• Benjamin Wolfe

Honours even at Anfield in Premier League classic – Liverpool 2-2 Manchester City Review

City rescue point from 12-man Liverpool. Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden with the goals for City. Mo Salah and Sadio Mane for Liverpool.

Pep Guardiola dug deep into his pile of midfielders for this one. Starting from the back though we had Ederson in goal, with Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte and Joao Cancelo making up his defence. Rodri anchored a midfield of himself, Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva. The £100m winger Jack Grealish played through the middle obviously and was supported in the wide positions by Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus.

One day, sometime far in the future, we will actually get a fair game at Anfield. Not a game where a player can commit a blatant second yellow card offence but not receive it because the fans might boo the referee.


That aside though, City dominated large parts of this game, especially in the first half. As in the game in Paris in midweek, however, just could not put the ball in the back of the Liverpool net.


In the 21st minute, the fabulous Bernardo Silva began a mesmerising run through five or six Liverpool players, jinking left and right, and leaving Virgil Van Dijk on his knees. His ball through to Phil Foden was inch-perfect but a touch allowed Alisson to rush out and block the effort. What an assist that could have been.


Phil Foden was a constant nuisance throughout the game and after spinning James Milner here or hurdling Jordan Henderson there, just found nobody in the right areas to connect with. A lack of a striker is really hurting City at times.


In the 31st minute, the very same Phil Foden was taken out from behind by the lumbering old man that is James Milner right on the edge of the box. The referee obviously did nothing, and neither did VAR. It was definitely a foul so even if it wasn’t in the box, it could still have been a red card but again, this is Anfield.


Kevin De Bruyne possibly should have opened the scoring in the 34th minute after more great work from Bernardo Silva. The ball into the box from Phil Foden was met with a diving header from the Belgian but it sailed well over.


In the 42nd minute James Milner is finally booked for yet another foul on Phil Foden.

Photo courtesy of Michael Regan/Getty Images

Liverpool had a stronger second half than first and came right into the game, forcing a save from Ederson in the 50th minute. Diogo Jota denied after a lovely turn to work space from Ruben Dias.


Shortly after Liverpool had their lead through Sadio Mane. A half-hearted challenge from Joao Cancelo did little to deter Mo Salah and he fired a ball through to Sadio Mane who put the chance away. As is too often the case, the team on top that doesn’t score rues their missed chances.


Pep Guardiola replaced Jack Grealish for Raheem Sterling on the hour and City searched for the equaliser. On the 69th minute, it arrived through the impressive Phil Foden. A beautiful run from Gabriel Jesus opened up the Liverpool defence and his pass found Phil Foden on the left inside the box. He smashed his effort into the side netting inside the goal leaving Alisson with no chance. City were level.

Photo courtesy of Michael Regan/Getty Images

Then the special treatment from Paul Tierney kicked in. James Milner decided to volley Bernardo Silva into the air after being spun like a Beyblade one too many times. It’s a yellow card ten times out of ten and James Milner should have walked, but obviously not here. Not where the fans can boo the referee, so nothing happened.


Except it did though. James Milner took a throw-in in the 76th minute that led to Mo Salah scoring an absolutely sensational goal. He ran through the entire City defence leaving bodies in his wake before firing into the net. You have to applaud such goals. But James Milner should never have been there.


Thankfully in the 81st minute, Kevin De Bruyne smashed home the equaliser to rescue City a point. Phil Foden yet again driving in from the left. His ball was left by Walker and De Bruyne’s left foot did the rest. Nothing short of what City deserved.

Photo courtesy of Michael Regan/Getty Images

We went to Stamford Bridge and Anfield in a week and took four points. I’m happy with that, especially factoring in a trip to Paris between them.

Photo courtesy of Michael Regan/Getty Images)

SPITTING COMPLAINT


Manchester City's backroom staff have made an official complaint after they were allegedly spat by a Liverpool fan. They believe it will have been caught on camera. We hope, if true, that this person is identified and banned from football stadiums for life. This is unacceptable at any time but especially during a pandemic.

NO STRIKER


This team is crying out for a goalscorer. The fact that Pep started his new £100m winger up top is painful. This side is in its prime, we dominate teams at the top of European football, as we have proven this week. However, we miss too many chances, and this is exacerbated by the fact that we create so many! That final piece of the puzzle will complete this picture, and nothing could stop us.

Photo courtesy of Michael Regan/Getty Images

ANFIELD AND REFEREES


Why do so many officials bottle it when a crowd gets a bit loud? Seriously? James Milner should have seen two yellows and could easily have been sent off for taking out Foden when he was one on one with Alisson. It just smacks of cheating, if not cowardice. I’m tired of it, and VAR is less than useless in these situations. We have the best league in the world, with the worst officials.

THE BEST FIXTURE IN THE WORLD


Forget the El Classico. For a while now this has been the best fixture in world football. Especially for the neutrals out there, I would imagine. No defensive nonsense, just two teams out to go toe to toe and prove on the day who the king is. I wish more games between City and big teams were like this.

Photo courtesy of Michael Regan/Getty Images

MAN OF THE MATCH


Phil Foden was outstanding as usual, but Bernardo Silva takes this today. It was like watching the Monaco version of him in a City shirt. He ran rings around this Liverpool side and created some brilliant chances. If Foden put that first chance away the assist from Silva goes into a hall of fame compilation, it was that good. Very few players drop Van Dijk with their dribbling. Well done Bernardo.

Photo courtesy of Michael Regan/Getty Images

PLAYER RATINGS


EDERSON – 6

WALKER – 6

DIAS – 6

LAPORTE – 6

CANCELO – 6

RODRI – 6

DE BRUYNE – 7

BERNARDO – 10

GREALISH – 5

JESUS – 7

FODEN – 8


Subs: Sterling - 6

Photo courtesy of Michael Regan/Getty Images

Written by: @CityReportBen


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