Liverpool 2, Manchester City 2
Manchester City had to come from behind twice after dominating the first half of an epic draw at Anfield after James Milner escaped a red card.Embed from Getty Images
After somehow managing to keep the scores level in the first half Liverpool found moments of magic to put them ahead through Sadio Mane.
But City fought back through Phil Foden before the Blues felt James Milner should have been sent off in the second half for a second bookable offence, and potentially a penalty, but Salah scored his superb solo goal to put the Reds ahead again.
The drama was already high as City fumed before De Bruyne restored parity and Rodri’s last ditch tackle kept Fabinho from winning the game for Liverpool.
Both sides still went at it until the end but a draw was the least that City deserved in a stunning game as Liverpool managed to maintain their unbeaten start to their top flight season.
Phil Foden sparkles again at Anfield against Liverpool
Goalscorer Phil Foden admitted it was a tough game at Anfield, but he believed he should have won a penalty for the challenge which James Milner who had a torrid time until he was withdrawn.
He said: “It’s difficult to come here with their fans, we dealt with it very well today.
“It was a brilliant game, on another day we could have won three points.
“I had a couple of chances myself and Kev [De Bruyne] had a header but we dug in in the second half.
On the penalty decision that he wasn’t given, he said: “I’m an honest guy, I don’t like to go down, but we deserved a penalty for that.
“Coming back from behind showed our character, we played really well today.”
City boss Pep Guardiola was proud of his players after a difficult week with three big away games which they got 4 points from.
He said: “What a game, that’s the reason why Liverpool and Man City were always there.
“We have played against three incredible teams this week, unfortunately we didn’t win today but we didn’t lose.
“We should have won with a bigger margin in Stamford Bridge and Paris but we showed that we are a great team.
“What we did between 15th and 45th minute at Anfield was really great.”
“I know how hard to is to play against these players and this manager.
“The first half they didn’t have a single chance, but they are at Anfield and it’s about how we react.”
He was less happy with how James Milner stayed on the pitch after he should have received a second yellow card for bringing down Bernardo Silva in the second half of this contest.
He declared: “It was a yellow card. A second yellow card. In this situation a City player would be sent off.”
And reports that he responded to reports that City had put in an official complaint about the behaviour of some home fans after City scored their first equaliser.
Guardiola weighed in, adding: “They destroyed our bus when we came here. Liverpool [football club] is better than this behaviour.”
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp admitted they were ‘average’ in the first half but changed things in the second half.
He said: “Thank God a football game has two halves, we were happy with the second half today.
“I was most happy in my career with the half time whistle, we never planned to play like this but we used half time.
“I’m fine with a point after the first half we had.
“Man City with the ball is a proper team but there are ways to defend it, and you have to step out at the right moment.
“We were passive in the first half, they had chances but didn’t score and we had a bad feeling in the first half.
“We changed all these things in the second half.”
He also praised Mo Salah’s goal which put Liverpool in the lead for the second time in the game.
Klopp said: “Both our goals were brilliant – Mo Salah scores his goal because he is world class.
“I have no idea how Rodri blocked the last ball – for me the ball was in.
“Allison was there for the deflected goal, but it would have been greedy to win this game.”
He swerved the question of James Milner’s second yellow card claiming he was going to be taken off anyway.
Manchester City dominate first half to silence Anfield, but fail to convert their chances
Guardiola returned to the side that beat Chelsea last week which meant that Gabriel Jesus and Phil Foden returned to the starting line-up at the expense of Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling.
After a minute of applause for former Liverpool and England striker Roger Hunt, who died on September 27 aged 83, the two sides got to work at a frantic rate.
City were initially wasteful with their build-up with their usual movement lacking as they defended deep, allowing Liverpool to counter attack.
But City worked themselves into the game and silenced the Anfield crowd as they edged the first half against a lacklustre Liverpool side who recorded only one shot in the first half – their fewest in the opening 45 minutes of a Premier League match at Anfield since January 2017 against Chelsea.
Bernardo Silva started to run with the ball between defenders after Jordan Henderson gave the ball away and set up Foden Phil for a shot on goal which was blocked by Alisson after he took a touch which allowed the Brazilian to close him down.
Kevin De Bruyne turned the ball across the box after Joao Cancelo slipped him through with nobody waiting to convert.
Andrew Robertson’s free kick was an easy take for Ederson after Ruben Dias fouled Jota while Foden’s ball into the box was not followed up by a run into the box by De Bruyne.
Foden went down in the area after De Bruyne returned the favour, VAR didn’t change the referee’s decision not to award the spot kick after James Milner appeared to have clipped him in the box while Jack Grealish also went close and De Bruyne headed over the bar after getting on the end of a Foden left wing cross.
