Welcome to Sportstar's live blog of the Premier League clash between Manchester City and Liverpool being played at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England.
This is Neeladri Bhattacharjee bringing you the pre-match buildup minute-by-minute updates of a match that may well be one of the title-deciding clashes of the 2021-22 season.
That was all for the night. Thanks for tuning in and take very good care of yourselves.
Match Report :
Post Match Comments:
Manchester City 2-2 Liverpool
Sadio Mane's early goal in the second half was enough to deny Manchester City a clear win as Jurgen Klopp's men limited City to a draw at Etihad on Sunday.
90+2' Free Kick for Liverpool now as De Bruyne fouls Fabinho and Trent Alexander-Arnold steps up for the free kick. The free kick sent in is headeed out by Rodri and then by Walker
90' Off the bar! Mahrez takes the free kick and the ball comes off the outside of the woodwork. Alisson was beaten. But so was the goal
89' Foul! De Bruyne tries ot makes a run from the midfield, but Van Dijk gets behind him and gets a yellow card for the challenge
87' Mahrez gets the ball along the right wing, switches play with passes to the left, through the midfield and City gets a throw in along the left flank.
84' Substitution for both sides! Jack Grealish replaces Gabriel Jesus for Manchester City and Sadio Mane goes of for Roberto Firmino for Liverpool
82' Foul! Bernardo Silva goes down after a rash challenge by Fabinho and the referee, after a VAR suggestion, gives a yellow vard to the player
81' Mahrez and De Bruyne pair up in the opposition box, but the final pass of the Belgian is deflected off Matip and then Liverpool clear the ball out of danger
80' The match has not let its fans and viewers breathe with waves of attack one after the other and a goal in either direction now will be of immense importance
78' Liverpool's corner kick headed out and then carried away by Walker as the ball eventually goes out for a throw in and another change for Liverpool.
In: Naby Keita, Out: Jordan Henderson
75' Substitution for Man City! In: Riyad Mahrez, Out: Raheem Sterling
72' Side Netting! Man City attacks again with Jesus making a run along the right wing and then he shoots for goal to see the ball end up along the sidenets
71' Goal Kick! Salah cuts in to his right and shoots, but the ball goes out for a goal kick off a deflection off Laporte. How is that a goal kick? The referee got that badly wrong
70' Substitution! In: Luis Diaz, Out: Diogo Jota
68' De Bruyne attacks on the counter, carries the ball from the bck to the midfield and passes to Sterling on his left. Sterling barges into the opposition box, but is thwarted by the towering presence of Virgil Van Dijk
66' Manchester City begins building from the back again with Laporte trying to find holes in the Liverpool midfield. The match has been extremely tight so far and neither manager has looked at ease along the sidelines
63' No Goal!!!!!! Sterling gets the ball off De Bruyne, rushes along the right and beats Alisson on one-on-one. However, after a VAR check, the goal is ruled out, as he was in an offside position
Man City 2-2 Liverpool
61' Chance! Liverpool's defence os caught napping as Jesus rushes to get to the ball, beats one LFC defender and then shoots. But Van Dijk is there to clear the ball away from goal
59' De Bruyne goes down, but City marches on with Bernardo Silva making small dribbles at the edge of the penalty box. Eventually Cancelo gets the ball and now Foden crosses from the left, which is cleared by Henderson
52' Save! Liverpool goes on the attack again and Jota gets the ball and shoots for goal. Ederson makes the save as the match remains poised at 2-2
50' Salah and Jota pair up with a run along the right wing, but Jota's pfinal pass is too much for Mane, as the ball is intercepted by Ederson
46' GOAAAAALLLL!!!!!!!! Salah gets the ball in the midfield, passes it to Mane, who rushes along the left to score and level for Liverpool for the second time today
Second Half Begins!
Manchester City 2-1 Liverpool
Despite Digo Jota pulling one back for the visitor, Manchester City kept a slender lead, with Gabriel Jesus scoring a crucial goal late in the first half to keep Liverpool behind for the first time this Premier League season.
45' Save!!!!!!! Laporte had strayed into an offside position, but managed to shoot on target. Alisson makes a key save which then hits the bar and is then cleared away
43' Cancelo carries the ball along the left wing, crosses for Sterling, who fails to get a touch on it and the ball eventually goes out for a goal kick after a touch off Foden as this attack fizzles out
41' Liverpool tries to build na attack, with Salah and Mane pairing up in the final third. Mane passes to Thiago, who was closing into the box, but City steals teh ball back
37' GOOOOAAAAALLLLLL!!!!!!! Jesus gets the ball from an aerial cross and buries the ball into the net, scoring his first goal of 2022
Man City 2-1 Liverpool
35' Shot! Cancelo gets the abll along the left flank and shoots on goal. Alisson makes a key save to give a corner for City, which is headed away by Matip
34' Manchester City has had more possession (57 percent) and more shots (5), but as we move past the half-hour mark, the score is all square.
