans and shook both fists in celebration.

Yet the cheers were deafening when Mac Allister slotted home from the penalty spot past Éderson in the 50th minute after the goalkeeper sent Darwin Núñez flying through the air with a rash challenge in the box.

Ederson received treatment after the tackle and was replaced by Stefan Ortega a couple of minutes later.

“We started really well but they are an incredible team,” Guardiola said. “We had our moments, they had theirs. We take that point. Both sides we are incredible competitors. I would prefer a win but they prove for many years the quality they have.”

Liverpool screamed for a penalty deep in stoppage time after Jérémy Doku‘s reckless tackle on Mac Allister in the box, with television replays showing Doku’s boot hitting the Argentina international in the chest.

“It was 100% penalty,” Klopp said. “They will find an explanation. It was 100% foul in all areas of the pitch and probably a yellow card.

“All the people with iPads around me were ‘Wow, clear’.”

The officials disagreed and the VAR did not send the referee to have a second look after checking the decision.

“We had very good chances, unfortunately we couldn’t get the winner but overall bittersweet,” Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk — who frustrated Erling Haaland — told Sky Sports. “Based on the second half you feel we should have won it, but they hit the post as well. It was so close.

“Manchester City have been very successful with the titles they have won and every game we have played against each other has been very intense,” he added. “To come away with a point is not a bad situation and we have to focus on what’s next. We just have to enjoy the ride.”

Buoyed by the goal, and the return of their talisman Mohamed Salah from injury as a 61st-minute substitute, Liverpool kept pressing.

Luis Díaz had a couple of terrific chances within the same minute, launching the ball wide of the goal in a one-on-one with Ortega, and he was then stopped by Kyle Walker when he seemingly had the goal at his mercy.

Doku then hit the post against the run of play in a frantic final few minutes.

“We created quite a lot of chances early on in the game and probably could have taken them and been two or three up but that is football,” City defender Stones said of the draw.

The match was likely the last Premier League meeting for Guardiola and Liverpool manager Klopp, who plans to leave the club at the season’s end. The pair shared a long embrace after the full-time whistle.

“We wouldn’t need a hug to show that [respect],” Guardiola said. “He defends his club, I defend mine. Our history speaks for itself. We still have 10 games to go, many things can happen.”

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