Liverpool had Riyad Mahrez to thank as they held Manchester City to a 0-0 draw, although their winless run has now extended to four games.
Billed as the single most important game of the season so far, expectations were high as Liverpool and Manchester City met in the top-of-the-table clash. But, the final product didn’t quite deliver on Sunday evening, as the evenly contested affair had a huge shortage of clear-cut chances, in heavy contrast to the four fixtures between these two sides last season.
In fact, the first shot on target by either side came after the hour mark, with both goalkeepers not having much to do. Manchester City though, might feel a little hard done by for not being awarded a penalty when Dejan Lovren seemingly brought Sergio Aguero down in the Liverpool box.
The reigning Premier League champions did get one penalty, however, with Virgil van Dijk fouling Leroy Sane. But, the resulting spot kick was a horrible effort from Riyad Mahrez, who fired the ball miles clear of the crossbar and into the crowd.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) October 7, 2018
In the end, the two title contenders played out a dull goalless stalemate, which now means Liverpool and Manchester City are now level on points atop the Premier League table with Chelsea, who grabbed all three points earlier in the day. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Alisson Becker: 7/10
A quiet evening for the Liverpool no. 1. Much like his compatriot and opposite number in the Manchester City goal, the Brazilian was a spectator, with the save from Riyad Mahrez in the second half being his only major contribution on Sunday. Got a free pass during the penalty and was assured as ever while distributing the ball.
Joe Gomez: 7/10
Deployed in the right-back slot for the first time this season, Gomez produced a largely accomplished performance, barring one howler in the first half that could have proven to be costly.
Otherwise, the young Englishman got the better of Raheem Sterling in one of the key battles of the evening while also posing sporadic threat in the final third. As always, a handy option for Klopp.
Dejan Lovren: 8/10
Dejan Lovren vs Man City
2/3 aerial duels
5/7 tackles – most on the pitch
Solid. 👊🏻 pic.twitter.com/S1D13uduPH
— LFC Stats (@LFCData) October 7, 2018
The surprise selection of the evening by far, a few eyebrows were raised when Dejan Lovren was named ahead of Trent Alexander-Arnold in the starting lineup. The Croat almost proved his naysayers right in the first half as he felled Sergio Aguero following the aforementioned botched clearance by Gomez, only to be let off by referee Martin Atkinson.
Apart from that one moment, however, Lovren was colossal at the back, not letting anything past him. A crucial tackle just outside the box in the second half ensured Liverpool kept the scores level before holding Manchester City to the draw. Provides food for thought to Klopp, who has a solid defence at his disposal.
Virgil van Dijk: 6.5/10
As has become the norm since his arrival at Liverpool earlier this year, van Dijk was a strong, vocal leader at the back organising the defensive line with elan, as a combined disciplined shift frustrated the visitors.
There was no way past him in the air either, but there will be one blot on his book as the Dutch defender conceded a late penalty that could have proven to be costly. Fortunately for van Dijk, Mahrez missed as Liverpool kept a ninth successive clean sheet at home in the Premier League.
Andrew Robertson: 7/10
Liverpool’s Mr. Consistent produced a typically assured performance on Sunday. Solid at the back, Riyad Mahrez could not manage to get the better of the Scotsman for the most part. The sketchy nature of the game meant Robertson could not advance forward as much as he usually does, but he did produce a moment of brilliance as he sent Mohamed Salah through in the second half.
Jordan Henderson: 8/10
The Liverpool captain was in his elements on Sunday, playing a huge role in ensuring his side kept a clean sheet. A bundle of energy, Henderson was lively to the threat posed by the opposition midfielders, and particularly by David Silva, who was ineffective due to the Englishman’s dogged performance.
Henderson also looked to recycle the ball quickly, with only a few of his passes going astray. All in all, this was a solid performance by the skipper, who has been superb so far this season.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 7/10
Determined and indefatigable as ever, Wijnaldum excelled in the role of a box-to-box midfielder, once again showcasing his versatility for the umpteenth time this season. The Dutchman pressed aggressively to shut down the opposition midfielders quickly while linking up well with those ahead of him. A true asset for Klopp and Liverpool.
James Milner: 6/10
A game to forget for Milner. The former Manchester City midfielder was dominant in the early exchanges, moving the ball forward smartly. But, his outing was cut short by a hamstring injury that provides a cause of concern to Klopp.
Mohamed Salah: 6/10
Mo Salah’s game by numbers vs. Manchester City:
68% passes completed
1/3 shots on target
0 take ons
0 crosses completed
0 chances created
Another frustrating day. 😤😤😤 pic.twitter.com/nQ06fHdMaU
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) October 7, 2018
Liverpool’s talisman hasn’t been able to regain his best form so far this season, and Sunday was more of the same. While Salah was by far the most lively and involved of the attacking trio, his lack of sharpness was starkly visible once again.
Had one of the biggest chances of the night, only to send the ball sailing over the bar. The Salah slump just doesn’t seem to be ending, and the time to be perturbed by it is surely nearing.
Roberto Firmino: 5/10
A poor day in the office for Firmino. The Brazilian cannot be faulted for lack of effort on Sunday evening, but whatever he tried never seemed to come off. Was much less involved than usual as well, despite dropping deep to link up and stretch the Manchester City defence. Could be chalked off as a rare failure.
Sadio Mane: 5/10
After a blistering start to the season, Mane seems to have tailed off completely. The Senegalese often indulged in a foot race with Kyle Walker in another major battle of the evening. But, the Englishman got the better of the said battle more often than not. Seems a bit too flat at the moment, which does not bode well for Klopp & co.
Naby Keita: 6/10
An early introduction, forced by Milner’s injury. Keita though, was evidently lacking sharpness after not training much following the midweek loss to Napoli. Sloppy in possession at times, Klopp will need more from the Guinean if Milner is sidelined for a few weeks.
Daniel Sturridge: 5/10
On for the non-performing Firmino, Sturridge did not improve things much upon being subbed in. While he did get stuck in, he came on at a time when Manchester City were in the ascendancy, and a weak header was his only notable moment on the day.