Although the draw at home against Liverpool keeps the championship fight open, the Citizens are masters of their destiny
MANCHESTER — It was epic, frenetic and unpredictable until the very end, when Riyadh Mahrez had the opportunity to not only win the match, but almost secure the title of the premier league. Instead, the footballer Manchester City sent the ball over the crossbar Liverpool and the end result was a 2-2 draw which means we are nowhere near knowing which of the two best teams in England champion will be crowned.
It was a game that had everything, including VAR intervention to correctly rule out Raheem Sterling’s 63rd-minute goal for offside. At that moment, Liverpool had twice equaled an advantage of the City to even the score: Kevin De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus scored for the hosts, Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane scored for the networks.
The result after 90 minutes is that, with both teams having seven league games to play, there is also the not insignificant matter of next Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final at Wembley and only one point separates the clubs who have dominated the premier league during the last five years.
“It was like a boxing match,” said the coach of the LiverpoolJurgen Klopp. “You have your arms down for a second and you get hit hard and you shake a little bit. It was a great game and a result that we have and can live with.”
The City retains the lead and his remaining matches suggest that the Liverpool he needs a surprise result to tip the scales in his favor and claim the top spot. Aside from visits to Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Ham United, there is little to worry about for Pep Guardiola’s players between now and the end of the season at home with only the Aston Villa game, managed by the LiverpoolSteven Gerrard.
The Liverpool has a tougher schedule. They should be victorious against the likes of Manchester United and Everton at Anfield, but those games are always charged with emotion and unpredictability; a home game against Tottenham Hotspur on May 7 can also be dangerous, while Klopp’s men must also face Gerrard’s Aston Villa.
As each side showed in this game, their level is in a different stratosphere than every other team in the division, so the success of the City to avoid defeat and maintain the top spot could ensure this is the decisive day in the title race.
But, although both teams showed their incredible quality, there were also rare flashes of nerves and mistakes from players like the defender of the Liverpool,Virgil van Dijk, the goalkeeper of the CityEderson, as well as strikers Mohamed Salah of the Liverpool and Raheem Sterling of City. On a time when they had to be at their best, it was perhaps no surprise that the best of them suffered from the occasional setback.
Jota’s persistence almost forced Ederson to concede an embarrassing first-half own goal and Van Dijk uncharacteristically brought down De Bruyne in the second half with a cynical free kick.
Salah did not have a brilliant performance and his best moment came early in the second half when he created Mane’s goal, while Sterling made too many poor decisions in key positions before being replaced by Mahrez.
Elsewhere, there were plenty of outstanding performances to make the occasion so absorbing. For him CityJoao Cancelo was unbeatable and unstoppable at left back as he owned his side of the pitch, while Aymeric Laporte also produced a series of crucial blocks.
Joel Matip of Liverpool He was impeccable in central defense, as was his goalkeeper Alisson Becker, who made great saves to Sterling and Jesus while the City advanced in the early stages.
But the great winner, on a day in which the teams shared the points, was Guardiola, with the coach of the City getting everything right, from his starting line-up, to energetic pressing tactics and substitutions; replace Sterling with Mahrez it was a key decision that increased the threat in the final stages.
It has become a bone of contention that Guardiola is seen as overthinking tactics and the squad in the biggest games. Although he is a serial winner, recent examples in the Champions League (last season’s final against Chelsea, when he started without a defensive midfield and striker) have seen him allow the opposition to get to his head.
Setting up Jesus early on was another surprise here, but Guardiola was rewarded with a rare goal and incredible work-rate from the Brazilian international, whose energy pumped up the crowd and teammates around him.
The rhythm in the first line of the City with Jesus, Sterling and Phil Foden gave him innumerable problems to the Liverpool and it was not until the second half, after Mane’s goal, that Klopp’s men recovered and got back into the game.
Even then, the City always carried the biggest threat and seemed the most likely winner, insofar as a draw was a good result for the team. Liverpool, at least that day. However, it was probably not in the larger context, as captain Jordan Henderson admitted.
“We’ll just have to wait and see,” said the captain of the Liverpool. “They don’t lose a lot of points, we know that. We have to focus on ourselves and win as many games as possible. If they fail, we have to be there behind them. We’ll keep going until the end. It’s not the end of the world, b>yet We’re in the race.”
Henderson was a young player for the Liverpool when a slipup tipped the scales of the title race, so perhaps a subconscious reference to Gerrard’s mistake against Chelsea in 2014 serves as a reminder that anything can happen in the closing stages of the season.
But City is on course to win its fourth title in five seasons and midfielder De Bruyne knows his side simply have to keep up their form to lift the trophy on May 15. “Today we played very well; I think we had the advantage,” De Bruyne said. “This is the way we need to play the rest of the season. I know people say whoever wins gets the title, but it’s too tough, the schedule is too tough for both teams to win every game, but we’ll try. “.
There are 21 points at stake. Yes City either Liverpool they fail to claim all, they will finish in second place.
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Manchester City controls the race to the Premier League title