Manchester City Will Seriously Regret Not Beating Vulnerable Liverpool

At this stage last season, it was already pretty clear that Liverpool were going to win the Premier League title.

After eight games, the Reds had accrued a maximum of 24 points and already possessed an eight-point led over reigning champions Manchester City. It was not just the points total that suggested Jurgen Klopp's side would end up top of the pile however. It was also the merciless nature of their performances.

Over the course of those eight matches, Liverpool scored 20 goals, conceded a league-low six and looked like a team on a mission.

At this stage last season, Liverpool had just beaten high flying Leicester 2-1 | Visionhaus/Getty Images

This season, we have witnessed nothing close to that level of ruthlessness from Jurgen Klopp's side. For starters, they have already lost a game, falling to that downright bizarre 7-2 defeat at the hands of Aston VIlla.

This is a Reds team plagued by injury as well. Fabinho, Thiago Alcantara and most notbaly Virgil van Dijk are all out for varying lengths of time creating nothing short of a selection crisis at centre-back.

Amid all of this chaos, Liverpool could have down without a trip to their main Premier League title rivals on Sunday. In the end though, they managed to escape with a point - a result that will haunt Pep Guardiola for the remainder of the campaign.

Klopp had the audacity to line up in a 4-2-4 at the Etihad Stadium with the German solving the issue of whether to start Diogo Jota or Roberto Firmino by playing both alongside Mo Salah and Sadio Mané.

This open formation should have been music to Guardiola's ears but in the end, the Cityzens only managed to exploit the Reds lack of midfield on one occasion during the two side's 1-1 draw on Sunday.

That came when City managed to bypass the Reds' four man high press with one diagonal ball to Kyle Walker. He then picked out an unmarked Kevin de Bruyne on the edge of the box who had time to turn and slip in Gabriel Jesus who finished nicely.

After managing to feed the best passer on the planet with such ease, City should have smelled blood and tried to get Liverpool's to commit themselves again. Due to a combination of reasons, including individual mistakes and poor positioning, this never happened. This was missed opportunity number one. Well, number two actually.

Walker's error was a bad one | Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The first blunder was made by Walker who chopped Mane down inside 13 minutes. It was the latest in a long line of brainless decisions, though this one was particularly idiotic as it left City in the lurch so early on.

Missed opportunity number three would come courtesy of the usually mercurial De Bruyne. The Belgian dragged a penalty wide just before half time, spurning the chance to put the Cityzens 2-1 up.

Never fear though. Surely, they would come up ready to do battle after the break?

Well, not really no. With De Bruyne seriously struggling to make anything happen, City looked lost going forward with Liverpool happy to sit back and take the point. In the end, there was not a single shot on target registered in the final 40 minutes of proceedings.

The result will leave a particularly sour taste in Guardiola's mouth as this Liverpool team was the weakest they have put out in recent seasons. Without Thiago the midfield lacked creativity, while the absences of Fabinho and Van Dijk meant they surrendered a great deal of solidity.

In short, this was a Reds team there for the taking and City will probably end up ruing this missed opportunity come the end of the season.

Source : 90min