31' Alisson's free kick falls for Mane, who is then brought down for a Liverpool free kick. This one's taken quickly and eventually the ball goes to Salah, who crosses it to Thiago and the ball moves to Rpbertson, whose cross is cleared away by City
29' Just Off Target! Cancelo makes a great run in the City bix, beats Alexander-Arnold and passes to De Bruyne, whose shot is just off target
28' Yellow Card! De Bruyne tries to make a run along the wings, but Robertson brings him down to get the first booking of the match
27' Cancelo gets the ball from the right s City tries to switch the play, but Salah, dropping back deep, denies any aerial chance to the City full back. The corner that follows sees the ball fall for Jesus, whose shot, blockes, is ricocheted to Alisson
25' Chance! Rodri's cross for Stones is just too much as the ball goers out for a goal kick
23' Mistake! Ederson treis to play a psss back to the City defence, but hi sdelay is spotted by Jota, who almost scores again
22' Salah gets the ball on the counter, hares along the right wing, but Cancelo steals the ball of him
21' City crowd in the opposition box with Sterling's cross somehow deflected by Thiago and the ball finallygoes out for a City corner kick. De Buyne takes the corner kick which is caught by Alisson comfortably.
19' A brillinat pass by Bernardo Silva from the midfield to Walker, who crossses from the right, but Van Dijk clears it for a City corner kick
18' The roars and chants of Liverpool fans, who are outnumbered is finally being heard at Etihad. The challengers are level as the Champions look to get back in front
13' GOOOOOAAALLLLLL!!! A clockwork combination play by Liverpool in the opposition box with the ball moving across feet and Alexander-Anold crosses to Jota, who finds the net
Man City 1- Liverpool
11' City is pressing very high with Sterling chasing the ball along the left flank, but Van Dijk is there to pass it back to Alisson, who is getting booed by an ocean of City fans at Etihad
9' Potential penalty appeal! Jesus and van Dijk come together with Alisson in the centre of it. Jesus appeals for a penalty as the referee asks the player to get up and get along
5' GOOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!! De Bruyne opens City's scoring yet again with a stunner as a deflection off the bar guides the ball into the net
Manchester City 1-0 Liverpool
5' Save! De Bruyne carries the ball from the midfiled passes it to the right and the cross then finds Jesus, whose shot is saved by Alisson
3' Foul! Van Dijk fouls Gabriel Jesus, who was trying to make a run behind the Liverpool defence
3' Manchester City has John Stones at the back as Liverpool tries to play high press against a team that has aced playing form the back
1' The match begins with the staduim echoes with fan chants and waves of support as two Mammoth Premier League teams begin the match. City is playing from left to right with the Reds from the other end.
9:00 pm: Kick-Off!
8:55pm: The captains of the two sides shake hands and get ready for what looks to be the most important fixture this season. Etihad has seen City lift the title before and this time, the race could not get tighter.
8:45 pm: What is at stake and the remaining fixtures?
Manchester City, with 73 points, comes into the match with a lead of just a point over Liverpool. If Pep Guardiola’s team manages a win, it will take a precious four-point lead with seven matches remaining in the season.
In those seven matches, it would face Wolverhampton Wanderers, Brighton and Hove Albion, Watford, Leeds United, Newcastle United, West Ham United and Aston Villa. On paper, City should be able to notch victories in all these matches. If it does not drop points it would result in it successfully defending its Premier League title.
Liverpool has done well to close the point gap with Manchester City. Now, it is second in the table and a win against Manchester City would result in the Merseyside club gaining a two-point lead over City with 75 points.
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Liverpool’s remaining fixtures are more challenging than Manchester City. Even if Jurgen Klopp’s side manages a win against Manchester City tomorrow, it would still have to play teams like Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton in the Merseyside Derby. Apart from them, Liverpool will face Newcastle United, Aston Villa, Southampton and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
8:30 pm: What are the managers saying?
Pep Guardiola, Manager, Manchester City: 'Liverpool and Man City have raised the level of the Premier League'
Jurgen Klopp, Manager, Liverpool : 'One of the biggest challenges in football'
8:15 pm: TEAM FORM: Man City vs Liverpool
Manchester City's last five matches- Manchester City has won three, drawn one and lost one
- Lost 3-2 vs Tottenham Hotspur
- Won 1-0 vs Everton
- Won 4-1 vs Manchester United
- Drew 0-0 vs Crystal Palace
- Won 2-0 vs Burnley
Liverpool's last five matches- Liverpool has won all of its last five matches
- Won 6-0 vs Leeds United.
- Won 1-0 vs West Ham United.
- Won 2-0 vs Brighton and Hove Albion.
