My 3 Thoughts on Man City-Liverpool
Breathtaking Action in Another Classic Between the World's Two Best Teams
Manchester City and Liverpool tied 2-2 on Sunday as City kept its one-point lead in the Premier League race. Here are my three thoughts on the game:
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• The world’s two best club teams delivered yet again. How often do you get excited for a final or a huge rivalry showdown and come away disappointed? Pretty often. But the recent years of City-Liverpool have never failed to be exhilarating, and Sunday’s game was no different. For the second time this season, the Premier League leaders produced a 2-2 tie that left viewers wanting more. Both teams played high defensive lines that allowed for counter-attacking by both sides. Both teams went for it, delivering searing ambitious passes on a dime. Both teams went in hard on the tackle, with Liverpool’s Fabinho and Thiago Alcântara coming close to being sent off with second yellows. Were there mistakes at times? Yes. But they were usually forced by the quality of the opposing team, and breathtaking moments were plentiful. Kevin De Bruyne was a force from the opening whistle, slicing through the Liverpool defense and nearly creating a last-second winner with his pass that Riyad Mahrez couldn’t convert. Meanwhile, Liverpool created its own moments of danger, often through Thiago, and Mohamed Salah’s assist to Sadio Mané to start the second half brought Liverpool back into a game that City was starting to control. I’m exhausted, and all I did was sit in front of a TV the last two hours.
• I still give Liverpool a slight edge to win the league. There’s just a one-point edge for City, which could have had four points of breathing room. And while City has the slightly easier opponents the rest of the way, I still think Liverpool has been the better team over the past two months and feel like City is more likely to have an unexpected slip-up the way they did dropping points at Crystal Palace not long ago. This was actually Liverpool’s poorest performance overall in a really long time, and the fact that it came at the league leader—and that Liverpool still got a point—should tell you how good LFC has been for a while now.
• Let’s run it back next weekend. We have entered the part of the season that I love the most: Huge games on a regular basis, including an FA Cup semifinal showdown between these same two teams next weekend and potentially another matchup in the men’s Champions League final next month. A lot needs to happen for that to take place, but is there anyone at this point who thinks these aren’t the two best teams in Europe? I also love how clear it was that Pep Guardiola and Jürgen Klopp has spent a ton of time with their staffs thinking and preparing for this game. The spaces that De Bruyne in particular found in Liverpool’s midfield did not come by coincidence, and City was very effective in the first half taking advantage of Andy Robertson and delivering a series of dangerous crosses from that side across the six-yard box. Liverpool, meanwhile, found success with diagonal passes on a dime and got its midfield more involved in the second half than it had been in a difficult first half against City. I’ll be excited to see how both teams prepare for next weekend’s game and how they approach it with their tactics and personnel choices. What a rivalry this is.
What are your thoughts on the game? You can join the discussion in the comments below.
I had the same thought, Grant. Most of the time, the only big thing about The Big Game is its level of disappointment. Well, this didn’t disappoint. We even nearly had the all-time howler! KDB is 100% back.
Loved this match. Pep & Klopp have been having great matches since the Bundesliga days.