aking to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon, Liverpool looked to continue their unbeaten run against the Premier League‘s top six and cement themselves as favourites for a top-four finish.
Having secured a gritty 2-1 win at home to Burnley last time out, and a 1-0 victory over City on New Year’s Eve, Jurgen Klopp‘s side will have been confident as they headed across the M62.
Klopp’s hands were tied when it came to selection however, with both Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge still sidelined through injury, with the German to making one change to his side from the previous weekend.
Nevertheless, facing off against a City side reeling from their midweek Champions League exit, this was a clash Liverpool needed to take all three points from, but the home side made it difficult.
City enjoyed the best of the game in the opening stages, with the pace of Raheem Sterling giving James Milner a tough time at left-back, as David Silva pulled the strings in his creative role.
Liverpool had their first real chance on 24 minutes, as Sadio Mane raced onto a loose ball, beating Nicolas Otamendi before being charged down by the Argentina international when through on goal.
Philippe Coutinho found himself worryingly out of form throughout the first half, and the 24-year-old squandered a great opportunity for the Reds after the half-hour mark, bending his effort high over the crossbar.
With the away side growing into the game, Joel Matip was given a promising opening following a Milner free-kick, but he was unable to head his effort on target at the far post.
The Reds were then majorly let off as Sterling missed a perfect cross-goal pass, with Fernandinho turning his effort wide of the post from five yards out, with Liverpool saved by Michael Oliver’s half-time whistle.
Coming out for the second half the more enthusiastic outfit, Liverpool began strongly, and with Firmino fouled in the box by a lunging Gael Clichy, Milner was given a chance from the penalty spot.
The vice-captain duly stepped up and slammed it home into the bottom corner, giving the Reds the perfect start after the interval.
While Liverpool looked to take control with a more stable, defensive approach, it wasn’t to be so simple for Klopp’s travelling side, with Kevin de Bruyne laying the ball through for Sergio Aguero to equalise with 20 minutes left to play.
City could have had a second shortly after, and it was Aguero who again proved the inspiration, driving through the Reds’ defence before stumbling outside the six-yard box.
Liverpool had an even better chance as the clock ticked on, with Georginio Wijnaldum‘s excellent lifted pass allowing Firmino to square for Adam Lallana, who missed an open goal from point-blank range.
This set the tone for the closing stages, with two fatigued sides failing to trouble their opposing goalkeepers as Oliver saw out a stalemate.