Match report: Liverpool 2-2 Manchester City
Liverpool and Manchester City claimed a point apiece as Sunday's absorbing Premier League showdown at Anfield ended 2-2.
Having weathered an opening 45 minutes largely dictated by City, a moment of attacking brilliance received a finishing touch from Sadio Mane just shy of the hour mark to put the Reds in front.
Phil Foden levelled with a clinical rasp home at the Kop end, only for Mohamed Salah’s sensational solo dribble and finish to quickly restore the hosts’ advantage.
The Egyptian’s individual magic did not secure the winning goal status it deserved, though, as Kevin De Bruyne’s deflected effort forced a share of the points.
LFC 2-2 Man City: Extended highlights
Jürgen Klopp named an unchanged line-up for Liverpool’s return to Premier League duty, with James Milner deployed at right-back against his former club.
Divock Origi missed out due to illness.
Before the action began, Anfield paid a special tribute to Roger Hunt, the Reds’ second-highest scorer in history and a 1966 World Cup winner, following his passing this week.
A period of applause took place in his memory as supporters on the Kop formed a mosaic that acknowledged his status as ‘Sir Roger’.
Befitting the significance of the fixture, there was a frantic tempo to the early proceedings as both sides sought to harass each other into errors with an intense high press.
Neither was able to find a clear route to goal, though, until City threaded through to draw an important save from Alisson Becker in the 21st minute.
Bernardo Silva’s persistence allowed him to hold possession in the middle of the park and then skate into space as he approached the Reds box, before lifting a pass over to Foden.
Alisson bounded off his goalline to block Foden’s attempt from close range, which was followed by De Bruyne sweeping a shot harmlessly across the Liverpool goalkeeper.
Foden saw appeals for a penalty, under a recovery challenge from Milner at the edge of the area, waved away and De Bruyne sent a header into the Anfield Road end from Foden’s chip to the back post.
The visitors were making the vast majority of the running and the Reds again needed Alisson’s reactions off his line to hook the ball away when Foden broke in behind.
Liverpool’s first shot in anger arrived five minutes after the restart as Joel Matip guided a precise pass into Diogo Jota, back to goal, 20 yards out.
The No.20’s instant spin past his marker opened up space for him to fire a strike off his left foot that was central enough for Ederson to push away.
Anfield did not have to wait much longer for a reason to celebrate, though.
Salah was the breakthrough’s chief and genius architect, collecting Fabinho’s pass out wide around the halfway line and embarking on a skilful, speedy dribble into the middle before reversing an assist into Mane’s supporting burst forward.
The Senegalese picked his spot and executed his finish with aplomb, tucking beyond Ederson to send the volume soaring inside the stadium.
Pep Guardiola responded to the concession by introducing Raheem Sterling, while Klopp sent on Roberto Firmino for Jota as the final quarter neared.
City struck back on 69 minutes, Gabriel Jesus the creator with a dart infield from the right and knock into the waiting Foden, who capitalised on a pocket of space to drill low across Alisson into the opposite corner.
Momentum seemed set to swing in the reigning champions’ favour – until an exhibition of virtuosic brilliance by Salah powered Liverpool back into the lead.
The danger appeared minimal when the forward received Curtis Jones’ pass in the right channel, but Salah sumptuously dribbled past three City defenders and, as the shooting angle narrowed, whacked a right-footer into the far side of the net.
It was a goal worthy of deciding any contest – but back came Guardiola’s men and when Foden’s cutback was touched on by Kyle Walker, a hit from De Bruyne clipped Matip and sailed in for 2-2.
The home team could still have grabbed victory as a Salah delivery was missed by Ederson and reached Fabinho yards out. Somehow, Rodrigo slid in to block and ensure a draw at the end of a thrilling half.