Football: Man City and Liverpool share the spoils in four-goal thriller

Kevin De Bruyne (left) of Manchester City in action against Andrew Robertson (R) of Liverpool on April 10, 2022. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

"Today, nobody will be champion" opined Pep Guardiola before kick-off and he was proved right. But the status quo is rarely preserved in such sensational style.

Manchester City and Liverpool traded goals and blows in a game of blistering brilliance that left the title race with Guardiola still a solitary point ahead of Jurgen Klopp. But as Liverpool's run of 10 successive wins ended, the difference is their destiny is now out of their hands after an epic that suggested the Premier League's top two are the outstanding pair of sides in world football.

In a match of intensity and quality, played at relentless speed by two teams with plenty of ambition, some individuals illuminated the Etihad Stadium.

Kevin de Bruyne was superb throughout. Mohamed Salah was terrific in the second half. Trent Alexander-Arnold added to his array of assists and Sadio Mane marked his 30th birthday with the equaliser.

Liverpool twice had the wherewithal to come from behind, City twice had the verve to lead. Two high-class defences were breached twice each and both could have conceded more. That was testament to the attacking excellence.

It came from the first whistle. City led inside five minutes. De Bruyne's fourth goal in as many games took a big deflection off Joel Matip on its way past Alisson and perhaps, given the Brazilian's outstanding save from Raheem Sterling a minute earlier, it required a stroke of luck to beat him. For the first time since January, Liverpool conceded away from Anfield.

Their response was swift and entirely typical. Much of Klopp's attacking gameplan revolves around his attacking full-backs and they combined, Andy Robertson delivering a deep cross for Alexander-Arnold to tee up Diogo Jota. Ederson should have saved his shot but Klopp got early vindication for preferring the Portuguese to Luis Diaz. It was Alexander-Arnold's 17th assist of the season, a ridiculous tally.

But Guardiola was also justified in an attacking choice. Gabriel Jesus was a surprise selection but set up Sterling's early chance, aided by de Bruyne's incisive pass, and a regular scourge of Liverpool got his fifth goal against them. When Joao Cancelo whipped in a cross, Jesus emerged unchecked to lift a half-volley over Alisson.

Then it was the turn of Liverpool's champion forwards. If Salah and Mane had each been a little quiet in the first half, they rectified that in the opening minute of the second. The Egyptian curled a pass into the path of the Senegalese, whose first-time finish was emphatic.

Chances continued. A suddenly rampant Salah set Jota up for a shot Ederson saved. The Egyptian came close with a curler. Sterling had a goal disallowed, fractionally offside when he ran on to de Bruyne's pass. But if there was no separating them, the table still favours City.

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