Five things we learned from entertaining the Anfield draw
Liverpool and Manchester City had a fun, two-way home and away meeting on Sunday, ultimately sharing the points in a 2-2 draw.
A brilliant start saw the Reds threatening a couple of times early on with their high pressing and adventurous passes, but that quickly faded and City dominated the vast majority of the opening 45 minutes. Phil Foden was the bigger threat, twice turned down by Alisson, while Jack Grealish also pulled a wide effort and Kevin de Bruyne should have done better with a header.
After the break, an improved home team moved closer to Diogo Jota, before Mohamed Salah’s run and pass from the right freed Sadio Mane to beat Ederson on the hour mark – but the lovely low finish from Foden evened things 10 minutes later.
Salah then produced an incredible solo effort, beating four players and the keeper to put the home side back, only for Kevin de Bruyne to equalize once again with a deflected strike.
Here are five things we learned from the game at Anfield.
Grealish in the middle
Rather than being stationed to the left where he has been for most of the campaign so far, Grealish has been played in the middle as Man City’s most central striker – certainly not a striker, but nominally in the alignment graphics, at least.
Movement, good ball retention, and some dribbling were as expected – but not in a No.9 area of the pitch, which often meant he was doubling down in the channel and leaving some slack. space for Gabriel Jesus to try to attack.
While Grealish’s performance cannot be considered poor, it didn’t see him add much of an offensive dimension to his team’s play and he was entirely eclipsed by the man filling his role on the left, Foden.
Substituted with his team behind and they quickly equalized without him.
Two players at each end who made a big contribution were the goalkeepers: Alisson and Ederson, who will now fly to international service with Brazil.
The Reds No.1 made two big saves from Foden before the break and recovered several crosses in the middle of City’s onslaught, keeping his side in the game.
The man between City’s sticks had less to do in terms of handling work, but once again showed his passing prowess with split balls in defense of his own penalty area, including one that almost saw Foden running to score.
Both were beaten by efforts to which they ultimately could not do anything, but both played a big part in the respective hopes of their teams.
Good and bad in the midfield
Both teams had a surprising variation in the middle of the park in terms of performers: Rodri and Jordan Henderson were almost unbelievably poor on and off the ball, while Curtis Jones again stood up for the Reds and Bernardo Silva continued. its recent excellent form.
At the break, the Liverpool captain had lost precisely half of his passes – not ideal against the league champions, whose strength relies on holding the ball. Rodri, meanwhile, was guilty of losing challenges and also offering the ball – although he did a massive late block on Fabinho to redeem himself.
Silva’s solo run was a highlight of the first half that almost led to a goal for City, while Jones again proved his worth in the heart of the midfielder on a fourth straight start.
Salah serves a classic
Such performances only accelerate the need for the Reds to secure Mohamed Salah’s new contract.
The No.11 was impeccable on offense and worked hard defensively, with an assist and a truly world-class goal putting his team in front twice.
A smart dribble and a through ball set Mane in place, but it all revolved around the Egyptian striker as he showed strength, skill and balance to face four and beat Ederson to an absolute marvelous goal.
The Reds dare not let him go.
Fight at the top of the table
Liverpool entered the top of the weekend and needed the win to come back there, but couldn’t hold out against the defending champions.
They remain the only undefeated Premier League side, but home draws against the two title rivals – Chelsea being the other – could still prove to be a slight underperformance at the highest level.
It is actually the Stamford Bridge side that could be the most satisfied, with neither of those two having won and the Blues remaining in the lead – while City are third, ahead of their own neighbors Man United.
Liverpool are undefeated, City have conceded only three, but it is Chelsea who occupy the first place for the international break.