Manchester City breathed life into the title race with their 2-1 win over Liverpool, but what were the talking points from the game?
Sergio Aguero opened the scoring at the Etihad Stadium, with Leroy Sane netting the winner after Roberto Firmino had levelled for Liverpool.
The win closed the gap to four points at the top of the Premier League table and it owed a lot to two of City’s old heads…Fernandinho and Aguero.
Manchester City’s win rate drops from 80 per cent to 40 per cent when Fernandinho does not start and this was another example of just how important he is to Guardiola’s side. The Brazilian, back in the side having missed the recent defeats to Crystal Palace and Leicester, was outstanding at the base of their midfield.
He looked up for it from the start, making his presence felt with a series of uncompromising challenges and ensuring Liverpool’s front three rarely had the opportunity to run at City’s backline. At one point, Mohamed Salah became so exasperated by his presence that he shoved him over in frustration to concede a free-kick.
Fernandinho ranked top for tackles (four) and won possession nine times over the course of the 90 minutes, but he also showed eye-catching technical quality. On 28 minutes, there was an outstanding pass over the top of Liverpool’s defence to release Sterling, who then set up a dangerous chance for David Silva.
Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville described his performance as “sensational” and Souness was similarly impressed. “Fernandinho is easily the best central midfield player in our country right now,” he said. “The amount of work he gets through overshadows the technique he has as well. When he wins it and puts a tackle in, he gets his head up and generally makes the best pass.”