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Manchester City vs Liverpool at Etihad Stadium

FT
Etihad Stadium Referee : Anthony Taylor
3rd January 2019 8:00 PM (GMT)
  • 2 Manchester City

    • ‘40' Sergio Agüero
    • ‘72' Leroy Sané
  • 1 Liverpool

    • ‘64' Roberto Firmino

#mancity

Commentary By Caroline Oatway

23:32

Time for bed!

I don't know about you but I'll be sleeping soundly tonight.

Another fantastic night at the Etihad - another to add to the ever-growing collection - and a crucial three points to claw us back into the title race.

Only time will tell how significant they will be but my, my, we're going to enjoy them!

Stay tuned to mancity.com for more post-match reaction and those eagerly-awaited highlights. You won't want to miss those!

I'll be watching them over and over...

22:57
22:27

Pep Guardiola:

"The game was a real game for both sides. We beat an incredible team. We were outstanding from the first minute.

"We are happy for this victory to reduce the gap. Everything is open.

"We don't have a left-back. Huge compliments to Aymeric Laporte against these strikers. Everyone was outstanding.

"We need Sergio Aguero in these games - his quality makes the difference. To win these games, he has done it all his career and his finish was incredible.

"Liverpool don't concede goals and we scored two. We played with courage - so aggressive in our pressing. They are incredibly fast in behind; so dangerous.

"If we lose today, it is almost done - it would be so difficult but we are four points behind them and they are the leaders. We have to fight a lot, but this gives us a lot of confidence."

22:24

Former Blue Michael Brown:

"I have never seen a game at the Etihad like that. It was unbelievable to watch.

"There wasn't a tonne of quality, but all the players were very tired and put that much into it with the tempo from the first few minutes - it was a joy to watch it."

22:18

John Stones (on his goalline clearance):

"I tried to take everything. I spotted the opportunity and I heard it was tight.

"I'm just happy it didn't go over the line! Those sort of things can change a game."

22:17

Vincent Kompany:

"I'm not worried about the result - I'm buzzing with the tremendous performance.

"We went toe to toe with a very aggressive team and we matched them. It's still in Liverpool's hands.

"It came from our guts, a desire you can't describe. We are a better team when we play with emotions."

(On his booking): "I thought it was a great challenge, was it not?

"I got the ball; a little bit of the man but it wasn't naughty. I didn't try to injure him. It was that or let him go through on goal."

22:16
22:04
21:55

This place is absolutely rocking!

And rightly so! What a performance and what a crucial three points.

Everyone played their part tonight - the fans and the players.

We EARNED that victory.

21:54

WE'VE DONE IT!!!

Get in there, City! WHAT A WIN!

Rode our luck once or twice but two moments of quality shone through in the end, as we close the gap to four points.

WE'LL FIGHT TO THE END.

Open
88'

Final City change

Kompany leaves the field to a standing ovation in place of Otamendi. Not sure he was originally going to be the one to come off but he signalled to the bench.

Open
83'

What a chance to seal it!

Lovely from Sterling to lose Robertson. He bursts forward before playing Aguero through.

Kun rounds the 'keeper and shoots but Alisson recovers to make the save.

64'

Woah!

Shaky! Miscommunication between Kompany and Ederson. The 'keeper should have claimed but the skipper headed into the path of Fimino. Thankfully, he had to wait to get the hot away and it was eventually cleared by Kompany.

HT

Analysis

Well, what a half of football!

A thrilling contest, which City have definitely edged. We've looked fired up and hungry from the off - just lacking end product.

We've had a stroke of luck with that goalline clearance but it was the Reds' only chance of note.

An excellent time to score, as they say - right before the break. That belief has cranked up a few notches and kudos to Kun: a sensational finish - just like the one he bagged against De Gea. Power and precision.

Perfect.

40'

WHAT A FINISH!!!!!!!!

ABSOLUTELY EMPHATIC!!!!!!!!!!!

Aguero collects Bernardo's cross at the near post, takes a touch and SMASHES the ball past Alisson into the roof of the net.

His 250th career goal and what a time to score it!!!

Open
39'

GGGGGOOOOAAAAAALLLLLL!!!!!! AGUEROOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

YYYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Open
39'

Another yellow

Wijnaldum the next into the book for a challenge on Sane in the centre-circle.

Kompany did superbly well to dispossess Salah out on the left on the edge of the area in the lead-up.

Open
31'

Booking

Yellow card for Kompany. Looked a fine tackle, as he slid in to divert a loose Stones pass from Salah's path.

The Egyptian looked to jump over the skipper but a free-kick is awarded and a caution follows.

28'

Argh.

David Silva with a chance but he opts to move the shot onto his left and his poked effort is blocked.

Superb ball by Ferna to release Sterling in the build-up.

Open
20'

Yellow card

Lovren with the game's first booking, as he cynically, scythes down Aguero.

Just prior, Ederson was called into action again to make a stop. Liverpool piling the pressure on.

Open
18'

WHAT A LET-OFF!

That was incredible! Liverpool carve open the City defence, playing Mane through.

His effort strikes the bar and Stones' attempted clearance ricochets and almost produces an own-goal!

Eventually, it's cleared off the line by Stones. Referee Taylor had to check with his watch that it hadn't crossed!

6'

Stoppage

Robertson is down, having gone down as Ferna broke clear. The referee stops play and City aren't happy - we were on the attack with momentum.

