MX23RW : Friday, February 15 19:54:56

Live Commentary: Liverpool 0-0 Manchester City - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's live text coverage of Liverpool's goalless draw with Manchester City, as Riyad Mahrez missed a late pen to snatch all three points.
Live Commentary: Liverpool 0-0 Manchester City - as it happened
© Reuters

Riyad Mahrez missed a late penalty as Liverpool held on for a goalless draw in their top-of-the-table showdown with Manchester City.

The Algerian international skied the ball over the bar from 12 yards after Virgil van Dijk brought down Leroy Sane in the box.

Chances were otherwise few and far between, with Alisson Becker just about the busier of the two goalkeepers across the 90 minutes.

Relive how the 90 minutes of action unfolded with Sports Mole's live text coverage below.

3.30pmHello and welcome to Sports Mole's live text coverage of the Premier League meeting between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield. The Reds have gone three games without a win in all competitions, but they head into this huge match sitting level on points with their opponents at the top of the division, setting up what should be an intriguing battle on Merseyside.

3.32pmThere is real hope around these parts that Liverpool can sustain their title challenge this time around following a few near misses since their last triumph in the early 1990s, but they are in direct competition with arguably the Premier League's greatest ever side in Man City. The Citizens finished 19 points clear of closest challengers Manchester United in 2017-18 and are already top of the pile after seven matches this time around.


STARTING XI: Alisson; Gomez, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Milner, Henderson; Mane, Salah, Firmino

SUBS: Mignolet, Fabinho, Keita, Sturridge, Shaqiri, Matip, Alexander-Arnold

3.36pmStarting with a look at the home team, there is some big news as Jurgen Klopp - as predicted by some in the days leading up to this match - has dropped Trent Alexander-Arnold. The English youngster was one of the shining lights for the Reds when forcing his way into the team last term, but he has not always looked at his defensive best this season and was badly exposed in the 1-0 loss at Napoli in midweek. Joe Gomez therefore moves across to full-back, with Dejan Lovren brought into the middle.

3.38pmIt is a first league start of the season for Lovren, who is partnered with Virgil van Dijk in the heart of the back four. Andrew Robertson remains at left-back, meanwhile, and there was never any risk of Alisson Becker being left out for this huge clash. The only other change comes in central midfield as skipper Jordan Henderson is reinstated in place of Naby Keita. Keita spent Wednesday night in a Naples hospital suffering from a back spasm, but he is included among the subs here.

3.40pmA change in defence and midfield, then, but the front three remains the same - as it always does these days. There had been a few calls for rotation, as Mohamed Salah has simply not matches his performances from last season so far, but Klopp has opted to leave Daniel Sturridge and Xherdan Shaqiri on the bench. Salah has scored on 14 of his last 16 starts at Anfield, however, and he also has three goals and two assists in his three appearances against Man City.


STARTING XI: Ederson; Walker, Stones, Laporte, Mendy; Fernandinho, Silva, Bernardo; Mahrez, Aguero, Sterling

SUBS: Muric, Danilo, Kompany, Sane, Otamendi, Jesus, Foden

3.44pmThere is also some big team news as far as Man City are concerned, as Benjamin Mendy has been passed fit to start. The French full-back started the season on fire, claiming four assists in four games, and just four days after returning to training following a three-week layoff he is back involved. That is a major boost for the visitors, giving them a different dimension, although he could still be considered a weak link down that left flank due to his lack of fitness.

3.46pmFabian Delph misses out on the squad through injury, so Guardiola's other option was to either use Aleksandr Zinchenko or Aymeric Laporte at full-back. As it is, the big-money defender is used in the heart of the back four alongside John Stones, while Kyle Walker continues out on the right. The Citizens' other change comes in the forward line, as Riyad Mahrez is surprisingly preferred to a back-in-form Leroy Sane.

3.48pmPlenty of focus will be on Raheem Sterling this afternoon on his return to former club Liverpool. The English attacker has to be considered among the best players in the Premier League on the basis of the last 15 months or so, having scored or assisted a combined 35 league goals since the start of 2017-18. Only Harry Kane (36) and Salah (46) have been involved in more during that time. Sergio Aguero, meanwhile, has no goal in nine attempts at this ground.

