Roberto Firmino continues to struggle as Liverpool are held by Man City

Man City vs Liverpool

Sunday’s marquee Premier League tie played out a short time ago.

It would be Liverpool who headed into the tie in much better form, with City starting the day in the bottom half of the table.

However, despite recent struggles, Pep Guardiola and co. had dominated this fixture in recent times.

The last meeting between the two sides before Sunday saw City emerge with a resounding 4-0 win whilst Liverpool had picked up just one win over the Manchester powerhouse in their last five attempts.

When all was said and done at the Etihad though, the points were shared on Sunday.

End-to-end action

Liverpool had the first decent chance of the game. Trent Alexander-Arnold played a lovely over the top ball to Diogo Jota who was eventually dealt with by Ederson.

Gabriel Jesus then found himself behind Liverpool’s backline just a few minutes in, suggesting we were in for a very end-to-end, open tie.

It would be the away side, though, who looked to cause the most problems early on.

Jurgen Klopp started all of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota at the Etihad in what looked at times to be a 4-2-4.

And it was this attacking quartet that found themselves in behind City’s backline on numerous occasions.

Kyle Walker then brought down Sadio Mane 11 minutes in inside the Man City box. Mo Salah then stepped up to convert the ensuing spot-kick, handing Liverpool a probably deserved lead.

However, Raheem Sterling really should have equalised just before the 25th-minute mark

Kevin De Bruyne whipped in one of his trademark balls from the right, resulting in Sterling being one-on-one with Alisson. The Englishman, though, hit a rather tame effort at the Brazilian.

City eventually hit back five minutes later when Kevin De Bruyne found Gabriel Jesus in the Liverpool box who turned Alexander-Arnold and slotted past Alisson.

The Belgian was involved once again 39 minutes in, with his cross bouncing off Joe Gomez’s arm, which led to a City penalty. KDB then stepped up to take the penalty but fired his effort wide.

Jota then came inches away from putting Liverpool 2-1 up on the stroke of half time, but Ederson saved the Portuguese’s effort well.

The first 45 drew to a close with 1-1 probably a fair scoreline.


The second 45 began in the same vein as the first, with some highly entertaining action.

Both keepers were called into action within the first five minutes due to a lovely De Bruyne cross and a limp shot from Jota.

Jesus then missed a huge opportunity to put City in front. Joao Cancelo dinked a cute ball over Liverpool’s backline to a free Jesus who then directed his header wide.

With City growing into the tie, Klopp opted to take off Firmino for Xherdan Shaqiri – a move which saw Jota switch from the right-wing to a centre-forward role.

TAA was then replaced by James Milner after the right-back went down with what looked to be a calf injury.

The tie then entered into something of a lull in the final 20 minutes, with both sides clearly concerned about dropping all three points.

The game eventually drew to a close with the points shared.

Firmino struggling

Both sides were probably content with a point, though it did mean Liverpool were knocked off the top of the Premier League.

One of the more worrying issues for Liverpool at the Etihad was the display of Roberto Firmino.

The Brazilian has never been known as a true goalscoring centre-forward, with his link-up play and pressing ability of more importance to Jurgen Klopp’s side.

However, that shouldn’t take away from the fact Firmino’s form has been pretty concerning for some time now.

In fact, despite Liverpool dominating the league last term, the Brazilian netted at Anfield just once last season in the league, with that goal not coming till the penultimate matchweek of the campaign.

Firmino’s form has continued to be pretty poor in 2020/21 as well, with many voicing the opinion that the in-form Jota should replace Firmino in Liverpool’s front-three.

Of course, both started the clash at the Etihad, but the former Hoffenheim hitman would be hooked just before the hour mark.

And some rather concerning stats have come to light since, with Firmino now having failed to produce a shot on target for the 4th Premier League game this season whilst also not creating a single chance in three PL ties in 2020/21:

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Leicester City FC 8 9 18
2 Tottenham Hotspur FC 8 10 17
3 Southampton FC 8 4 16
4 Liverpool FC 7 2 16
5 Chelsea FC 8 10 15
6 Everton FC 8 2 13
7 Crystal Palace FC 8 0 13
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 8 -1 13
9 Aston Villa FC 6 6 12
10 Arsenal FC 7 2 12
11 West Ham United FC 8 4 11
12 Manchester City FC 6 1 11
13 Newcastle United FC 8 -3 11
14 Manchester United FC 7 -2 10
15 Leeds United 8 -3 10
16 Brighton & Hove Albion FC 8 -3 6
17 Fulham FC 8 -8 4
18 West Bromwich Albion 8 -11 3
19 Burnley FC 7 -9 2
20 Sheffield United FC 8 -10 1
Player Team Goals
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur FC 8
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City FC 8
Calvert-Lewin, Dominic Everton FC 8
Kane, Harry Tottenham Hotspur FC 7
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 7
Bamford, Patrick Leeds United 7
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United FC 6
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United FC 5
Zaha, Wilfried Crystal Palace FC 5
Ings, Danny Southampton FC 5
Grealish, Jack Aston Villa FC 4
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 4
Werner, Timo Chelsea FC 4
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion FC 4
Watkins, Ollie Aston Villa FC 4
Jimenez, Raul Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 4
Rodriguez, James Everton FC 3
Jorginho Chelsea FC 3
Adams, Che Southampton FC 3
Ward-Prowse, James Southampton FC 3

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