City and Liverpool shared the spoils after a 1-1 draw in a heavyweight Etihad encounter.

Erling Haaland opened the scoring on 27 minutes – becoming, in the process, the fastest player to notch 50 Premier League goals.

The striker smashed the milestone in just his 48th game – 17 less than former strike ace Andrew Cole – and also added Liverpool to the hitlist of teams he’s scored against, leaving Brentford the only side he hasn’t got the better of in the top-flight.

But with hopes high of a 24th successive, record-equalling home win for the Blues, Trent Alexander-Arnold earned a point for the Reds with a clinical, low finish with 10 minutes remaining.

WHAT HAPPENED

As you’d expect from a game between the top two in the Premier League, the start was cagey with neither side wanting to give an inch in this titanic tussle.

The first chance of note was actually from a mistake as the usually-reliable Alisson looked to play the ball out from the back on 11 minutes, only to find the advancing Phil Foden. Our in-form star took several steps forward before firing goalwards but the opposing No.1 regained his composure to deny the playmaker.

His Brazilian counterpart, Ederson, was called into action five minutes later as he showed his ability and agility to tip over a Darwin Nunez glancing header inside the box with Liverpool certainly not sitting back in a game of ebb and flow.

Alisson was relieved again on 19 minutes, as he lived life on the edge. Curtis Jones, boxed in by a hungry City attacking line, played the ball back to the 2019 and 22 Golden Glove winner with not much time for the stopper to ponder options.

He just managed to clear from his goalline with Haaland so close to getting a touch.

Our clinical striker didn’t have to wait that long for his goal – his 50th and the quickest to reach that milestone in the history of the Premier League. Alisson tried to play a quick ball through to Mohamed Salah but it instead fell to Ake who played a delicious throughball to Haaland who in turn fired home with his loyal left foot on 27 minutes.

There was concern in the City ranks on 35 minutes as Manuel Akanji’s stray pass found the onrushing Dominik Szoboszlai. The Hungarian midfielder played in Nunez only for the Reds striker to fire wide with Ederson guarding his goal resolutely.

Bernardo showed his wizardry on the edge of his own box when under intense pressure, beating two men before setting Jeremy Doku free down the centre. The Belgian winger, a hot property throughout a thoroughly cold afternoon, raced forward unchallenged before having a decision to make – play in Haaland centrally or Julian Alvarez motoring down the right. He chose the latter but Alvarez pulled his cross-cum-shot wide.

Foden thought he’d made it two just before half-time as he cleverly came inside from the right channel before scudding a low effort which Alisson did brilliantly to nudge away.

Liverpool came out after the break in positive mood but the first effort of the second half came City’s way as Doku flew forward down the left channel before clipping the ball into the path of Alvarez. The World Cup winner fired high over the bar as he met the precise, pinpoint pass.

Haaland skewed over a half-chance on the half volley as the ball ricocheted to him in the box on 55 minutes after a poor headed clearance by Alexander-Arnold.

Ruben Dias showed good intuition on the hour mark to nick away a dangerous Szoboszlai centre from the right, denying Nunez who was lurking behind him.

Rodrigo fired in a fierce effort on 65 minutes, which deflected off substitute Ryan Gravenberch and went marginally wide. There were penalty calls for a handball but the referee waved away appeals to the frustration of the City players.

Moments later, there was more displeasure for the home side. Dias, at the other end this time, calmly slotted home at the back post but, as he wheeled away to celebrate, the official ruled it out for an apparent Akanji foul on Alisson.

At the other end, Ederson did well to parry away Nunez’s shot on the turn as the Reds eyes an equaliser with 20 minutes remaining.

Alexander Arnold did bring Liverpool level on 80 minutes with a clinical finish that gave Ederson no chance.

Hopes were raised when eight minutes of stoppage time were held up but City couldn’t quite find the winning moment in front of 53,289 watching on at the Etihad.