3.50pmLiverpool make two changes from their 1-0 defeat to Napoli in midweek, bringing in Dejan Lovren for Trent Alexander-Arnold in a defensive reshuffle and Jordan Henderson for Naby Keita in central midfield. Manchester City show four changes in all from their 2-1 win in Hoffenheim a few days back, meanwhile, as John Stones, Benjamin Mendy, Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez come in for Vincent Kompany, Nicolas Otamendi, Ilkay Gundogan and Leroy Sane.

Benjamin Mendy in action for Manchester City on September 1, 2018© Reuters

3.52pmPREVIOUS MEETINGS! Liverpool are unbeaten in 17 home games with Manchester City in all competitions, winning 12 of those and drawing the other five since a 2-1 Premier League loss here in May 2003. The Citizens have already lost three times to the Reds in 2018 and are at risk of losing four times to a single opponent for just the third time in their history. The other two occasions being against Grimsby Town in 1936 and Tottenham Hotspur in 1993.

3.54pmLast season's Premier League fixtures between these two sides produced 12 goals in total, as Liverpool followed up their 5-0 early-season loss at the Etihad Stadium with a dramatic 4-3 triumph here in January, including a first defeat of the campaign on their opponents. The Champions League quarter-final tussle was not too bad, either, with the Citizens also coming out second best on that occasion.

3.56pmIt is worth noting that, although this has been billed as a clash between the top two, Man City are likely to start the match in second and Liverpool in third. That is because Chelsea are already in action this afternoon, boasting a two-goal lead at Southampton through goals from Eden Hazard and Ross Barkley. Still, victory for one of City or Liverpool will take them back top; a draw and three sides will be locked on 20 points - a proper title race!

3.58pmLiverpool made a perfect start to their campaign by winning seven in a row in all competitions, including six in the Premier League. Not since 1990 had they started a season so well, in fact, only adding to supporters' hopes that this would finally be their year. The Reds carried the feel-good factor from 2017-18 into this season, aided by some financial backing for Klopp to bring in the likes of Alisson, Shaqiri and Fabinho.

4.00pmSince kicking off their season with seven wins in a row for the first time in 28 years, culminating in a rounded 3-0 win over Southampton here when netting all three goals in the first half, the Reds have since lost two and drawn one. Klopp's men went down 2-1 to Liverpool in the fourth round of the EFL Cup, having led in that game until fairly late on, before playing out a 1-1 draw with the same opponents in the Premier League last weekend.

4.02pmThat point at Stamford Bridge will be looked back on favourably, however, as Chelsea have themselves started the season on fire and had a one-goal lead with seconds of normal time remaining. The point ensures that Liverpool are still very much in the title hunt with nearly a quarter of the campaign played, and it also has to be remembered that they have already travelled to Stamford Bridge and Wembley.

4.04pmIf the EFL Cup loss to Chelsea can be forgotten about, and the draw at Stamford Bridge a few days later looked back on with a positive light, the same cannot be said about the 1-0 defeat to Napoli. The Reds produced a toothless display that saw them end the match without getting a single shot on target, and there could be no complaints about Lorenzo Insigne's late winner at the Stadio San Paolo - a result that leaves them with work to do in Europe.

4.06pmAll of a sudden it is not seven wins in a row but no wins in three, then, and Klopp has had to bat away questions regarding his misfiring forwards. Plenty of focus has been on Salah, understandably considering the season he had in his maiden campaign at Anfield, but Firmino is also not quite at the same level as before and Mane has been accused of being too greedy. Between them, the front three have a combined 10 goals in 30 appearances in 2018-19.

4.08pmThe lack of changes made by Klopp in midweek was also a surprise considering the number of options available to him. Keita for Henderson was the only change, meaning that the core members of the squad are already at risk of being overused. Could Shaqiri or Sturridge have started in Naples on Wednesday? That is a question that is best left for Klopp to answer, and the best way to respond is by seeing his side pick up all three points today.

4.10pmAnd yet this all points a rather negative light as far as Liverpool are concerned. OK, they have failed to win any of their three matches, but all three of those outings have been tough assignments on paper, while the 1-1 draw at Chelsea is a result many would have taken before a ball was kicked. Nineteen points from 21 marks their best start in a quarter-of-a-century, and should they win today they will move back to the top of the Premier League.

