Manchester City vs. Liverpool is yet to be a grudge derby the size of Liverpool vs. Manchester United, but since the turn of the era of Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, the premier league hasn’t had a classic the weight of it.
By the words of the two managers, they agree there is little to no club rivalry between the teams aside the need to get whatever point necessary to stay at or move to the top. However, when both teams meet, it seems there is a lot to be lost aside the 3 points. Is it pride? Is it ego? Or is it the need for both managers to upscale the other?
The lunch time kickoff was no different today, and despite the criticisms by Jurgen Klopp regarding the scheduling of the tie, the teams still found a way to entertain fans and neutrals.
Heading into the tie, the Cityzens went as favorites to steal all 3 points from a renewed Liverpool side whose midfield was very different from the team Manchester City faced last season. And judging by how the Reds started the game, pundits and punters looked certain to right to place Pep Guardiola’s side as the winners even before kickoff.
Within the first half of the hour, Manchester City went ahead thanks to an Erling Haaland finish started by Nathan Ake who dribbled past Liverpool duo, Dominik Szoboszlai and Trent Alexander Arnold to set up the lead.
The Reds on their own end, had to rely on the somewhat rusty Alisson Becker to ensure the score line was at least decent before the half-time whistle was blown. Jurgen Klopp’s men went into the tie heavily reliant on hitting City on the counter, a move that ultimately failed to yield anything in the first half. Darwin Nunez and the likes of Dominik Szoboszlai and Diogo Jota failed to deliver the equalizer for the Merseyside team despite the chances created.
However, Liverpool were able to keep the promise the tie was expected of, and though Manuel Akanji could have killed the game for Manchester City, a foul against Alisson Becker meant the Reds still had a lifeline in the game.
And of course, who better to give the Merseyside team the lifeline than the Scouser in the team, Trent Alexander Arnold who converted a pass from Mohamed Salah to nick the equalizer for Liverpool in the 80th minute.
Minutes that may have been missed from the clash was Darwin Nunez’s dogged defensive display to keep Manchester City at bay when needed, and of course, his full time roar with Pep Guardiola that needed Liverpool’s assistant manager, Pep Lijnders to intervene.