Manchester City 2-2 Liverpool: Player ratings as titanic Premier League battle ends in draw

Don Kopleone rates the Reds after the Premier League’s two best teams traded blows but could not be split, setting up a tense finish to the title race.

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I saw it mentioned that today’s game presented the closest thing to a Premier League final that the world has ever seen.

Well, with that ‘final’ now in the books, it’s still unclear who will be collecting the winners’ medals.

From the word ‘go’ it felt like both teams were scared to lose this game. But rather than this making the contest a cagey one, things quickly became very end-to-end.

Virgil van Dijk and Fabinho looked as nervous as they have ever been in Liverpool red, and failed to clear after Alisson denied Raheem Sterling just five minutes in. Eventually, Kevin de Bruyne’s shot deflected off Joël Matip and bounced in off the far post.

Jürgen Klopp’s side responded well and woke up from their slumber. Diogo Jota equalised after a superb team move.

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But with scores level again, Liverpool went back into their shell. Gabriel Jesus stole in at the back-post to restore the hosts’ lead.

Thankfully, the visitors flew out of the traps after half-time. Mo Salah found Sadio Mané expertly, and the Senegalese’s first-time finish was impeccable.

Neither team could find a winner, although Riyad Mahrez struck the post with a free-kick before lobbing over on the counter-attack in the fourth minute of injury-time.

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A great game for the neutral. The title race was never going to be fully done and dusted after today, but it remains as alive as ever.

Your ratings, as the top two went toe-to-toe:

Starting XI

Ali 7.5 – Rescued Liverpool within the first five minutes. Could do nothing for either City goal.

Trent 7 – Produced a sensational pullback for the Jota goal. Run ragged by the Cancelo runs in behind his back, and a little lackadaisical when Jesus waltzed in. Much better defensively second half, though.

Joel 8 – One of the few in red who didn’t seem to struggle in the first-half. Oozed class.

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Big Virg 6.5 – As nervous as he’ll ever look in the opening exchanges. Far better after the interval, closed angles well when Sterling and then Jesus broke through.

Robbo 6.5 – Involved in the first goal, earned the clearest booking you’ll ever see when bringing down de Bruyne early on.

Hendo 5.5 – Lacked anticipation and was often caught a step behind the play, far fewer touches than you’d expect as a result.

Fabs 4.5 – The Brazilian’s worst performance in a Liverpool shirt. I’m not convinced he was fit, to be quite honest, although there were no rumours of a knock.

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ThiaGOAT 7.5 – The visitors’ only other standout in a first-half where few showed quality. Insane pass to start the move that led to Jota’s goal. Tired a little as the game ticked away, picking up a yellow card after two late slide challenges.

Mo 7 – Fairly anonymous first-half, sparked into life after the interval. Great pass to release Mané.

DioGOAL 7 – Some messy touches, but movement was extremely intelligent, and he slotted in the first equaliser.

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Sadio 8 – An almost perfect second-half. Netted the final goal of the game and his hold-up play and decision making looked at their very best.

Subs

Luis Suárez Díaz 6.5 – Kyle Walker may be the only defender in the league that the Colombian isn’t quicker than.

Nabs 6.5 – Might have wanted a few more minutes to get into the game.

Bobby 6.5 – Ditto.


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Don Kopleone

Scouse, not Sicilian.

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