Liverpool winger Sadio Mane is chased by Napoli's Jose Callejon during their Champions League clash on October 3, 2018© Reuters

4.12pmDID YOU KNOW? Liverpool have seen off West Ham United, Brighton & Hove Albion and Southampton here already this season, scoring eight and conceding none, to make it 24 matches without defeat at home in the Premier League. That is the best current streak of any side in the division, with their most recent defeat in the league at Anfield coming against Crystal Palace in April 2017.

4.14pmLiverpool have not lost in 13 matches against the established top six at Anfield since a 1-0 loss to Manchester United in January 2016. The Reds have also been ruthless against the division's lesser sides, too, which has not always been the case, and they could equal a club record of nine home clean sheets in a row on home soil should they shut out Man City. It has been 751 minutes since they last conceded in a 4-1 win against West Ham United.

4.16pmRESULT! The full-time whistle has sounded at St Mary's Stadium, where Chelsea have defeated Southampton 3-0. Eden Hazard, Ross Barkley and Alvaro Morata netted either side of half time in that one to lift the Blues to the top of the table. Not quite a top-two showdown at Anfield now, then, but the reward for the winner remains the same. Equally, if the match ends in a draw then we will have a three-way shootout at the summit ahead of the two-week break.

4.18pmMan City are the side that have been lodged off top spot by Chelsea, having taken just seven matches to climb to the top. The Citizens set all sorts of records en route to the title last time out and are matching themselves stride for stride this time around, though as Pep Guardiola has himself confessed, simply winning the title by a point would be a great achievement this season. The Champions League also takes on added incentive in 2018-19.

4.20pmWolverhampton Wanderers are the only side to have taken points off Man City this term with a 1-1 draw at the end of August. The Citizens have won their other six matches either side of that Molineux draw, scoring 20 goals and conceding just twice. A 3-0 win over Fulham last month led to some criticism from Guardiola, who felt that his players were a little too profligate despite the nature of their win, and a 2-1 home loss to Lyon in the Champions League a few days later would not have helped his mood.

4.22pmGuardiola will have been delighted by his side's response since that little blip, if you can call it that, as City have put five past Cardiff City and a couple more past Brighton & Hove Albion - both without response - while also brushing aside Oxford United in the EFL Cup fourth round and overcoming Hoffenheim to get their Champions League campaign up and running. A positive couple of weeks for the Citizens on the whole, then, and now they have a chance to end this segment of the season at the top of the Premier League.

4.24pmCity's only loss in their last 25 away games actually came at Anfield in that 4-3 reverse here in January, winning an incredible 20 and drawing four either side. The Citizens also have an unrivalled 27 points from a possible 33 against the established top six since the start of last season, compared to 14 from 36 for opponents Liverpool. Furthermore, Guardiola's men have a league high 11 first-half goals this term, which is one more than Liverpool.

4.26pmA word of warning for City supporters, though - Guardiola has lost seven matches against Klopp-managed sides down the years - more than against any other manager - and he is at risk of losing three successive matches to a single opponent for the first time in his career. Klopp seems to have the ability to overcome Guardiola on a pretty regular basis, and the matches - whether Dortmund vs. Bayern or Liverpool vs. Chelsea - always tend to be entertaining.

4.28pmWith kickoff at Anfield now just a couple of minutes away, let us check out some pre-match thoughts from both camps...

Jurgen Klopp: "I don't think it makes sense in this moment to think about the title. Manchester City is always tough, even when we won 3-0 in the Champion League. In the 4-3 [Liverpool win] they were really good. They never gave up even at 4-1 down. We have to be spot on, at our best to keep them away from our goal and create chances in front of our goal. It will be hard work, no problem with that, everybody knows it."

Pep Guardiola: "Liverpool will beat a lot of teams, not just Man City. Liverpool is one of the true greatest teams in England. We try to be close to them in terms of many, many things. [Klopp] has all the qualities that everybody knows about Liverpool. At the end, it's the teams and the clubs that win the game. I don't play against the manager, we play against Liverpool. He is an excellent manager, I have a lot of respect for the way he plays, his proactive teams."

