Sergio Agüero cancelled out a James Milner penalty to earn City a point in a tough, but thrilling encounter against top four rivals Liverpool, to ensure a positive response following the loss in Monte Carlo on Wednesday.
Klopp and Guardiola alike stated they are proud of their teams and content with the draw, although both teams will regard this as two points dropped as it was a hectic game that either side could’ve clinched the three points.
The first half was somewhat of a sparring contest between the teams, both creating chances and working the goalkeepers, without really committing men forward in numbers.
The best chance of the half without a doubt fell to Raheem Sterling. Some intricate play from the midfield maestros De Bruyne and Silva resulted in a menacing low cross into the middle – Sterling got in front of Milner but squandered his chance. Replays confirmed what most thought in the heat of the moment – penalty City. Michael Oliver was having none of it, and denied Sterling a spot-kick after his legs were swept away from ex-City Milner.
City had the best chances of the first half, but Liverpool created more. Willy Caballero was called into action a few times and proved his worth. The first half was a showcase of two world-class attacks against two average at best defences.
Ex-double Premier League winner for City, James Milner, was on the receiving end of taunts from the City fans most of the game for comments he made in the build up to the game, but it was Milner who fired Liverpool ahead not long into the second half.
I said in my preview to this game that Clichy is the weakest link in this side, and this was confirmed further in the goal. The penalty was soft, and probably wasn’t a penalty, but poor positioning and awareness was the reason he was in the position in the first place to foul Firmino. Milner smashed his penalty home and it felt like ‘one of those days’ for City.
However, 18 minutes later, Sergio Agüero found himself celebrating a goal that encapsulates Sergio Agüero. He had a quiet game up until this point, but his devastating off the ball movement was too much for Klavan, as the Argentine latched on to a pin point De Bruyne ball at the front post to level the game.
From this point, the game was there to be won. Both sides saw glorious chances go begging. The first of these glorious opportunities fell to Adam Lallana, as he completely miss-kicked the ball when all he had to do was connect to score. Luckily for City, it wasn’t to be. At the other end, De Bruyne found Aguero in space at the back post, who skied his effort over from six yards. This chance was harder than Lallana’s as it was on the volley, but he should have scored and won the game for City.
Overall, there is no denying that a draw was a fair result on the balance of play and chances. Lucas and Fernando were sent on for their respective teams, which signals that both managers were happy with the point. Nevertheless, City could’ve won today but for missed chances and poor refereeing, which seems a theme of our big home games this season. Big chances missed, such as Sterling today, De Bruyne v Chelsea, a handful against Spurs – have cost City the title this season.
Saying this there are plenty of positives to take from today’s performance for City fans. John Stones was excellent. Important interceptions and big tackles, but most pleasing for me is how he is looking more of a leader each game. If he is City captain in five years, I will not be surprised at all.
The international break awaits with Arsenal and Chelsea away coming quick and fast after it. The biggest concern there is a high profile injury in the international break.