5 talking points as intriguing Man City v Liverpool encounter ends all square


A fascinating encounter between Manchester City and Liverpool ended all square at the Etihad with neither side able to find a winner in a 1-1 draw.

The Reds dominated the early stages and took a deserved lead when Mohamed Salah converted a penalty on 13 minutes.

But City replied after half-an-hour as Gabriel Jesus smartly turned in the box and poked past Alisson to draw his side level.

City were gifted a chance to take the lead before half-time when they were given a spot-kick of their own, but Kevin de Bruyne uncharacteristically put it wide.

The second half was a slightly more cautious affair, and in the end both teams seemed content to settle for what was a fair result.

Here are five talking points from the game…

Premier League at its very best

It was another superb game of football between the two rivals

Encounters between these two sides don’t often disappoint, and tonight’s match was yet another brilliant advert for the Premier League.

Both teams went hell for leather, particularly in the first-half, and any worries that it could be a cagey encounter were quickly put to bed in what was an end-to-end, largely attacking affair.

Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher predicted before the game that despite strong starts from the likes of Tottenham and Leicester it would still be Liverpool and City who will be the only two challengers for the title come the end of the season.

The quality on display at the Etihad showed he may well be right.

Klopp’s brave call

Jurgen Klopp opted to start with both Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota

After days of debate over whether Roberto Firmino or Diogo Jota would start tonight’s game, Klopp surprised many by playing them both in a highly offensive 4-2-4 formation.

It was a risk which certainly paid off initially, with Liverpool looking much more inventive, threatening and dangerous than City throughout the vast majority of the first half.

The change of formation did leave them open and vulnerable to City counters from time to time, but that only added to what was a fascinating spectacle.

There is no doubt that the attacking quadruple of Mane, Salah, Firmino and Jota is one which could well tear apart weaker sides than City, and Reds fans got a tantalising glimpse of what could be to come in the future

City need Walker upgrade

Kyle Walker clumsily brought down Sadio Mane to concede a penalty

City right-back Walker looked very much a man past his best tonight.

Despite starting the season fairly well, the 30-year-old was run ragged by Mane at the Etihad, and was clumsy in giving away a penalty early on.

Roy Keane blasted Walker as an “idiot” and a “car crash” on Sky Sports at half-time, and while this seems a touch on the harsh side, it is not the first time the England international’s decision-making has come into question.

Walker is not getting any younger, and will surely continue to struggle against pacy forwards such as Mane even more as time goes on.

Guardiola has continued to stay loyal to Walker despite his errors in the past, but the time may have come to look for another option in the full-back position.

It will be intriguing to see whether City get their chequebook out in January.

Shaqiri still has part to play

Jurgen Klopp put Xherdan Shaqiri on with over half-an-hour left to play

Xherdan Shaqiri has largely been a forgotten man at Liverpool for the last year or so.

The Swiss winger made just seven Premier League appearances last season, and was widely expected to leave in the summer.

But after a move failed to materialise rather than sulking Shaqiri has pulled his socks up and worked hard, and was recently involved against Midtjylland and West Ham.

The fact Klopp had enough faith in the player to bring him on after 59 minutes against City on such a huge occasion shows he still trusts the 29-year-old, and believes he will still have a big part to play this season.

If he can stay injury free, Shaqiri will still be hopeful he can make an impression and have a significant impact in the coming months.

Jesus debate continues

Gabriel Jesus had another up and down evening

We saw the good and the bad of Jesus once again tonight.

The 23-year-old got his side back in the game out of nowhere with a brilliant turn on Trent Alexander-Arnold and a composed finish past Alisson to show how good he can be.

Yet he was far less clinical in the second half, and missed a huge opportunity to give his side the lead when he headed wide from Rodri’s cross from eight yards out.

With Sergio Aguero now 32 years old, there has naturally been debate over whether Jesus is the Argentinean legend’s long-term predecessor.

But the jury is still very much out, with the Brazilian continuing to blow hot and cold in City colours.

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