De Bruyne and Rodri had shots blocked City continued to knock on the door.
Allison tackled Foden before he could round him as he burst into the box following a launch upfield by Ederson.
Liverpool will have been glad to get in at half time without conceding a goal but they had looked toothless and relieved that City didn’t have an experienced striker on the end of some of those chances.
Jota tried to get into a shooting position but was thwarted by Ruben Dias after he tried to turn the defence.
He also got a shot away but Ederson parried it as Liverpool improved after the break.
Mo Salah tried to buy a penalty from Cancelo’s challenge after 54 minutes when Jota switched the ball to him.
Liverpool spark the game onto another level with the first goal – through Sadio Mane
Liverpool had been trying unsuccessfully to create a through ball for Sadio Mane but Salah succeeded after 59 minutes after skipping past Rodri and the African striker raced clear of Dias and slotted past Ederson.
Mane tried to double his tally but Ederson came off his line to clear the ball while Salah’s free kick went past the post after his free kick took a deflection.
Raheem Sterling was brought on for Grealish after 6 minutes and Jesus saw a shot blocked by Milner.
Roberto Firmino replaced Jota, and City went again with Jesus coming inside from the right and threading a ball through to Foden on the left, with the youngster firing in the equaliser from an acute angle, at just 6 yards out.
It was Foden’s second goal of the season – and his third goal against Liverpool.
Milner was lucky to get away without a second yellow card after he cynically brought Bernardo Silva down as he tried to get through on the outside left – a move which left Guardiola animated and furious.
Instead, Salah put Liverpool back into the lead after slack defending from City allowed him to receive the ball, quickly turn and get past Cancelo, Silva, and Aymeric Laporte and put the ball past Ederson into the back post with a right foot shot.
It was the seventh game in a row that the in-form Egyptian had scored for Liverpool, equalling his longest previous scoring streak for the Reds in April 2018.
The game was on the boil now, and City equalised again through Kevin de Bruyne after 81 minutes.
Foden’s ball into the box was half cleared by Robertson to the edge of the area under pressure from Walker where the Belgian struck it sweetly and the goal bound shot took a deflection off Joel Matip’s knee to beat Allison.
Fabinho gave away a free kick almost 30 yards out in a great spot but Kyle Walker wasted it, blazing over with De Bruyne and Foden stood nearby.
Rodri’s last ditch slide took the ball away from Fabinho, who had an open goal 3 yards in front of him, after Ederson made mistake from a Liverpool free kick with 3 minutes to go.
De Bruyne sent the loose ball wide after Sterling back heeled it into his path.
Gabriel Jesus and De Bruyne found themselves blocked as City went for a winner.
GOALS – Liverpool 2, Manchester City 2
Liverpool 1, Man City 0: 59. Sadio Mane slotted home after outpacing Ruben Dias after Mo Salah had gotten past Rodri to slide him through on goal.
Liverpool 1, Man City 1: 69. Phil Foden equalised with a pinpoint strike from wide on the left, just 6 yards out after Gabriel Jesus threaded the ball through to him.
Liverpool 2, Man City 1: 76. A piece of individual skill from Mo Salah saw the Egyptian go past three City defenders from a standing start and scored inside the far post past Ederson with a right foot shot.
Liverpool 2, Man City 2: 81. Kevin de Bruyne fired in a left footed shot from the edge of the area after Phil Foden’s cross was only half cleared by Andrew Robertson under pressure from Kyle Walker, and the goal bound shot took a deflection off Joel Matip’s knee to wrong foot Allison.
MATCH STATS – Liverpool 2, Manchester City 2
Liverpool: Alisson, Milner (Gomez 78), Matip, van Dijk (C), Robertson, Henderson, Fabinho, Jones, Salah, Jota (Firmino 68), Mane
Liverpool subs not used: Kelleher, Konate, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Minamino, Tsimikas, N Williams
Booking: Milner 43 (foul on Phil Foden), Jota 65 (foul on Kevin De Bruyne), Fabinho 83
Goals: Mane 59; Salah 76
Man City: Ederson, Walker, Dias (C), Laporte, Cancelo, Bernardo Silva, Rodri, De Bruyne, Jesus, Grealish (Sterling 66), Foden
Man City subs not used: Steffen, Carson, Stones, Ake, Torres, Fernandinho, Mahrez, Palmer
Booking: Dias 26 (foul on Jota), Cancelo 56 (foul on James Milner), Bernardo Silva 77 (dissent)
Manager Booking: Pep Guardiola 77
Goals: Foden 69, De Bruyne 81
Referee: Paul Tierney