Man City chance of another Premier League record ended by tiny margin – Simon Bajkowski



Sterling nearly wins it again

If there was any consolation for Raheem Sterling, this wasn’t the biggest goal he has scored at the Etihad only to see it chalked off by VAR. Manchester City can certainly take consolation from still being top of the league with seven games to go having held off a spirited challenge from Liverpool.

But if some of the fine margins in the 2018/19 tussle between these two brilliant sides fell City’s way – John Stones clearing off the line against Liverpool and Sergio Aguero’s effort just making it over at Burnley – here was a call that tipped over onto the Merseyside side of the scales. The feet that Sterling used to think he had put City 3-2 up in this absorbing game were onside, as other parts of him were not.

ALSO READ: City blunt Liverpool attack with tested tactic to please Guardiola

It may not end up making a difference, just as Sterling’s early miss in the game was quickly forgotten as Kevin De Bruyne opened the scoring from the same phase of play. As it is though, City can bemoan a matter of millimeters meaning their gap at the top is one point rather than four.

It also means that their long run this season of not dropping a point from a winning position is over after 23 wins. They can still equal the record if they do not drop any more before the season is out, but the chance to break new ground is over.

Guardiola faith in Jesus pays off

Gabriel Jesus had not started a Premier League game since New Year’s Day and had not scored a Premier League goal since the one he got against Chelsea in September. The decision to start him for their biggest Premier League game, and ahead of their top goalscorer Riyad Mahrez, looked curious at best.

Guardiola clearly knows a thing or two about football though because the selection was absolutely inspired. Jesus scored a cracking goal to put City 2-1 up and saw another effort cleared off the line by Virgil Van Dijk, providing a handful for the Liverpool defense all game.

Jesus may not have had as many opportunities to shine as he would like this year as he has worked his way back from injury, but the Brazilian took his big moment.

Alisson vs Ederson

One of the many subplots to this game was the two goalkeepers fighting it out to be Brazil No.1 at the World Cup, as well as trying to add to their tally of clean sheets. The latter went out of the window for both early on in the game, and the whole contest encapsulated the different strengths of each.

Ederson should have done better with Diogo Jota’s goal to make it 1-1 in the first half even if it was from close range, while Alisson could do little about the two goals that flew past him. However, Ederson was much more composed on the ball and able to keep City in possession better than Alisson could for Liverpool.

what a game

Sometimes you just have to sit back and admire both teams. The football was not perfect but it was such a high standard for so long that it will go down as one of the best players this season – one of the quirks of this rivalry is that so often the games are so good.

They will meet again in the FA Cup next week at Wembley, and if the game is half as good it will be another treat for everyone to enjoy.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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