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp gestures on September 15, 2018© Reuters

1 minKICKOFF:  We are up and running in what is surely the biggest game of the Premier League season so far. The magnitude of this contest really cannot be stressed enough - top spot, currently occupied by Chelsea following their 3-0 win at Southampton, is up for grabs for the winner.

3 minRiyad Mahrez, who was a surprise pick in one of the wide positions, attempts to get in behind early on but is flagged for offside. Intriguing battles wherever you look across the field, including Mahrez and Sterling against Robertson and Gomez.

5 minSHOT!  A first sight of goal for Mohamed Salah, who knocks the ball inside John Stones but dragged his shot wide of goal. Aymeric Laporte did well to get across and put the Egyptian forward under a little pressure. The hosts looking lively early on.

5 minMan City have settled down now and are knocking the ball around well. Fernandinho was robbed by Georginio Wijnaldum, though, and off Liverpool go on the counter. A simple ball into Sadio Mane's path is miscontrolled and City are able to get men back.

9 minLiverpool are undoubtedly on top in the early stages here. A cross from the left is sent in by Sadio Mane, who got the better of his man, but Benjamin Mendy got a touch to it before Mohamed Salah could blast goalwards.

11 minGood defending from John Stones to twice cut out an intended cross into the middle. Liverpool looking so much sharper than they did in Naples in midweek, as they continue to take the game to their opponents in the early stages here.

13 minStill no attempts on target so far; Mohamed Salah's dragged shot the closest we have come to a breakthrough moment. Man City have not really got going at all so far, which is largely down to Klopp's men pegging them right back.

15 minThe visitors' first serious attack of the match, with a quarter of an hour played, sees Raheem Sterling run at Joe Gomez. A corner was won from it, but it came to little and Liverpool were nearly able to counter - a good Stones intervention preventing them from doing so.

17 minNo goals yet at Anfield but this has still been a pretty gripping encounter between two of the best sides on the continent. So little room for City's players to operate in; they will not be accustomed to this, having pretty much dominated possession in every other game this term.

19 minGuardiola's men are now looking a lot more comfortable. They are slowing play down, which is part one of the plan, and will now look to create some chances of their own. The Reds have had 57% of the ball so far at Anfield.

21 minPENALTY APPEAL!  Momentum has definitely shifted the Citizens' way over the last three or four minutes. Joe Gomez makes a horrible clearance and Sergio Aguero was waiting to pounce on the ball - at least he would have if not kicked by Dejan Lovren. City want a penalty but the referee says no.

23 minYELLOW CARD!  Bernardo Silva is cautioned by referee Martin Atkinson for clattering into Mohamed Salah. Going back to that Lovren challenge on Aguero, it did look as though a penalty should have been awarded. It helped Lovren that his opponent got straight back up and did not really complain.

25 minBoth teams have enjoyed spells on top this afternoon, but at the moment it is pretty balanced and end-to-end. All of a sudden it is Man City who are edging possession - 54% to Liverpool's 46% - but they have not looked like scoring.

27 minMan City make it look so easy when they find their passing groove, always seeming to have a player left over. Again, thought, it has not been penetrative enough and they have yet to get any sort of shot away. That has to change.

29 minThe tempo has dropped massively over the last five minutes at Anfield. James Milner is currently down receiving some treatment, so no great surprise to see Naby Keita - himself injured in midweek - sent to warm up by Klopp.

31 minLIVERPOOL SUB! Half an hour played at Anfield and Jurgen Klopp, as he was in midweek, is forced into a central-midfield change. James Milner injured his hamstring when tackling Kyle Walker and is replaced by Naby Keita.

33 minStill just the one shot all afternoon, coming via the boot of Mohamed Salah early on. City, who will arguably be the happier of the two sides at this point, are the team currently bossing possession on Merseyside.

35 minThe match has a little edge to it, with Fernandinho and Sadio Mane exchanging some words. Ten minutes to go until half time and we are not really any closer to seeing a goal. The hosts just having to soak up some pressure for the time being.

37 minWhile many goals were predicted today, it has to be remembered that these sides also boast the best defences in the Premier League. It has been incredibly tight so far and neither side can argue that they deserve a first-half lead.

