Manchester City and Liverpool played out an enthralling 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, with Kevin De Bruyne impressing on the pitch.

It took Manchester City just five minutes to establish their superiority over Liverpool as Kevin De Bruyne’s effort from distance took a deflection off of Joel Matip and made its way into the back of the net after striking the inside of the post. But Liverpool, despite not seeing much of the ball, struck back soon after, as Diogo Jota turned the ball home from a Trent Alexander-Arnold cutback to restore parity.

Manchester City, though, kept up the pressure on their visitors and created multiple half-chances before eventually reclaiming their lead. Joao Cancelo produced a brilliant cross for Gabriel Jesus, who made a smart run at the back post to tap the ball into the roof of the net to make it 2-1. Pep Guardiola’s men had the ball in the net again in the first half but the referee had blown the whistle for a foul in the buildup.

Liverpool came out looking much better in the second period and were able to get back on level terms just moments after the restart as Sadio Mane latched onto a brilliant Mohamed Salah pass to execute a fine first-time finish and make it 2-2. Both teams pressed for the winning goal from then on with Jota forcing a save while Jesus drew a block from Virgil van Dijk at the other end.

Raheem Sterling seemed to have scored against his former team but the VAR chalked off the goal for the narrowest of offside calls. Salah then produced a lovely shot that was deflected off target by Aymeric Laporte. But the best chance to win it fell to City late in the game when Riyad Mahrez was played in by De Bruyne, but the Algerian miscued his chipped effort entirely as the game ended on level terms.

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The result leaves Manchester City at the top of the standings with a one-point lead over Liverpool, who remain second. With seven games left to be played, the title race will seemingly go down to the wire. Here are our player ratings for both sets of players after a brilliant and thrilling encounter that lived up to its expectations.

Manchester City Player Ratings

Ederson Moraes: 5/10

The Brazilian should have done better to stop Jota’s equaliser early in the game. He then produced serious jitters among the City fans when being a bit too casual with the ball close to the goalline with Jota lurking. He was left exposed for the second goal, although could have done slightly better.

Kyle Walker: 6/10

The former Tottenham man’s recovery pace was on full display in the first half as he made several important interventions to thwart Liverpool, while he offered a good attacking outlet as well. However, Walker lost Mane for the Reds’ second goal and was caught out again not long after, which presented Jota with a chance.

John Stones: 7/10

Continuing in the backline in Ruben Dias’ absence, Stones did not put a foot wrong on Sunday as he kept the Liverpool forwards in check for the most part. He also constantly pushed forward into the midfield and helped start attacks with his passes.

Aymeric Laporte: 7/10

A rock-solid display from the Spaniard, whose standout moment came in the first half when he executed a brilliant tackle to thwart Jota. He continued to defend well against Salah and Alexander-Arnold on his side and produced a crucial block to direct the former’s goal-bound effort away late in the second half.

Joao Cancelo: 7/10

Cancelo was full of life on the left flank getting forward with usual intent and causing Liverpool problems. He came close to scoring with a shot, created a chance for De Bruyne and then got the assist for Jesus’ goal with a sublime cross. The Portuguese was much tighter in defence than he was in the reverse fixture.

Bernardo Silva: 7/10

Manchester City’s midfield maestro hounded Liverpool relentlessly off the ball and was a willing runner, tracking back with energy when not in possession and pushing forward with intensity when on the ball. His hard work was key to the Cityzens’ domination and he also got the assist for De Bruyne’s goal.

Rodri: 7/10

The Spaniard went about his job as usual as he helped assert City’s control in the first half against an energetic Liverpool midfield. He should have directed his header better to set Stones up for a chance in the first period. Things got much more intense for Rodri after the break as the Reds upped their game, but he held his ground.

Kevin De Bruyne: 8/10

Manchester City’s creator-in-chief showed why he is considered one of the best in the game with a fine attacking display from midfield. He got the ball rolling with the opening goal, albeit via a deflection, and kept piercing through Liverpool with stunning passes. He created the chance for Sterling’s ruled-out strike and played Mahrez in late in the game with a sublime pass, but the Algerian botched his effort.

Gabriel Jesus: 7/10

A surprise selection considering that Jesus has rarely started a Premier League game recently. But it worked wonders as the Brazilian pressed hard from the front and his movement gave Liverpool headaches. Brilliantly timed run to get on the end of Cancelo’s cross and make it 2-1. He then had a shot blocked by van Dijk in the second game. Jesus should have opted to find a teammate but went for the goal and hit the side netting at 2-2.

