Premier League

Man City 2-2 Liverpool: Player ratings as title challengers share the spoils

Krishan Davis
Trent Alexander-Arnold challenges Phil Foden in the smoke of a flare
Trent Alexander-Arnold challenges Phil Foden in the smoke of a flare / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages
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Manchester City and Liverpool played out a thrilling 2-2 draw on Sunday afternoon in what had been billed as a potential title decider - a result that means Pep Guardiola's side maintain their one-point lead over their nearest rivals with just seven games remaining.

A breathless first half was punctuated by three goals, although City were the dominant force throughout.

39 seconds after Raheem Sterling had spurned a one-v-one situation five minutes in, Kevin De Bruyne let fly from range and saw his strike take a huge deflection off Joel Matip and flash beyond Alisson.

However, despite having very little of the ball in the opening exchanges, Liverpool hit back just eight minutes later when Andy Robertson's deep cross was knocked back across goal by Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Diogo Jota was on hand to sweep home via a touch from the goalkeeper.

That didn't change the pattern of the game, though, with City often exploiting the Reds' high line and getting in behind repeatedly. John Stones almost benefitted, but he could not stretch to reach Rodri's header across the penalty area.

De Bruyne dragged another effort narrowly wide after good work from Joao Cancelo on the half-hour mark, and the full-back pulled one the wrong side of the post himself five minutes later.

The hosts' dominance paid when Cancelo's wonderful deep cross found Gabriel Jesus' sneaking back-post run, with the Brazilian expertly half-volleying into the roof of the net via a kiss of the crossbar.

Liverpool were almost caught out again when Phil Foden ran in behind, but Andy Robertson was able to divert his low pass away from danger when Sterling was on hand to finish. Foden had the ball in the back of the net himself in first-half stoppage time, but the whistle had already been blown for a questionable foul on Sadio Mane in the build-up.

The second half was a far more evenly-matched affair as Liverpool finally got onto the front foot and took the game to their title rivals.

Jurgen Klopp must have delivered a hell of a team talk, because his side drew level again moments into the second half. Mohamed Salah's perfectly-weighted through ball was dispatched ruthlessly by Mane, who fired first time into the top corner.

It seemed Liverpool had finally found their mojo, with Salah involved again shortly afterwards when Jota's prod forced a save after his clever pass.

At the other end, Jesus was denied his brace having come inside from the touchline and beaten Alisson, finding Virgil van Dijk in the way of his low drive.

City thought they had indeed regained the advantage shortly after the hour mark when De Bruyne slipped Sterling through and he finished low beyond Alisson, but VAR ruled that he was offside.

Liverpool came within a whisker of going ahead for the first time with 20 minutes to go, but Salah's curling effort deflected just wide off Aymeric Laporte's hip.

Substitute Riyad Mahrez went closest to restoring the Citizens' lead, but his 30-yard free kick thumped off the outside of the post in the last minute of normal time. Then, in the final minute of stoppage time, the Algerian couldn't convert when played in by De Bruyne's sublime pass, lifting a poor chip over the bar.

It finished all even, as City maintained their lead at the top of the Premier League. Here's how the players rated...


MAN CITY PLAYER RATINGS

1. Goalkeeper & defenders

Joao Cancelo, Mohamed Salah
Joao Cancelo was outstanding / Michael Regan/GettyImages

Ederson (GK) - 4/10 - Could have done better with Jota's leveller. Very cool playing out from the back, dummying and hitting a pass from the goal-line.

Kyle Walker (RB) - 6/10 - His recovery pace is simply ridiculous, and inevitably posed a threat going forward. Lost Mane for his equaliser, though.

John Stones (CB) - 6/10 - Stepped into midfield like a natural. Couldn't stretch to meet Rodri's clever header across the six-yard box.

Aymeric Laporte (CB) - 7/10 - Made a stunning recovery tackle on Jota. Important block to deny Salah's goal-bound effort later on.

Joao Cancelo (LB) - 7/10 - So dangerous going forward. Went close himself before delivering a wonderful assist for Jesus.

2. Midfielders

Rodri (DM) - 5/10 - His passing wasn't at its best, although he won the majority of his tackles and duels.

Bernardo Silva (CM) - 7/10 - Booked for a very cynical trip. Excellent as an energetic, deep-lying playmaker and got the assist for De Bruyne.

Kevin De Bruyne (CM) - 8/10 - Made it six goals in six appearances with his early deflected effort. Attacking influence waned but he battled hard. Deserved an assist at the death.

3. Forwards

Gabriel Jesus
Gabriel Jesus finishes with aplomb / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

Gabriel Jesus (RW) - 7/10 - Wonderful finish off the cross bar to restore City's lead. Subbed.

Phil Foden (CF) - 7/10 - One wonderful piece of footwork to move clear of multiple Liverpool players in the first half. Influence waned but he was always so good on the ball.

Raheem Sterling (LW) - 5/10 - Really should have scored seconds before De Bruyne did so. Saw a goal ruled out for offside. Dangerous, but subbed.

4. Substitutes

Riyad Mahrez (RW) - 5/10 - Looked threatening off the bench. Hit the post from a free-kick a mile out.

Jack Grealish (LW) - N/A


LIVERPOOL PLAYER RATINGS

5. Goalkeeper & defenders

Raheem Sterling, Joel Matip
Joel Matip holds off Raheem Sterling / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

Alisson (GK) - 5/10 - Good save seconds before conceding. Maybe could have got a touch on Jesus' finish but it would have been tough.

Trent Alexander-Arnold (RB) - 6/10 - Yet another assist for the deepest of deep-lying playmakers, whose pull-back was perfect. However, struggled defensively against Cancelo and lost Jesus for his goal.

Joel Matip (CB) - 7/10 - De Bruyne's strike took an unfortunate deflection off him to beat Alisson. Struggled with City's pace at times. Some very important late interventions.

Virgil van Dijk (CB) - 6/10 - City managed to circumvent him for the most part, but made a big block from Jesus' effort when it mattered. Booked.

Andy Robertson (LB) - 5/10 - Looked somewhat unnerved by City's threat early on. Booked for clattering De Bruyne. Vital touch to deny Sterling.

6. Midfielders

Fabinho (DM) - 6/10 - Made a sluggish start, with De Bruyne drifting past him to score and him giving the ball away in dangerous areas. Improved but perhaps lucky not to see red for a high challenge.

Jordan Henderson (CM) - 5/10 - Somewhat overwhelmed by the pace and quality of City's midfield at times. Ran hard and worked hard. Subbed.

Thiago Alcantara (CM) - 6/10 - Wonderful pass in the build-up to Liverpool's first-half equaliser. Lucky not to be booked for a desperate lunge and then somehow didn't get sent off for chopping down De Bruyne while on a yellow.

7. Forwards

Diogo Jota
Jota netted the leveller / Michael Regan/GettyImages

Mohamed Salah (RW) - 7/10 - Quiet before producing a wonderful through-ball assist for Mane seconds into the second half. Grew in influence.

Diogo Jota (ST) - 7/10 - The fox in the box struck again with a cool finish to level. A little loose in possession otherwise and subbed with 20 to go.

Sadio Mane (LW) - 7/10 - Perfect first-time finish into the top corner from his only shot to that point. Had far more influence with some important hold-up. Subbed.

8. Substitutes

Luis Diaz (LW) - 5/10 - A couple of threatening ball-carries but couldn't influence the scoreline.

Naby Keita (CM) - 6/10 - Very tidy in midfield and made a difference.

Roberto Firmino (ST) - N/A


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