39 minLiverpool just cannot keep a hold of the ball, which must be worrying Klopp. Man City just starting to turn the screw a little, as David Silva turns inside the box and has a shot blocked behind for a corner kick.

41 minDefence has trumped attack so far at Anfield, as both sides' back fours have remained solid throughout, especially Laporte and Stones. This first half is looking progressively likely to end goalless, it is fair to say.

43 minMan City's biggest downfall so far has been turning possession inside the final third into chances. They have still yet to create anything of note, which has also been the case for Liverpool. A slightly disappointing opening 45 minutes.

45 minNo shots on target in the first half, which is pretty staggering. There is a couple more minutes to come for that to change, but it has been a case of the two sides cancelling each other out so far.


5.19pmMartin Atkinson brings the first half to a close. It was a first half of very few chances - none, in fact! Mohamed Salah shot wide early on from a promising position, but that aside neither team managed to get away an effort of note.

5.22pmThe Reds, boasting a formidable home record that had seen them brush aside all comers to visit here this season, started the match on top. Mohamed Salah's dragged shot from a promising position five minutes in offered hope of an end-to-end match, but the first half did not quite pan out that way.

5.25pmInstead, the two meanest defences in the division would come out on top in an opening 45 minutes that did not see a single shot on target. Man City grew into the game and ended the first half slightly on top, but they were unable to turn possession into chances.

5.28pmThe Citizens' best moment came a quarter of the way into the match when Sergio Aguero was caught from behind by Dejan Lovren in the box, but referee Martin Atkinson decided against pointing to the spot. That, I'm afraid, is pretty much it in terms of the first half's action. Plenty of options from the bench for the two manages, though Klopp has already turned to Keita for Milner.

LIVERPOOL SUBS: Mignolet, Fabinho, Sturridge, Shaqiri, Matip, Alexander-Arnold

MANCHESTER CITY SUBS: Muric, Danilo, Kompany, Sane, Otamendi, Jesus, Foden

Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates during the Premier League game between Liverpool and Southampton on September 22, 2018© Reuters

46 minKICKOFF:  We are back under way at Anfield in this final Premier League clash of the weekend, where neither manager has made any half-time changes. Fingers crossed for a more engaging battle over the remaining 45 minutes, with top spot up for grabs for the winning side.

48 minLiverpool have spent the best part of two minutes knocking the ball around, without asking any questions of their opponents. I gave plenty of credit to both sides' defences in the first half, but in truth they did not have all that much to do.

50 minThe tempo has been incredibly slow since around the 20-minute mark when Liverpool's grip on the match slipped. Even the atmosphere is subdued around Anfield in a match that promised so much. Incidentally, the Reds have passed the 800-minute mark without conceding.

52 minRoberto Firmino cannot quite make contact with Andrew Robertson's cross. These next 40 minutes or so really are massive in the context of the season as a whole. Can one of these sides grab the game by the scruff of its neck?

54 minYELLOW CARD!  This is a bad challenge from Sergio Aguero on Jordan Henderson, catching his opponent high up the leg. Martin Atkinson shows just a yellow and not a red, which was probably the right call. Aguero, remember, had a pen appeal turned down earlier on.

56 minThe good news is that we have just had another shot. The bad news is that Fernandinho's drive from 40 yards out ended high in the stands behind the goal - a true shocker. This match has lacked any real attacking quality, unfortunately.

58 minMan City win themselves a corner, from which a few visiting players called for a penalty. It looked as though the ball hit Virgil van Dijk on the arm, but he was dragged to the ground by Fernandinho so that was never going to be given.

60 minCLOSE!  At long, long last we have some action in front of goal! David Silva feeds the ball through for Riyad Mahrez and the Algerian sent Andrew Robertson the wrong way, before firing the ball across Alisson Becker's goal.

62 minSAVE!  Man City are turning the screw for the first time today. Bernardo Silva won back possession for his side and played it through for Riyad Mahrez. Unlike a couple of minutes ago, he had to take it on with his right foot, meaning a simple save for Alisson to make.

64 minSAVE!  We have a game on our hands at Anfield! Following those two chances for Riyad Mahrez, Joe Gomez pinged the ball into the box at the other end for Mohamed Salah to test Ederson with a weak attempt. Mendy is cautioned for pulling back on his man.

