Liverpool 2-2 Man Metropolis: Why Reds received away with it – Jermaine Jenas

I nonetheless have Manchester Metropolis as favourites to win the Premier League – my solely concern is that they’re having to work far too onerous at occasions to attain.

The extent of play they’ve produced thus far this season has not been matched by their aim return – and Sunday’s thrilling 2-2 draw at Liverpool was one other instance of that.

Nearly as good as Metropolis have been for lengthy durations at Anfield – and so they have been superb certainly, and regarded harmful – there have been occasions once I thought they have been by no means going to search out the online. These questions over whether or not they want a striker appeared extra outstanding than ever.

I do know Metropolis followers can say ‘grasp on, we already scored 5 in opposition to Norwich, and one other 5 in opposition to Arsenal’ – however these kinds of video games aren’t going to outline their season.

Snapshot of the top of the Premier League: 1st Chelsea, 2nd Liverpool, 3rd Man City, 4th Man Utd, 5th Everton & 6th Brighton

It’s video games akin to this one and the one in France earlier within the week, the place they dominated Paris St-Germain however have been unable to attain, that present they want a goalscorer of their facet.

The query of how a lot distinction a recognised striker would make for Metropolis goes to be flung at Pep Guardiola from now till the January switch window. Until they signal somebody then, it’ll go on for the remainder of the season too.

Nearly as good as their massive summer time signing Jack Grealish is, each time they do not win a sport, individuals can ask ‘did they actually need him, and did they want a striker extra?’

Graphic showing Man City's starting XI v Liverpool: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo, Bernardo, Rodri, De Bruyne, Jesus, Grealish, Foden
Jack Grealish performed as a false 9 in Manchester Metropolis’s draw at Anfield

Guardiola’s argument may be that they did not want a striker to win the Premier League final season, however what he did have then was Ilkay Gundogan’s targets – he was popping up all over.

Gundogan received 13 within the league final season, however solely has one thus far this time and isn’t match for the time being. Raheem Sterling just isn’t scoring proper now both, so who’s changing all these targets – particularly at massive moments within the greatest video games?

Sure, they got here again from behind twice this time, however they need to have been out of sight lengthy earlier than Liverpool took the lead.

‘Liverpool have three deadly goalscorers’

Graphic showing Liverpool's starting XI v Man City: Alisson, Milner, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Fabinho, Jones, Salah, Jota, Mane

The distinction between the 2 groups on Sunday was this: even when Liverpool have been being outplayed, I at all times thought that in the event that they received one likelihood, they have been going to take it.

I anticipated them to attain due to the way in which Jurgen Klopp’s facet are arrange in assault. Towards Metropolis, that they had three deadly goalscorers on the pitch in Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Diogo Jota.

Evaluate that with the entrance three of Gabriel Jesus, Phil Foden and Jack Grealish that Metropolis went with. In the event you put all their targets collectively, they’re merely not in the identical bracket.

Liverpool’s entrance three Man Metropolis’s entrance three
103 – Mohamed Salah 52 – Gabriel Jesus
99 – Sadio Mane 16 – Phil Foden
28 – Diogo Jota 16 – Jack Grealish
Complete = 230 Complete = 84

Tactically, Guardiola received it spot on with the gamers he had at his disposal – however they might not discover the end their play deserved, so that they did not get the win I felt they deserved both.

Liverpool nearly snatched all three factors proper on the finish, however I felt they received away with it just a little bit even by getting a draw. All the pieces that would have gone their approach did.

They relied on moments of genius from two world-class gamers – Salah mixed with Mane to place them 1-0 up, earlier than scoring that completely phenomenal solo aim himself. They have been each targets out of nothing, targets out of desires.

Metropolis had the identical scenario within the Champions League on Tuesday once they completely battered Paris St-Germain. I do not know the way they did not rating in that sport, when a little bit of genius from Lionel Messi helped make the distinction.

This time it was Salah who had a 10-minute spell the place he was simply unplayable, however earlier than then Metropolis had dominated Liverpool, which was actually bizarre to see at Anfield.

I’m used to seeing Klopp’s facet on the entrance foot regardless of who’s on the town, however Metropolis discovered a approach within the first half to nullify that altogether.

It felt as if Liverpool have been making an attempt to play counter-attacking soccer as a substitute, however I’m certain they have been truly making an attempt to play their regular model – both approach, they could not get out. It was complete domination by Metropolis.

Why a draw wasn’t a good outcome

Liverpool have been suffocated and trapped and it felt as in the event that they have been sitting geese. They have been very lucky to get in at 0-0 at half-time and though they raised their ranges after the break, they nonetheless lacked perception till Salah stepped up.

That’s what Klopp hoped for – often he can be sitting there, watching his facet in charge of the sport, however this time he was simply counting on Salah or Mane doing one thing particular. He discovered a solution to get them within the sport, and that’s the place Liverpool improved.

I do know there might be an argument {that a} draw was a good outcome ultimately however I do not suppose it was – Liverpool ought to have had James Milner despatched off, which might have modified issues utterly.

Milner’s first foul on Foden was outdoors the field, however he did not try to play the ball so that ought to have been a purple card. Foden did not even get the free-kick although.

Then there was one other Milner problem on Foden the place he did get booked – in addition to the one shortly afterwards the place he blatantly took him out however didn’t get a second yellow card.

I can utterly perceive why Guardiola was going ballistic on the touchline – it wasn’t simply the large moments from their superstars that received Liverpool a outcome on Sunday, the large choices helped them too.

Metropolis will at all times be completely satisfied to choose up a degree at Anfield, but it surely ought to have been extra.

Jermaine Jenas was talking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

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