Manchester City's visit to Liverpool was poetically described as "title defenders against title contenders" by Pep Guardiola and the manner in which both teams played as though they dared not lose gave the greatest credence to that billing.
Virgil van Dijk challenges Leroy Sane, gets none of the ball but makes contact with the City man.
Mohamed Salah fired an early shot wide before Dejan Lovren was arguably fortunate not to concede a spot-kick when he bumped Sergio Aguero over in the penalty area. It was pretty surprising to see him take it, considering David Silva and Gabriel Jesus were on the field, and his recent trend of misses make you question why he took it.
This, as Guardiola explained after the game, was part of City's game plan, with the visitors looking to stymie Liverpool's swift counter-attacking play after losing twice at Anfield last season.
"If it's up and down quickly they are much, much better-they are maybe the best team in the world running these transitions, offensive-defensively". After their pulsating clashes in the UEFA Champions League and the 4-3 thriller in the Premier League in 2018, this affair was more pragmatic with possession nearly equal and big chances also shared evenly.
It resulted in the first goalless draw between these two at Anfield since 1986 - and also City's first clean sheet at the ground since then - but Reds boss Jurgen Klopp will be celebrating Monday's third anniversary at the club as the happier manager.
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"When we came back from the global break last time, it was clear", he said. I'll therefore go for Over 3.5 Goals at [2.6].
The extent to which that was City's doing and to which it was down to Liverpool being a little off-colour is hard to say. What few chances there were fell largely City's way.
Liverpool's front three hasn't yet found the form of February and March yet this season with the wide players, Mohammed Salah in particular, diminished by the more defensive approach being adopted by the full-backs. "We had a clear chance in the last action so we controlled quite well". We were close, more than ever to winning here but it is better than last season and we compete really really good.
"I'm playing good football because we are playing good football".
"When we won 2-1 at City, they pushed us in our 18-yard box and we didn't know how to come out".