- Won 2-0 vs Arsenal
- Won 2-0 vs Watford
8:00 pm: Starting Lineups out!
Manchester City Starting XI: Ederson(GK); Walker, Laporte, Stones, Cancelo; Rodri, De Bruyne(C), Bernardo; Sterling, Foden, Jesus.
Liverpool Starting XI: Alisson(GK); Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson(C), Thiago; Salah, Mane, Jota.
7:45 pm- Overall head-to-head record!
Manchester City and Liverpool have played each other 49 times in the Premier League. Liverpool enjoys a massive lead in the overall head-to-head record with 20 wins compared to Manchester City’s 11. 18 matches have ended in a draw.
The final international break is over. The remaining games are right there in front of them. The starting gun is about to be fired on another sprint to the line between Manchester City and Liverpool in the Premier League.
Saturday marks the beginning of a six-week fight for the title between two teams that have dominated English football over the past five years and set a new bar when it comes to what’s required to win the league.
And here they are again, back as the top two and separated by just one point with nine matches to go — one of which sees them face each other in what could be the defining match of the season.
City, the defending champion, holds the lead — as it has done since the end of December — but an advantage that was as large as 14 points in mid-January, when Liverpool had games in hand, has shrunk to such an extent that Jurgen Klopp’s team might be some people’s favorites.
Liverpool has fewer losses — two — and is on a nine-match winning run in the league. Heading into April, Liverpool has already won the League Cup and is still alive in the FA Cup and the Champions League.
The unprecedented quadruple, amazingly, remains on.
“They are always there,” City manager Pep Guardiola said recently. “A pain ... all the time.”
Klopp surely feels the same about City.
After all, City has won three of the last four league titles — and five of the last 10 — and has pedigree in mounting strong finishes. Their players know how to finish the job off.
Crucially, City has home advantage in its April 10 showdown with Liverpool at Etihad Stadium. Avoid defeat and few would be surprised if Guardiola’s team wins its other matches.
It promises to be a riveting finale between two closely matched teams. Here’s a look at some of the big questions in the title race:
WHO HAS THE BETTER SCHEDULE?
City, by a nose. Apart from the visit of Liverpool, City doesn’t play another team in the current top six. Its toughest other match looks to be at West Ham on the next-to-last weekend.
That comes three days before the final of the Europa League, a competition West Ham is still involved in. City’s last game is at home to Aston Villa, which is managed by Liverpool great Steven Gerrard.
Liverpool still has to play Manchester United and Tottenham, though both of those games are at home. The Reds might need to win all of their remaining league games, which — given they are already on a nine-match winning run — would mark an unprecedented streak of top-flight victories.
WHO HAS THE STRONGER SQUAD?
For the first time, it might be Liverpool. Certainly Klopp now has the edge over Guardiola when it comes to attacking options, with the January signing of Luis Diaz adding further competition in a forward line that already includes Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané, Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino.
The only weak spot appears to be a backup to Trent Alexander-Arnold at right back, which could be significant as he is currently out injured and could struggle to make the City game.
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City has played this season without an out-and-out striker and only Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling have reached double figures in goals with 10 each.
Three of the leading six scorers in the league are Liverpool players: Salah (20), Jota (13) and Mané (12). City’s most important player during the run-in might be Rodri, the defensive midfielder who is key to the balance of the team and is far more reliable than his backup, the 36-year-old Fernandinho.
WILL OTHER COMPETITIONS GET IN THE WAY?
They could, especially the Champions League if City and Liverpool go deep in Europe this season. They could even potentially meet in the final in Paris in late May.
Liverpool has the easier path on paper, having drawn Benfica in the quarterfinals before a possible semifinal meeting with Villarreal or Bayern Munich. City must get past Atlético Madrid before playing either Chelsea or Real Madrid in the semifinals.
The fact that City and Liverpool also meet in the FA Cup semifinals on April 16 adds another layer of intrigue. City’s April schedule looks daunting — after Burnley away on Saturday, it’s Atlético-Liverpool-Atlético-Liverpool in an 11-day span.
In that period, Liverpool has the double-header against Benfica. The key moment in the title race could be the midweek game that follows that four-match rush. Whereas City plays Brighton at home on April 20, Liverpool will host a Manchester United team that has only the league left to focus on this season.
WHO IS THE FAVORITE ON APRIL 10?
City is at home and unbeaten in the teams’ last four meetings. Liverpool has the momentum. It’s a tough one to call and a draw might be the best bet.
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That would suit City more, keeping the destiny of the title in its hands, and Guardiola has curbed his attacking instincts to set his team up more compactly in the big games over the last two seasons.
If, however, the match turns out being more chaotic, Liverpool has the firepower to pull off victory. The availability of Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool’s most creative player despite being a right back, could be key.
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