66 minMANCHESTER CITY SUB! Sergio Aguero, who is now without a goal in 10 trips to Anfield, makes way for Gabriel Jesus. The Citizens have been the better side overall today but have lacked any cutting edge up top.

68 minMohamed Salah's free kick offers hope of a breakthrough, but his delivery is poor and the ball went straight out of play for a goal kick. Both managers have two more options available to them from the bench - which of them will blink first?

70 minSHOT!  A brilliant first touch from Mohamed Salah, following some quick thinking from Alisson Becker to set Andrew Robertson free, but his second touch ended with the ball high in the stands - not for the first time today.

72 minWe are reaching the point where it has to be asked, which side would prefer the point more? Probably City, being the away side, but they are not exactly sitting back at the moment. Still plenty of time for a late twist at Anfield.

74 minLIVERPOOL SUB! Xherdan Shaqiri and Daniel Sturridge were the obvious replacements for outgoing Roberto Firmino; it is the latter who gets the nod. A little over 15 minutes for Sturridge to make an impact, just like he did against Chelsea.

76 minSAVE!  Alisson Becker pushes out Bernardo Silva's cross as far as Riyad Mahrez, and the Brazilian was then required for the best save of the match so far. Good, powerful shot from Mahrez, which Alisson was equal to down low.

78 minMANCHESTER CITY SUB! Not the most productive of afternoons for Raheem Sterling, who is replaced by Leroy Sane. A wise change for Guardiola to make, with his side currently on top and looking the more likely to score a winner.

80 minPENALTY APPEAL! Gabriel Jesus gets in behind Joe Gomez and looked to have got the better of Dejan Lovren. Lovren stuck an arm out and caught his opponent in the face, but there was not enough in it to warrant a penalty.

82 minCHANCE!  This has to go down as one of Liverpool's best chances today, as Joe Gomez gets a cross into the middle for Daniel Sturridge to meet. The striker did pretty much all he could with the header, but it was never going to beat Ederson.

84 minMan City have done more than Liverpool to win this match, but with a little over five minutes to go they may sit back a little more - a point would not be a bad outcome from this match. As things stand, three teams are locked at 20 points in first, second and third.

86 minIt would be a surprise if Klopp and Guardiola do not use their final sub in the remaining minutes here. Sadio Mane stays down after being caught in the face by Fernandinho's forearm, and it is easy to see why - that was a painful one.

86 minPENALTY!  Five minutes to play at Anfield and Man City have been awarded a penalty! A fresh Leroy Sane is sent crashing to the ground by Virgil van Dijk and there can be no complaints. Riyad Mahrez is about to step up...

87 minPENALTY MISSED! A terrible, terrible penalty from Riyad Mahrez! The Algerian winger blazes the ball high over the crossbar. Up the other end, Sadio Mane very nearly picked out Daniel Sturridge on the counter-attack.

Riyad Mahrez steps up to take a late penalty in Manchester City's away draw at Liverpool in the Premier League on October 7, 2018© Reuters

89 minOne minute of normal time to play at Anfield and there is now no doubt that Man City have been the more deserving of all three points today. Virgil van Dijk is the most relieved man inside Anfield right now, and his side now look on course for an unlikely point.

90+1 minYELLOW CARD!  Georginio Wijnaldum is the latest player to enter Martin Atkinson's book for infringement. Just three minutes added on here, so that penalty miss may well prove to be the final chance of the match.


6.28pmMartin Atkinson brinks the contest to a close, meaning that the sides take a point apiece from a match that did not live up to its pre-match expectations. Goals were expected, but in the end the only major opportunity came late on through Riyad Mahrez's missed penalty. How big a moment could that prove to be when looking back on this match next May?...

6.30pmThat concludes Sports Mole's live text coverage of events from Anfield. An on-the-whistle report can be found by clicking here, and be sure to stick around as updates from Barcelona's trip to Valencia will be available elsewhere on the site shortly. Thanks for joining!

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Raheem Sterling celebrates with Sergio Aguero and Bernardo Silva after opening the scoring for Manchester City against Brighton & Hove Albion on September 29, 2018
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