Liverpool 0-0 Manchester City
It was a tight game between the Premier League’s best two sides and it always looked likely to be decided by a single goal, but the goal never came.
On 85 minutes Riyad Mahrez had the game in his hands when he prepared to take a penalty. But he skied it and blew City’s chance to go clear at the top.
Billed as the Premier League showdown this game promised to give goals, but Liverpool looked tired and City just couldn’t turn their superiority into a win.
The earlier Premier league 2018 results from this weekend saw the other ‘big six’ teams all winning, Spurs and Manchester United narrowly, Chelsea at a stroll and Arsenal with a swagger. And now only two points separate the top five.
Highlights of the game
In a hectic start Riyad Mahrez tried to get in behind the Liverpool defence but was flagged narrowly offside, then the first chance of the game came to Mo Salah, but the Egyptian screwed his shot wide.
Jurgen Klopp made two changes to his defence, introducing Joe Gomez at right back and giving Dejan Lovren his first start of the season. But Raheem Sterling gave Gomez a torrid time from the off, and the two defenders got away with a real scare on 20 minutes. Gomez messed up a clearance which fell to Sergio Aguero and Lovren appeared to kick the Argentine as he set himself to shoot, but referee Martin Atkinson controversially gave a corner.
The Reds were forced into an early substitution when the injured James Milner was replaced by Naby Keita, but Liverpool struggled to get into the game. While there were few attempts on goal, Manchester City stroked the ball around in comfort while Liverpool chased the shadows. But despite City’s fluent approach play, we reached half time without a single shot on target.
It was a brilliant goal from Daniel Sturridge that earned the Reds a vital point away to Chelsea last week; but Klopp started with his big three up front, Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane but only Salah had had the merest sniff of a goal.
Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah gestures after missing a good chance to score against Manchester City
Manchester City continued to control the play in the second half and Riyad Mahrez came close, turning Andy Robertson inside out before shooting narrowly wide. The game began to come alive as Mahrez had another chance but this time Alisson collected his low shot.
Pep Guardiola played his first big card, bringing off Sergio Aguero to give Gabriel Jesus his chance. But as Liverpool made their first really fast break Salah beat the offside trap only to blast his shot way over. Then Klopp gave Sturridge his chance, hooking Firmino with 20 minutes to go.
Bernardo Silva drove City forward with a powerful run and when the ball fell to Mahrez, Alisson saved well, low at his near post. The Lovren looked in trouble again when he stuck a hand in Jesus’ face but again, the referee was unmoved.
As the game became more stretched Gomez crossed for Sturridge, but the sub couldn’t get enough pace on his header to trouble Ederson.
And then came the big moment. Leroy Sane outpaced Virgil van Dijk and the big Dutchman tripped the winger. With Sergio Aguero already subbed, up stepped Riyad Mahrez and he nearly hoofed his spot kick into the second tier of the stand!
Gabriel Jesus wanted to take the penalty but Mahrez had pushed him away.
After a tight first half, things opened up a little in the second and we could, and should have seen some goals.
But Aguero’s substitution had two effects. Firstly he has failed to score at Anfield in ten appearances. And secondly Riyad Mahrez has now missed four of his last six penalties.
Add to that Liverpool are now unbeaten in 18 home matches against Manchester City and those facts becomes all the more shocking for City fans. Meanwhile, the Reds have kept a clean sheet in each of their last nine Premier League games at Anfield.
According to Premier league 2018 odds the title is likely to be decided between Liverpool and Manchester City and this result doesn’t change anything.
Liverpool lacked their customary dynamism in the Champions League defeat to Napoli and appeared to be well off the pace again here. Chelsea then Napoli and Manchester City is one heck of a week. There are no easy games in the Premier League, but a trip to Huddersfield is as near as it gets. The Terriers are yet to win a game this season.
The Sky Blues host Burnley after the break. Sean Dyche’s team has looked weary itself after its early season Europa League exploits, but has picked up seven points from the last three games, and is one of a few teams to take a point off the Champions last term.
A word of advice us fans… don’t bet on a repeat of that!
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