The Premier League’s top entertainers typically don’t disappoint in a fixture that has produced modern classics in recent years. All the ingredients for a classic were present in the first half; quick, end to end football with plenty of drama to accompany although what appeared to be a certainty, goals, were missing from the first half. A goal apiece surfaced in the second half in a match both sides will be regret not taking all three points from.
Willy Caballero – 7
Caballero made a handful of standard but nonetheless important saves in the first half and maintained an aura of security – or as secure as a City defense gets. No blame can be attached to him for the penalty and he did wonderfully to prevent Liverpool scoring again shortly after, getting his angles perfectly against Roberto Firmino.
Fernandinho – 7
He’s featured regularly at fullback but looked more assured than normal today. Undoubtedly played his part in the build up as well as fouling Milner and Coutinho and typically getting away with it. Yaya was substituted mid-way through the second half for Bacary Sagna, allowing Fernandinho to return to his natural position in central midfield.
John Stones – 7
As is becoming more and more the norm, John Stones was quietly solid. Great on the ball as per and put in some great blocks and defended intelligently against a difficult player to defend in Firmino.
Nicolas Otamendi – 7
The ever mercurial Otamendi appeared more gladiator than headless chicken, on this occasion. He managed to swagger along the tight line between aggressive and reckless without tripping. He looked assured with his partner John Stones, both of whom unlucky to concede a clean sheet.
Gael Clichy – 4
In a match where City’s defense was uncharacteristically solid, it is frustrating that one piece ruined the puzzle. It is especially harsh considering the nature of the penalty conceded. Clichy clearly got the ball but forced Michael Oliver to make a tough decision from a bad angle, that allowed Liverpool an undeserved goal from the spot.
Yaya Toure – 6
In a game where City’s midfielders were always going to be hounded down, Yaya handled the pressure and moved the ball well. His afternoon was always going to be cut short due to the intensity of the match, as Sagna replaced him and Fernandinho took his role.
David Silva – 7
A silky performance from City’s magician, as ever. Some nice link up play as per but sadly produced nothing, unlucky so considering what arguably should’ve been a foul on Sterling from a Silva cross. He put in his defensive work as well as his other midfield compatriots did in a match many thought City’s midfield would be overran.
Kevin De Bruyne – 8 (Man of the Match)
After what many deemed an uninspired performance from the Belgian in Monaco, De Bruyne put in a fantastic performance, reiterating his importance to the side. An array of dangerous crosses proved to be City’s best creator, leading to Aguero’s goal as well. One assist, and there could’ve easily been more.
Leroy Sané – 5
Sané had a relatively quiet afternoon considering his usual performances in the big matches. A lot of that comes down to City’s style of play, which entailed overloading the left wing with Clichy, Sané, Silva, and De Bruyne which sucks Liverpool to the left side, freeing room for Raheem Sterling. A common feature of the match being Kevin De Bruyne diagonals to a more often than not free Sterling.
Raheem Sterling – 6
Sterling put in a performance today, telling of his current state; doing everything right but ultimately lacking the final ball. Admittedly, it seems like Sterling will never be awarded a penalty and none more frustratingly so than the Milner foul on Sterling from behind. As frustrating as the refereeing though is the lack of quality on goal that has hurt City as well as Sterling individually numerous times this season.
Sergio Aguero – 6
Up until his goal, this narrative would be quite different for Aguero, one that would delve into Aguero’s static style and another disappointing big game perfomance. While the goal changed Aguero’s momentum and led to the creation of other chances, ultimately another big game leaves fans pondering what ifs. Chances rolled along for him throughout the match but in the end Aguero was presented with an another opportunity to become the hero in a big game ultimately letting this one slip.
Bacary Sagna – 5
Sagna came on as a tactical substitution to move Fernandinho centrally and the Frenchman had a fairly quiet time once on the pitch.
Fernando – N/A
The Brazilian came on to tighten up City’s defense in the latter stages of the match but a little under fifteen minutes was not enough time for him to really put a stamp on the game.