Final Score 1-1
Manchester City and Liverpool played out a tired draw at a rain-soaked Etihad stadium in a game which saw an eventful first half followed by a drab second.
Liverpool started the stronger and took the lead through a Mohamed Salah penalty before City grew into the game and Gabriel Jesus equalised with a sharp turn and finish. Kevin De Bruyne then failed to hit the target with a penalty of his own after Trent Alexander-Arnold had been penalised via VAR for handball. While City controlled the second half there were few clear-cut chances as the game fizzled out in the wet conditions.
MANCHESTER CITY RATINGS
Ederson – 5
An uneven game from the City keeper as he had no chance with Salah’s penalty and otherwise kept Liverpool out. However, sloppiness on two occasions could have been punished by Diogo Jota. Allowed an Alexander-Arnold shot through him in the first half and only just recovered before Jota could tap it in on the goal-line. Moments after he got down well to push a low Andrew Robertson cross away from danger, he parried weakly straight to Jota and was lucky not to be punished.
Kyle Walker – 5
Perhaps harsh to be labelled “an idiot” by Roy Keane on Sky Sports but it was a poor game for the right back. Conceded the early penalty when he let Sadio Mane cut inside him far too easily and was rash with the attempted recovery. Looked panicked by the Liverpool man for a period after. Got forward as usual and was generally energetic but clumsy. This was illustrated by him accidentally knocking the ball past the on-rushing Ederson just before the hour, which could have resulted in an own-goal on another day. Was deservedly booked in injury time for a reckless swipe at Georginio Wijnaldum after giving away possession.
Ruben Dias – 6
Struggled with the more dynamic Liverpool attackers, especially Mane. Appeared to be overly worried about players being able to turn and run at him, so gave away too many unnecessary free-kicks around the half-way line. Let Mane get past him too easily on a first-half counterattack, but when his strategy worked late in the second period he won possession and poked a good ball through to Raheem Sterling to launch an attack.
Aymeric Laporte – 6
Went largely unnoticed for most of the game until he was booked late on for a foul on Salah as Liverpool looked to get forward quickly. Understanding between him and Dias perhaps still needs to develop.
João Cancelo – 7
Willing to get forward early on without being especially threatening, but became increasingly relevant in attack for City as the game went on. One lovely floated ball into the box found Jesus and should have ended in a goal. Not called upon to work especially hard defensively as only half of Liverpool’s four-man attack really performed.
Kevin De Bruyne – 8
As he grew into the first half it looked like he was starting to take control of the game until his surprising missed penalty. Got an assist for City’s goal and put in a number of inviting balls from the right channel. Robbed Wijnaldum and found Sterling inside the first half-hour for a chance that should have resulted in something, and put in the cross that hit Alexander-Arnold’s hand to win the penalty. Had one dipping shot just over in a quieter second half but still probably City’s best player.Embed from Getty Images
Rodri – 7
Unsettled by Liverpool’s fast start and was caught in possession centrally, leading to a dangerous-looking counterattack with a quarter of the match gone. Thereafter grew in confidence as his side did, looking far more composed, and moved the ball around well in the middle with De Bruyne.
Ilkay Gundogan – 5
As so often in big games, Pep Guardiola looked to sure up his midfield with the inclusion of Gundogan but the German did not justify his place. Largely redundant in the first half where he had little effect on stifling Liverpool’s attacks or playing a part in City possession. Got on the ball more after half time but his passing was below standard and his control was also sloppy.
Ferran Torres – 4
The young Spanish winger has performed pretty well in the absence of a central striker for City recently. However, today he contributed nothing as an anonymous first half was followed by a similar start to the second before he was replaced by Bernardo Silva on the hour.
Gabriel Jesus – 7
Guardiola will be relieved to have one of his central strikers available again as Jesus picked up where he left off in midweek with another goal. Had already laid on a great chance inside the six-yard box in the opening minutes which none of his teammates had anticipated, before an excellent turn and quick finish drew City level. Really should have added a second when he was found completely alone in the Liverpool area by Cancelo but headed off target. Good forward play mid-way through the second half saw him evade four challenges to set up De Bruyne for a shot in a good display for the Brazilian.Embed from Getty Images
Raheem Sterling – 6
One driving run early on was unlucky not to result in a free-kick on the edge of the box as he appeared to be fouled by Jota. Wasted a chance to shoot when found by a good first-half ball from De Bruyne. Followed through on Joel Matip and was booked in the second period but was still pressing well into the final quarter of the game. Played much wider after half time and his influence waned as a result in a frustrating afternoon.
