[Liverpool 1 – 1 Manchester City].

First, an admission: when the Citizens went up one and looked comfortable on the ball, I lost hope. Here it is, the best chance in a long time to finally disrupt this machine that Pep made, and yet, the machine keeps machining, as it were. But as my American Scouser colleagues were saying at halftime, Liverpool actually looked better. They were right, of course, and by the time it ended, the Reds could have easily emerged triumphant. Then again, City had a couple of scary close chances of their own. In the end, the game ended with the most likely result, a draw.

It was the most fitting outcome, and the embrace by Klopp and Pep at the end was, perhaps, as beautiful a moment as we have seen in this battle of footballing giants.

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Before I go into the footballing aspects of the game, I am compelled to comment on the refereeing. If someone can kindly explain how Walker wasn’t even booked after a series of cynical fouls in the first half, please do. How he wasn’t even booked on a play we constantly see players red-carded for, sliding high for the ball with studs showing, then harming and seriously endangering an opponent, is a mystery. Isn’t that precisely what VAR is for? And how in the world of VAR Doku got away scot-free with a flying karate kick to Mac Allister’s chest, in the box, in the 99th minute, is an enigma.

POST MATCH: Liverpool 1 Manchester City 1

It’s just difficult not to come to the conclusion that the Reds were done in by the refs.

Again.

Still, Liverpool got their chances, and unfortunately, they fell to Luis Diaz, who just couldn’t get a ball on target. He otherwise put everything out there today. If there is a small fault to be found, it is that Klopp felt it necessary to replace Nunez with Gakpo. Offsides or not, that replaced the biggest threat to the organization of the City backline with a rather anemic option in the center. Gakpo needs balls to feet and this wasn’t the game where he would get them; otherwise, he appeared to jog around the park.

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But let’s turn back to the Reds’ illustrious opponents. Do you want to know why Haaland went missing? Look no further than the Reds’ captain. While the teams ended level, man-of-the-match (easy) Virgil Van Dijk owned City’s main attacking threat so thoroughly that the Norwegian giant became invisible. But it wasn’t just VVD; Endo was terrific and nullified much of the 3-2-4-1 City setup intended to overwhelm the midfield. Quansah played like he was at least five years older than he really is. Kelleher was there when it mattered. Gomez and Bradley frustrated Foden and Alvarez so much, they couldn’t get anything to happen. Mac Allister and Elliott were brilliant. The referees did their part, but in the end, our front three just failed to convert.

It happens.

When City dropped two points against Chelsea a couple of weeks ago, that made it possible to draw them at Anfield and still stay a nose ahead of them. That’s important because it’s extremely hard to dislodge City once they are first. Arsenal will celebrate grabbing that top spot on goal differential, but they still have to go to the Etihad, and one or – as was likeliest today  – both of them will drop points.

All I can say is, for that game, and as my Gunners’ fan friend Dylan texted me before today… may the best team tie.

Another Monday of looking for answers as we look at the recent struggles but put all of it in perspective as we talk about the 35th anniversary and what it means to us
  1. The Drought
  2. Let's Stare At The Eclipse
  3. Generational Dutch Oven
  4. Build-A-Manager
  5. Patreon Days
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