Back in business now.

4'

Rattled

Liverpool have started the game poorly, kicking the ball out of play on several occasions, playing loose passes.

They're on the back foot. Long may it continue.

19:58

Let the battle commence

The handshakes are complete - the pleasantries out of the way. There'll be no friendliness once that first ball is kicked.

There's too much at stake for that.

19:52

"THE BEST TEAM IN THE LAND AND ALL THE WORLD!"

As the anticipation builds, so does the crowd noise!

The fans are up for it. Wouldn't expect anything less from our lot.

19:47

The final countdown

City head back into the dressing rooms to a round of rapturous applause.

The volume has gone up a notch as we replay the best moments of our history on the big screen.

A potentially season-defining 90 minutes await...

19:44
19:28

Let's do this! 💪

City head out onto the pitch for warm-ups, greeted by the the Blue faithful.

'There Is A Light That Never Goes Out' rings around the Etihad and there's belief in the air.

19:16

Out come the 'keepers

Ederson and Muricaree the first out onto the pitch. Ederson could find himself busier than usual tonight... but hopefully not!

19:08

Club journalist David Clayton:

"It looks as though Aymeric Laporte may drop into the left-back slot for this evening’s game.

"With no recognised left-back, Laporte looks the obvious choice – plus he has played there before.

"If so, John Stones will partner skipper Vincent Kompany with Danilo again getting the nod at right-back.

"Fernandinho will pin the midfield trio alongside David Silva and Bernardo Silva, with Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero the attacking trio."

18:55

Pep Guardiola:

“Our reality is clear. We are seven points down. It is the second round of games and I have a feeling there is a big opportunity for us to reduce the gap.

“People are asking what we will do if we lose but we are going to try to win the game, be there and have a chance to fight for the Premier League.”

18:54

Pep Guardiola:

“Our reality is clear. We are seven points down. It is the second round of games and I have a feeling there is a big opportunity for us to reduce the gap.

“People are asking what we will do if we lose but we are going to try to win the game, be there and have a chance to fight for the Premier League.”

18:43

Sergio Aguero:

“This season has shown, once more, that the Premier League is among the most competitive leagues in the world.

“Liverpool's growth as a team can be tracked from a few years back. Their showing in the Champions League was a testament of that, and they are performing very well this Premier League season.

“But our focus should be on our own game. We are confident in our playing style and we believe it's the most effective to lead us to victory.

“This is football after all though, and anything can happen, but we will play as we always play as it has served us so well.

“There’s no denying it is a huge game for both clubs. Direct clashes between leading teams have a major impact towards the end of the season.

“December didn't pan out the way we wanted it to and now we've got more ground to make up so yes, that makes the game even more important.

“But we are only in January and there are still plenty of Premier League games ahead of us and from the looks of it, there are three or four teams angling to win the title. It's going to come down to the wire.

“Of course, we knew repeating last year's success wouldn't be a simple task but we always aim for excellence.”

18:29

Stat attack

City's 5-0 victory in the corresponding fixture last season is our solitary win in the past 11 meetings in all competitions (D3, L7).

However, Liverpool's only triumph in nine league visits to the Etihad Stadium was by a 4-1 scoreline in Jurgen Klopp's first away game against City in November 2015.

The Blues have won our opening Premier League match of the calendar year in 11 of the past 12 seasons.

18:27

History-maker

Sergio Aguero has scored in all six home league appearances against Liverpool – the best 100 per cent rate of home matches scored in by a player against any opponent in Premier League history.

18:22

Team news

So, we know Kevin De Bruyne trained yesterday but Pep Guardiola said he wouldn't know until today whether he would be fit to start.

Imagine the Belgian will definitely be involved from the off, if he is deemed fit. Who else would make your starting XI?

18:07

How are we feeling?

Everyone alright out there? Coping? Insanely nervous? Insanely confident? On your fifth cup of chamomile tea? Gently rocking back and forth? All of the above?

Same.

18:03

Here we go...

A very good evening from the Etihad Stadium.

Two hours to go until the biggest game of the season, as we welcome league leaders Liverpool, looking to close that gap atop the Premier League table.

There are no doubts about it: this is an absolute must-win. We currently sit seven points behind the Reds. A victory tonight is pivotal to pile the pressure on.

We've been here before, chasing. We know what we have to do.

It's time to step up and be Champions.

14:55

Pep

"A lot of nice words are spoken when you make 100 points in a season. But after, it is how you come back - and we did it.

"I am delighted with my team. We have made a lot of points."

As it stood

P GD Pts
1 Liverpool 21 +39 54
3 Tottenham Hotspur 21 +25 48
4 Chelsea 21 +22 44
5 Arsenal 21 +15 41
6 Manchester United 21 +11 38
7 Leicester City 21 +2 31
8 Watford 21 -1 29
9 Wolverhampton Wanderers 21 -2 29
10 West Ham United 21 -3 28
11 Everton 21 0 27
12 Bournemouth 21 -9 27
13 Brighton and Hove Albion 21 -5 26
14 Crystal Palace 21 -7 22
15 Newcastle United 21 -14 18
16 Burnley 21 -21 18
17 Cardiff City 21 -22 18
18 Southampton 21 -17 16
19 Fulham 21 -28 14
20 Huddersfield Town 21 -24 10
Link To Full Table