Manchester City and Liverpool shared the points in a thrilling draw at the Etihad as the visitors equalized twice to keep the title race alive, despite the Premier League leaders maintaining their slender advantage.
It was City who struck first in a lightening start as Kevin De Bruyne skipped past Fabinho and fired a deflected effort past goalkeeper Alisson inside five minutes, but the Reds responded well and Diogo Jota pulled them level less than 10 minutes later.
Gabriel Jesus, a surprise inclusion in Pep Guardiola’s team, fired the hosts back in front before the break as he latched onto the end of Joao Cancelo’s excellent delivery. Liverpool hit back again, though, as Sadio Mane finished Mohamed Salah’s brilliant pass to equalize just 47 seconds after the restart.
Liverpool were much improved after the break but were handed a lifeline when Raheem Sterling’s goal was disallowed by VAR for offside, before Salah saw a curling effort deflect wide. Riyad Mahrez hit the post with a late free kick, before wasting a huge chance as the breathless contest ended level.
Here’s how the players rated at the Etihad Stadium.
Edison – 5
Showed incredible nerve to pass the ball out under pressure from Jota on his goal line. He perhaps should have done better on the equalizer.
Kyle Walker- 5
Needed to do plenty of recovery runs, many successfully, but lost Mane for Liverpool’s second equalizer shortly after the break.
John Stones – 6
This was a tough day for defenders, with City also playing a high line that left him and Laporte exposed.
Aymeric Laporte – 7
Made a vital last-ditch challenge on Jota as she ran through on goal, as well as deflecting an effort from Salah wide.
Joao Cancelo – 8
Picked out Jesus with a brilliant ball to the back post for City’s second goal. Produced an outstanding moment of play to tackle Salah and then dribble out of trouble.
Rodri – 6
Struggled a bit in the second half and in Liverpool’s bright spells, but helped City keep control when they were on top.
Kevin DeBruyne – 7
Scored the opening goal as he drove past Fabinho, although his shot took a big deflection off Matip which helped take it inside the post. He had other chances and apart from his goal he was not as influential as usual in general play, but grew into the match again late on.
Bernardo Silva – 6
Played slightly deeper than usual but still stood out with his energy in and out of possession. Booked for a poor foul on Robertson.
Gabriel Jesus – 7
Played a dangerous cross inside to Sterling that should have led to the opening goal before he fired City back in front with an excellent finish at the far post. He certainly justified his surprise inclusion of him but made a poor decision to shoot late on when he had other options.
Phil Foden- 8
A constant threat on City’s dangerous left wing, either when gliding inside or threatening Alexander-Arnold down the line.
Raheem Sterling – 7
Perhaps the least threatening of City’s front three – and indeed should have scored early on – but his runs in behind helped pull Liverpool’s defense out of position. He was unlucky as he saw his second-half goal disallowed.
Riyad Mahrez – Hit the post with a brilliant late free kick before wasting a huge late chance as he tried to chip Alisson.
Jack Grealish – N/A
Allison – 6
Left with no chance after De Bruyne’s shot took a wicked deflection, after he had made a big save to deny Sterling moments before.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7
Supplied the assist for Jota’s equalizer as he had the vision to find the forward with the pull-back. There will be questions about some of his defensive work from him, particularly when he lost Jesus at the back post. He offers so much more, though.
Joel Matip – 6
Had a tough day alongside Van Dijk with Liverpool playing such a high line and was kept busy.
Virgil van Dijk – 7
With Liverpool playing such a high line he needed to be at his best. This was not Liverpool’s best game defensively but Van Dijk still made a couple of important interventions that underlined his class – such as his defending against Sterling on the break.
Andy Robertson – 6
Was key in Jota’s goal with his cross to Alexander-Arnold. Booked for a challenge on Walker but got a decisive touch on Foden’s dangerous cross with Sterling lurking.
Fabinho – 5
Was beaten too easily by De Bruyne on the opening goal and should have done better. Improved considerably after half-time to help Liverpool gain control.
Jordan Henderson – 5
Liverpool needed more of him on the ball, especially in the first half. He was brought off on 75 minutes for Naby Keita.
Thiago – 7
It was his exquisite switch of play that led to Jota’s goal and of Liverpool’s starting midfield he was the only one who looked comfortable in possession. He eventually booked for the second of two poor fouls-and was lucky after then catching De Bruyne late on.
Mohammed Salah – 7
Had a poor first half but produced a stunning pass to set up Mane early in the second half. He could have been played through himself if Jota was as sharp. He was much better in the second half and closer to his best.
Sadio Mane – 7
Like Salah, he came alive after half-time after a poor opening period. His brilliant finish found the far corner and beat Ederson and proved crucial to Liverpool’s point.
Diogo Jota – 6
Scored another important first goal for his team but his passing and line-up play was poor at times. He had a couple of opportunities to play in Salah and he needed to be sharper. Replaced by Luis Diaz.