The Premier League’s two-week holiday slate concluded with the biggest match of them all, and did not disappoint.
Manchester City dealt Liverpool its first loss of the Premier League season. In this match with massive title implications, City won 2-1 to pull within four points of the league leaders.
Man City looked to come out aggressively and had the early edge in possession. Pressure on Alisson forced a wayward clearance from the Liverpool goalkeeper. Alisson entered the match having conceded only eight times in 20 games. The high press continued to bother Liverpool in the third minute, but Alisson was able to collect a cross by the near post as Aguero hovered by the goal line.
Liverpool remained patient and finally was able to break forward in the ninth minute. Sadio Mane found Firmino down the right-hand side. His cross into the center was nearly headed into Man City’s net by Fernandinho. Ederson was quick to react and prevent the own goal.
Liverpool nearly went ahead nine minutes later. At the end of a great combination sparked by Mohamed Salah in the center of the field, the Egyptian played Mane in on goal. The Senegal star put his chance off the post, but Stones’s ensuing clearance attempt ricocheted off Ederson and trickled toward the goal line. The English defender recovered in time and cleared the would-be own goal off the line. This preserved the 0-0 scoreline. Goal-line technology showed that Liverpool was a few blades of grass from having the ball clear the line. NBC’s broadcast announced it was a mere 1.12 centimeters before Stones got to it.
Aguero, who has made a history of torching Liverpool at the Etihad, scored from a tight angle to make it 1-0. Moments after thinking he should have drawn a penalty, Aguero got up, positioned himself onside and then controlled Bernardo Silva’s cross before finishing at the near post.
Liverpool pulled even just after the hour mark. Alexander-Arnold started the sequence with a gorgeous cross-field ball for his opposite fullback, Robertson. The left back lofted a first-time volley from the far post to the near post, where an unmarked, onside and diving Firmino headed home from the doorstep to make it 1-1 in the 64th minute.
The level scoreline didn’t stand for long. Off a brilliant move out of the back started by Danilo, Man City retook the lead. Sane did the honors on the scoring end, delivering a precise left-footed blast off the far post and in to give City a 2-1 edge.
Liverpool couldn’t quite find the equalizer, though, leaving the door open for City and Spurs in a title race that marches on following a hectic holiday fixture list.