By Matt Ramirez – @Matt_J_Ramirez
Jürgen Klopp’s Premier League challengers had Riyad Mahrez to thank for keeping their unbeaten start to the season intact. The Algerian winger missed a penalty in the 85th minute, leaving the top of the table clash to end 0-0 at Anfield. The result sees Liverpool stretch their unbeaten league start to eight, but also leaves the Merseyside club in third place behind both Chelsea and City.
Dejan Lovren picked up his first Premier League start of the season, pairing Virgil van Dijk at the centre of defence, with Joe Gomez replacing Trent Alexander-Arnold out on the flank.
Liverpool started the match in typical Klopp fashion, pressing hard with an intensity that has been lacking so far this season, and suffocating Manchester City in their own half of the field, not allowing Pep Guardiola’s ball playing side any time or respite.
The defending champions coped well with the early Liverpool pressure, defending as a unit and finding a foothold into the game. By the 20thminute the visitors were very much in control, silencing Anfield by dictating the tempo and seeming like the only side capable of scoring for the remainder of the half.
Liverpool started the second half much like they did the first, pressing well and looking dangerous in possession. The home side came out reinvigorate after a drab first half performance, with Skipper Jordan Henderson personifying the tempo Klopp would have asked for, running the midfield by breaking up play and starting attacks.
Unlike in the first half Liverpool were able to keep pressure on Guardiola’s defensive line. Although never really testing Ederson, Klopp’s men looked more assured in possession and more dangerous in attack. With this being said, the visitors weren’t holding back either, testing Alisson as well as his defence on multiple occasions.
Talismanic defender van Dijk almost cost the Reds a point, bringing down Leroy Sané for a penalty in the closing ten minutes of the game. After deliberation with his team-mates, Mahrez stepped up and could only find row Z, blasting the ball over Alisson’s crossbar, and denying Guardiola his first ever win at Anfield.
Liverpool will hope to return to winning ways in two week’s time when they travel to Huddersfield after the international break.