TEAMS

CITY XI: Ederson, Walker (C), Akanji, Dias, Ake, Rodrigo, Bernardo, Foden, Doku, Alvarez, Haaland

Subs: Ortega Moreno, Carson, Phillips, Stones, Gomez, Gvardiol, Bobb, Lewis

LIVERPOOL XI: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Tsimikas, Szoboszlai (Gakpo 73’), Mac Allister (Endo 85’), Jones (Gravenberch 54’), Salah, Nunez (Elliott 85’), Jota (Diaz 54’).

Subs: Kelleher, Gomez, Konate, Quansah.

HAALAND SETS GOAL RECORD

Erling Haaland has scored 50 Premier League goals in record time.

His opener in the 1-1 draw with Liverpool ensured he hit the milestone in just 48 games.

He smashed the previous best of Andrew Cole who took 65 matches to reach the landmark – 17 more than our man Haaland.

50 PREMIER LEAGUE: TOP 10

Erling Haaland: 48 games
Andrew Cole: 65 games
Alan Shearer: 66 games
Ruud van Nistelrooy: 68 games
Fernando Torres: 72 games
Mohamed Salah: 72 games
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 79 games
Sergio Aguero: 81 games
Thierry Henry: 83 games
Kevin Phillips: 83 games

PLAYER OF THE MATCH

Jeremy Doku – Our wing wonder was a nuisance throughout the 90 minutes.

Doku assisted two goals in his last game for Belgium on international duty, a 5-0 Euro 2024 win over Azerbaijan.

And he took that fantastic form into this early Saturday afternoon clash with Liverpool, causing real problems for the Reds backline in the 1-1 draw.

The summer signing is still only 21 so it’s amazing to think he will just get better and better in the coming days, weeks, months and years ahead.

PEP GUARDIOLA REACTION

 “We are hungry and upset in the locker room, but it was an incredibly great game.

“Statistics or who deserved it more, it doesn’t count. I am going to drink my wine with one point.

“I am incredibly pleased about the performance we played because Liverpool are an incredible team.

“We conceded just two chances against that team - the header in the first half and goal.”

AKE REACTION

“I think everyone wanted more.

“We felt solid, we didn’t really create too many chances, but we controlled the game way more than we did against Chelsea, so I think we did well in that aspect.

“We know they like to play on the counter attack with the attackers they have but I think the whole team defended really well today.

“We tried to create some chances and just before their goal we created a good one but in the end we know they have the quality to score.

“So in the end it’s disappointing that one shot from distance goes in and we draw the game.”

WHAT IT MEANS

City are exactly where we like to be – top of the Premier League.

Our draw this afternoon with Liverpool means we lead the Reds by one point but Arsenal can hit the summit if they can see off Brentford at Gtech Community Stadium in the 17:30 (UK) fixture this evening.

Premier League
1 Liverpool FC Liverpool Liverpool 27 19 6 2 64 25 39 63 LWWWW
2 Manchester City Manchester City Man City 26 18 5 3 59 26 33 59 WWDWW
3 Arsenal Arsenal Arsenal 26 18 4 4 62 23 39 58 WWWWW
Last updated: 3 March 2024

WHAT’S NEXT

We switch competitions in our next game as we host RB Leipzig in the UEFA Champions League.

Pep Guardiola’s men take on The Red Bulls this coming Tuesday, with a 20:00 (UK) start at the Etihad.

City have qualified the Round of 16 with a game to spare after winning our first four matches in Group G.

RB Leipzig have also secured a place in the knockout stages and could still finish top of the group above us to claim the seeded place in the draw.

Next Fixture

All fixtures

Champions League

Man City
Manchester City

GMT

FC Copenhagen

So the boss will be eager for the right result this coming week.

In the Premier League, our next fixture see us host Tottenham next Sunday, 3 December, with a 16:30 (UK) kick-off against Ange Postecoglou’s high-flying Spurs.

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