Manchester City, Liverpool show why they are on top
Manchester City remained one point clear of Liverpool at the top of the Premier League standings after the highly-anticipated clash of the giants ended in a pulsating 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
The match lived up to its billing right from the off as City flew out of the traps, racing into a fifth-minute lead after Kevin De Bruyne’s strike was deflected past Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson.
City, playing with the high pressing intensity which their opponents are famed for, could have taken the lead moments earlier but Raheem Sterling shot softly at Alisson from a glorious position.
With the raucous home crowd sensing Juergen Klopp’s side were wobbling, however, Liverpool showed their mettle as they regrouped and levelled eight minutes later through Diogo Jota, assisted by a perfectly-cushioned Trent Alexander-Arnold pass.
The tempo was relentless, the action gripping and the momentum shifted again when Gabriel Jesus restored City’s lead in the 36th minute.
Liverpool cleared a corner only as far as Joao Cancelo and the Portuguese full back floated the ball back deep into the box where Jesus had stayed onside, nipping past Alexander-Arnold and steering the ball past Alisson.
Liverpool did not need long to restore parity, scoring 46 seconds after the restart. Mohamed Salah picked the ball up on the right flank and split the City defence with a superb pass to Sadio Mane who burst goalwards before converting with his customary precision.
City were stunned but Pep Guardiola’s side recovered to regain control of the midfield for much of the second half and they came closest to winning the game.
Raheem Sterling thought he had again given the hosts the advantage in the 63rd minute, racing on to a brilliant De Bruyne through ball, only for the former Liverpool forward to be ruled offside following a VAR review.
In the 90th minute, City substitute Riyad Mahrez shaved the outside of the post with a free kick and in stoppage time the Algerian had a great chance to win the game but his attempted chip was off target.
The result was a repeat of October’s scoreline at Anfield. A fourth Premier League crown in five seasons is in City’s hands, though, as they moved on to 74 points, one ahead of their title rivals.
On the ascent
Brentford continued their resurgent form by beating West Ham United 2-0 at home to rack up a fourth win in five matches and take another step towards guaranteeing their survival.
Fresh from their shock 4-1 win at Chelsea last week, Thomas Frank’s side overwhelmed another side with European ambitions, Bryan Mbeumo opening the scoring in the second half before top scorer Ivan Toney doubled the lead.
Brentford struck first after quick-thinking following a throw-in as Toney slipped the ball into the path of French forward Mbeumo, who slotted into the net with a first time finish in the 48th minute.
Norwich City midfielder Pierre Lees-Melou scored his first goal for the club and Teemu Pukki’s late strike secured a 2-0 win over Burnley in a relegation battle at Carrow Road.
Midfielder Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall set up Leicester City’s first goal and scored a sublime second as they leapfrogged opponents Crystal Palace to go ninth in the standings after a tense 2-1 win at the King Power Stadium.