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Etihad draw keeps everyone guessing in the Premier League

Man City and Liverpool produced a thrilling 2-2 draw at the Etihad, meaning the title race is still in City's favour with seven games remaining.

Original article published 30 August 2022

Kevin De Bruyne gave City the lead, though Diogo Jota's goal quickly saw Liverpool fire back.

Gabriel Jesus and Sadio Mane added to the scorers nds City remain a point clear and are still the favourites to retain the title at 2/5, with the Reds priced at 2/1.

First-half a breathtaking affair

The match got off to an explosive start when De Bruyne's deflected strike sailed past a helpless Alisson following a quickly taken free-kick after just five minutes.

Liverpool stepped up seven minutes later as Trent Alexander-Arnolds's far post pull back found Jota, who was able to apply the finish from close range.

The first-half was a pulsating affair and the third goal was scored on 36 minutes when Jesus - a surprise inclusion in Pep Guardiola's starting line up - snuck in at the back post following a cross from Joao Cancelo, with the Brazilian's effort clipping in off the crossbar.

City were the better team and could have been further clear, most notably when Jesus and Kyle Walker got in each other's way when the ball dropped to them in the box, while De Bruyne sent another effort wide.

More sedate after the break

Liverpool needed to respond and did so inside the first minute of the second half when Mohamed Salah's precise through ball found Mane, who finished confidently past Ederson.

The second half was a less eye-catching affair, though City thought they had a third goal when Raheem Sterling slid home but VAR determined he was offside in the build up and it was chalked off.

Chances were few and far between in the latter stages but the hosts did have a glorious opportunity deep into added time when substitute Riyad Mahrez attempted to chip the onrushing Alisson, only to fire over.

Ultimately, City may have been disappointed to only come away with a point but Pep Guardiola's side can take comfort from the fact that everything is still in their hands.

City with easier run-in

On paper, City's run-in looks to be simpler than Liverpool's, meaning the point could be more gratefully received.
They face relegation-threatened Watford and Newcastle at home, while Brighton and Aston Villa - two largely out-of-form sides who are likely to have nothing to play for - are also preparing to visit the Etihad.

Away from home, City will travel to Leeds, a team they thumped 7-0 earlier in the season, with visits to Wolves and West Ham looking like their toughest remaining Premier League fixtures.

In the Champions League, they will face a tough assignment away at Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid in the second leg of the quarter-finals, despite being 1-0 from last week, De Bruyne also netted there. The winner will face either Chelsea or Real Madrid in the semi-finals.

Liverpool look to have the tougher fixtures, though it is unlikely they will panic with Jurgen Klopp at the helm.

Their next two Premier League games stand out - Manchester United and Everton visit Anfield in the space of five days at the end of April.

Tottenham and Wolves are also due to head to Merseyside in the run-in, while the Reds travel to Newcastle, Aston Villa, and Southampton.

Their Champions League second leg should be more straightforward as they bring back a 3-1 lead against Benfica from the continent and they will face either Villarreal or Bayern Munich.

Part three next week

Those who enjoyed Sunday's game so much will be delighted to hear there are only six more days until the rivalry is played out again as the pair meet at Wembley for the FA Cup semi-final.

Even though it won't directly affect the Premier League table, the result could have a huge psychological bearing on the rest of the season.

Two league games have not separated the pair of title protagonists this season and a winner has to come out of next week's clash for the right to face either Chelsea or Crystal Palace in the final.

City are 4/6 to advance through to May's final, while Liverpool can be backed at 11/10.

There is an extra layer to the drama as well with Liverpool - assuming they get past Benfica - still on for the quadruple, something which has never previously been achieved.

If they scrape past City, they will almost feel a sense of invincibility, given how incredible their form has been in 2022.

This result ended a run of 10 straight wins in the top flight while City's form in that period has not been as good, picking up only 18 points.

For now, it is as you were in this titanic title race, reminiscent of three seasons ago when City pipped Liverpool by a solitary point.

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