Bernardo Silva (on for Torres ’60) – 6
Took time to get involved in the game and was somewhat wasted playing extremely wide on the right-wing, but at least was an upgrade on Torres.
Alisson Becker– 7
Not tested a great deal, and there was little he could do about Jesus’ low finish, but otherwise did well. Closed down a Sterling chance that looked dangerous and was sharp getting down to claim a cross in first-half injury time. Generally looked composed and was still concentrating enough in the 92nd minute to be in position for a headed clearance well outside his box. Looks to be comfortably ahead of his opposite number currently.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 5
A fairly miserable afternoon saw the full-back break down with what appeared to be a calf injury and go off just after the hour mark. Perhaps a result of a congested fixture schedule, he was not up to his usual high standards either. Not tight enough to Jesus and too slow to react when the Brazilian equalised. Aside from a shot that should not have got through Ederson and a free-kick curled over at the end of the first half, he did not make much of a mark in attack either.
Joel Matip – 7
Good defensive work in the first half, especially against Sterling and Jesus, saw him break up a number of City moves, and a crucial sliding interception prevented a one-on-one with Alisson. Was booked in the first minute after half time for fouling De Bruyne, but otherwise looked strong and composed on his return from injury whilst doing his best Virgil Van Dijk impression.
Joe Gomez – 6
Aside from one attempt at an offside trap that, except for Matip’s interception, nearly let City in, Gomez was largely comfortable at the back in his 100th league game. Was penalised for a handball when he blocked De Bruyne’s cross to concede the penalty, but not through any particular fault on his part.Embed from Getty Images
Andrew Robertson – 6
As with most of his team, the Scotland captain looked dynamic early on but faded as the game developed. Characteristically energetic in getting forward and supporting attacks in the first half, but was increasingly pushed back later on and was unable to exert influence.
Jordan Henderson – 6
Menacing in the opening stages as Liverpool caught City by surprise with a turbo-charged start. Snapped into challenges on De Bruyne and Rodri as soon as they received possession and was tidy on the ball. Gradually disappeared from the game as City smothered the midfield.
Georginio Wijnaldum – 6
Similar story to that of his captain, the Dutchman was dynamic and sharp early on and drove forward on the counter often. Was caught on the ball by De Bruyne which led to a Sterling chance and was drawn wide to allow space for the Belgian to assist the equaliser. As Gary Neville pointed out on the Sky Sports commentary, he appeared unused to operating in a central pair rather than the usual three. Faded later on.
Diogo Jota – 5
The former Wolves man’s excellent recent form came to a sudden halt today as, in stark contrast to his Champions League hat-trick against Atalanta, he was wasteful when presented with the best chances Liverpool had. Was not sharp enough to take advantage of two handling errors from Ederson and wasted a threatening counter-attack at the end of the first half with a poor ball to Salah. Barely involved in the closing stages.
Roberto Firmino – 5
The Brazilian’s place in the Liverpool front three has recently been called into question thanks to the excellent form of Jota. Despite the Portuguese struggling today, Firmino still did his case no favours as he was peripheral at best. Possibly too aware of the scrutiny of his position as he looked well short of his usual confidence, being replaced inside an hour. Jurgen Klopp put aside questions about which one of Jota and Firmino he should select by including both of them, yet neither justified their place.
Sadio Mane – 8 – Man of the Match
Excellent early on, the Senegalese forward was the main thrust of Liverpool’s attacking opening. Got his return for a great start when he smartly turned Walker and drew the foul for Salah’s opener. Had Walker in a panic for most of the first half, and also got the better of Dias, although should have done more with one particularly menacing-looking counter. Also faded after half time as Liverpool were forced to keep their defensive shape, although one wonderful back-heeled through-ball almost set Salah away. Just edged out De Bruyne as man-of-the-match in a game without many stand-out performances.
Mohamed Salah – 7
Not a vintage Salah showing but he converted the penalty with ease to put Liverpool ahead. Was effective in dropping between the lines to receive the ball and carry forward on a number of quick counters to share the considerable early attacking threat with Mane. Quiet second half.Embed from Getty Images
Xherdan Shaqiri (on for Firmino ’58) – 5
Did very little as he came on during a sustained period of City control. Was reduced to keeping the Liverpool defensive shape. Wasted a free-kick at the end.
James Milner (on for Alexander-Arnold ’63) – 6
Dependable as one would expect. Did not look especially like being beaten defensively but without providing the attacking threat that an on-form Alexander-Arnold would.
To read the match report of the game click here.