Phil Foden: 7/10

Not as impactful as he was in the reverse fixture, but Foden still produced some quality moments with the ball at his feet, especially in the first half while his smart movement created space for others to cause problems for Liverpool. Had the ball in the back of the net late in the first half, but the referee had already blown the whistle for a foul. Influence waned after the break.

Raheem Sterling: 6/10

Up against his former team, Sterling was sharp in his movement but lacked that final touch on the evening. He should have score in a 1v1 situation early in the game and then failed to connect with a sharp cutback from a teammate in the first half. When he did find the net in the second period, he was pulled back for offside by the VAR.

SUBSTITUTES

Riyad Mahrez: 5/10

The Algerian came on for Sterling with 15 minutes. He came close to scoring with a free-kick before spurning an excellent chance to win it for his team late on.

Jack Grealish: N/A

Sent on for Jesus with less than ten minutes left.

Liverpool Player Ratings

Alisson Becker: 6/10

The Liverpool shot-stopper produced a fine save early on to deny Sterling only to see De Bruyne score 39 seconds later via a massive deflection. Not a lot he could have done about Jesus’ goal, although his distribution, at times, put his teammates under pressure.

Trent Alexander-Arnold: 6/10

Alexander-Arnold got forward well as usual and produced a fine cutback to set Jota up for the equalising goal. However, he had a tough time defensively against Cancelo and Foden and was guilty of switching off for Manchester City’s second goal.

Joel Matip: 6.5/10

Unfortunate for the opening goal as he got in the way of De Bruyne’s shot and deflected it beyond Alisson’s reach. He looked nervy in the first half at times, especially with the ball at his feet, but grew much more composed after the break and made some important interventions.

Virgil van Dijk: 6.5/10

Like Matip, van Dijk did not make the best of starts to the game and had a few nervy moments in the opening period. But eventually, he grew into the contest and stood tall in the way of the City forwards. The Dutchman produced a key block to deny Jesus a goal close to the hour mark.

Andrew Robertson: 6/10

The Scotsman had a hand in the move leading to Jota’s equaliser. Robertson was booked soon after for a foul on De Bruyne which meant he was walking the disciplinary tightrope for the rest of the game. He was kept occupied by Jesus which meant that his attacking contributions were limited.

Fabinho: 5/10

The Brazilian enforcer had an off day against Manchester City as he looked a touch off the pace, with the home team bypassing him time and again with ease. De Bruyne ran past him comfortably for the opening goal. While he did show some improvement after the break, it was not good enough from the Brazilian, who was lucky to avoid a late red card for a poor foul on Bernardo Silva.

Jordan Henderson: 5/10

Reinstated to the lineup in place of Naby Keita, the Liverpool skipper was largely anonymous in the first half as he could not cope with the quality of the City midfield. He grew into the game with time and tried to play some forward passes to create chances but things did not click. Subbed off in the second half.

Thiago Alcantara: 6/10

Thiago produced a wonderful cross-field pass to Alexander-Arnold in the move leading up to Jota’s goal. He was easily Liverpool’s most progressive passer in the first half and tried to create openings but without much luck. Faded as the game wore on.

Mohamed Salah: 6.5/10

The Player to Watch in our match preview, Salah endured a quiet first period and spent a lot of his time tracking back. However, he burst into life early in the second period, playing a brilliant through ball to assist Mane for Liverpool’s second. He had a few more dangerous moments from thereon, as he created a chance for Jota and saw an effort getting deflected wide.

Diogo Jota: 6.5/10

Given the nod ahead of Roberto Firmino and Luis Diaz, Jota repaid the manager’s faith with a very well-taken goal to reinstate parity in the first half. However, he failed to have a sustained impact on the game after that point. He did press well from the front, but some of his decision-making was off, and he was unable to hold onto the ball effectively as well.

Sadio Mane: 7/10

Celebrating his 30th birthday, Mane had a quiet start to the game like his fellow forwards as City controlled the possession. But when he was presented with his first notable chance early in the second half, he made no mistake, bundling the ball past Ederson with a fine first-time finish. Mane worked hard off the ball, tracked back and looked like a bigger threat after his goal in the second period.

SUBSTITUTES

Luis Diaz: 6/10

Replaced Jota in the 70th minute. Caused a few problems but could not make an impact.

Naby Keita: N/A

On for Henderson with less than 15 minutes left.

Roberto Firmino: N/A

Came on in place of Mane with a little over five minutes left.

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