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What Sunday’s 2-2 Draw Between Manchester City & Liverpool Means Going Forward

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What Sunday’s 2-2 Draw Between Manchester City & Liverpool Means Going Forward

The time was 18:22 at the Etihad Stadium and after almost two hours of battle, the two best sides in the world couldn’t be separated. Manchester City and Liverpool had played out a 2-2 masterpiece and left the title race in the balance. What this all means, none of us knows. But let’s look at what it could mean.

The match itself was an instant classic. City, as they usually do, started fast and struck the first blow. Kevin De Bruyne’s deflected shot nestled in the bottom right corner and after six minutes, the Sky Blues had a deserved lead.

Liverpool was shellshocked, but no team in the world can stop Jurgen Klopp’s side. Liverpool’s flying full-backs of Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold combined to set up Diogo Jota. The Portuguese's shot from the middle of the box trickled under Ederson to give him his 15th goal of the season and level the game at 1-1 after 13 minutes.

Liverpool’s high line was causing defensive problems for the team from Anfield and in the 37th minute, they were finally caught out. Four city players were offside when Cancelo swung the ball in, but Gabriel Jesus wasn’t. The Brazillian lifted shot skimmed the underside of the bar, giving the Brazilian his first goal since Chelsea away in September. 2-1 to City at halftime.

Klopp would have been furious. His players were out minutes before City’s before the 2nd half started. 46 seconds later, the German got the response. Salah’s pinpoint ball fell to Sadio Mane, with the Senegalese striking the ball past Ederson to again level this pulsating encounter.

The two sides then couldn’t be separated. Jota’s shot was saved from the Brazillian. Sterling’s goal against his old club was marginally offside. Mahrez’s chip in the last minute was over the bar. The final whistle went at 18:22 and the sides were still only separated by one point in the league.

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Man City to win Premier League, FA Cup & Champions League @ 8/1

The Run-in

The fixtures ahead for both teams clearly show that City has got the easier run-in. The seven teams that City have to play were all defeated by Pep Guardiola’s side in the reverse fixture.

The away games for City could potentially be awkward. Wolves are fighting for a European place, City hammered Leeds 7-0 at the Etihad Stadium in December but this is a different Leeds side now. The Whites are now led by Jesse Marsch and have picked up 10 points in their last four games to pull away from the relegation battle.

West Ham will be fighting for a European place. Depending on how their Europa League campaign develops, a win against City could be vital in securing a second successive year in Europe.

The team from Merseyside will look to their home fixtures as to where they need to make sure they don’t stumble.

The first of these is the main rivalry of English football, as Manchester United visit Anfield. Ralf Ragnick’s side will want revenge after their 5-0 humiliation earlier in the season. This may also be United’s last chance at securing European football next season.

Then it’s the Merseyside Derby. Yes, Everton are the worst team in the league away from home at present but the Toffees need a performance and points to get away from the relegation battle once and for all.

Antonio Conte’s side will likely provide the most difficult 90 minutes for Klopp’s side. Harry Kane and Son Heung-min are again firing, providing 20 goals or assists between them in Spurs' last seven games. The team from North London look on course to attain the final Champions League spot and will not want to drop any points at Anfield.

Premier League Trophy Multiples

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Liverpool to win FA Cup & Champions League @ 5/1

How Will They Both Get On in Other Competitions?

What happens outside the Premier League this next week however could be the defining moment of the 2021/22 title race. Confidence is a massive factor in football; the Champions League and FA Cup could build or shatter it.

Liverpool looks all but through in their Champions League tie. The reds lead Benfica 3-1 after the first leg and will feel confident about getting the job done at Anfield on Wednesday.

City however will need full concentration as they head to the Wanda Metropolitano. Leading 1-0 from the first leg, Atletico won’t play with a 5-5-0 formation in Madrid, and Diego Simeone will give everything to get his team through to the Champions League semi-final again.

Just six days after their last meeting, City and Liverpool will again meet in the FA Cup sem-final at Wembley. This time, the result can’t end in a draw. Liverpool knows how to win at Wembley this season as well, defeating Chelsea 11-10 on penalties after a 0-0 draw. With the quadruple on, Jurgen Klopp’s side will give everything to beat their main rivals.

Come Saturday evening, one team will be heartbroken about missing out on the final. That same team could also have just been dumped out of Europe at the quarter-final stage.

The treble for City and Quadruple for Liverpool is still very much on. If any team wins it, they will be arguably one of the best to ever have played the game. Confidence may be the deciding factor but as football has shown throughout the years, you never know what will happen.