Man City hold out for Liverpool draw to leave Arsenal top of Premier League

City took the lead through John Stones’ first-half strike, but Alexis Mac Allister equalised with a penalty soon after the interval at Anfield.

Arsenal remained top of the Premier League after a titanic tussle between Liverpool and Manchester City ended 1-1 at Anfield on Sunday.

City took the lead through John Stones’ first-half strike, but Alexis Mac Allister equalised with a penalty soon after the interval at Anfield.

The final Premier League clash between Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola did not disappoint as Liverpool roared back in a breathless second half despite being depleted by injury.

Klopp’s men could have regrets if they do not go on to break City’s run of three consecutive titles as they missed a plethora of chances to secure a crucial win.

City have still not won at Anfield in front of a crowd since 2003, but could also have snatched victory late on when Jeremy Doku hit the post.

A share of the spoils leaves Arsenal as the winners of the weekend as eight consecutive league victories have taken the Gunners top, but they travel to City in their next league match on March 31.

Mohamed Salah was only fit enough for a place on the Liverpool bench alongside Andy Robertson, while Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ibrahima Konate and Diogo Jota were absent through injury.

A makeshift Liverpool defence were put to the test early on as Kevin De Bruyne found pockets of space to exploit.

His attempt at an audacious chip of Caoimhin Kelleher drifted just wide before the Irish goalkeeper parried a driven De Bruyne shot from long range.

Without Salah and Jota the pressure was on Darwin Nunez to deliver up front for Liverpool.

But the Uruguayan kept drifting offside in the first 45 minutes.

Luis Diaz did have the ball in the net for the hosts, but the goal was ruled out as Nunez had strayed in the build-up.

For a much-anticipated clash between two of the world’s best teams, both goals came from simple defensive errors.

Liverpool were caught napping from a De Bruyne corner and Stones’ effort had too much power for Kelleher.

Klopp’s men recovered impressively to end the first half the stronger side.

Dominik Szoboszlai headed a good chance over and Diaz blasted inches wide from the edge of the area.

But Liverpool had to wait just seconds into the second period their equaliser and it came gift-wrapped from the visitors.

Nunez pounced on Nathan Ake’s short backpass and was cleaned out by Ederson.

Mac Allister was cool despite a long delay for Ederson to get treatment, which eventually forced him to be replaced by Stefan Ortega, and fired his penalty into the top corner.

City cling on

With confidence restored, Liverpool then poured forward as City were left clinging on.

Salah and Robertson were introduced on the hour mark and the Egyptian nearly had an instant impact.

Diaz sliced wide a glorious chance wide when played clean through by Salah’s pass.

Kyle Walker’s last-ditch intervention denied Diaz once more before Salah flashed a shot wide.

Ortega then had to be quick off his line to smother a shot from Nunez.

Guardiola responded by sacrificing Julian Alvarez and Kevin De Bruyne, much to the chagrin of the Belgian who made his feelings known to his manager.

However, the introduction of Mateo Kovacic and Jeremy Doku steadied the City ship and could have even gone on to snatch it.

Erling Haaland was kept exceptionally quiet by Virgil van Dijk, but he picked out Doku who fired off the inside of the post in the final minute of the 90.

Liverpool were screaming for a second penalty deep into eight minutes of added time when Doku’s high foot caught Mac Allister.

But neither referee Michael Oliver or VAR were interested to leave the title race tantalisingly poised.

Source: AFP

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