Man City 1-1 Liverpool – what we learned
Frank Monkhouse | 21 March 2017
Will either side catch Spurs for second?
Man City manager Pep Guardiola labelled his side’s Sunday draw with Liverpool at the Etihad as one of his most special days in football. With a CV like his, that’s certainly a bold statement.
Followers of the beautiful game saw the sport at its best in Manchester, with two of the division’s biggest names putting their reputations on the line in search of three vital points, in their bid to finish as the best of the rest behind Chelsea. A 1-1 draw was the result, with James Milner opening the scoring from the penalty spot on 51-minutes, before a return from Sergio Aguero evened things up shortly after. There were chances at both ends to win the match, including a fantastic opportunity for Aguero to get another, smashing a volley over the bar when scoring looked the easier option.
So, what did punters learn from the match, and what can we take from the result in terms of how the sides will finish in the table? Both look nailed on for a top-four and Champions League football next season, with Coral traders giving no more than 1/6 on City and 4/11 Liverpool. The latter may be an option for big-hitters, as The Reds enjoy a four-point cushion over Manchester United in fifth. Let’s pick through the three main pointers…..
Back Liverpool against the bigger sides
The major lesson taken from Sunday was that Liverpool up their game when faced with the better teams in the division. We have saw it plenty of times this season, and witnessed it again at the weekend. A flick through their last 10 league results shows defeat to Swansea, Hull and Leicester, all teams in and around the relegation zone, while they have beaten Tottenham and Arsenal in the same period, drawing with both halves of the Manchester divide, as well as leaders Chelsea. Back them against the top-10, oppose them against the bottom-10. You’ll not go far wrong.
David Silva contender for player of the year
Manchester City’s David Silva has rarely been seen in better form for The Citizens. The 31-year-old Spaniard has been a model of consistency in the middle of the park for his employers for much of this season, and seems to be getting better with every game at the minute. He is surely on-course for player of the year at the Etihad, and Sunday’s performance was another shining example of just what he brings to the table. Standout in a class group, he worked tirelessly in midfield, pitching in at both ends, covering more distance than any other in sky blue. Set up countless dangerous attacks, and broke down Liverpool’s advances before they developed.
Liverpool need another striker
We have said it before, but The Reds can’t rely on Sadio Mane for an entire season. He had a major shout for a penalty denied, and has shown his class in the final third plenty this term, never more so than when getting two against Spurs last month, but with a bit of help, and a bit more quality up top, Liverpool would’ve run away with this match. Mane is the club’s leading scorer on a dozen goals, but where’s the support? Roberto Firmino is next on nine goals, behind Joshua King of Bournemouth, and then there’s Adam Lallana on seven, level with Robert Snodgrass of West Ham. Liverpool create plenty, but they need more threat in the danger areas. I don’t think they’ve had a genuine finisher since Torres.