Last night's clash between Man City and Liverpool lived up to all of the pre-match hype. The EPL title rivals produced an entertaining, high-battle match and there are a few things we learned from it.
1. The title race is far from over 😮
With 16 games to go, Manchester City's win has breathed new life into the title race. Even if they had lost, it would have been premature to suggest that the Champions were out of the title race, but a four-point gap is a lot easier to close than a ten-point deficit. Ending Liverpool's unbeaten run will give them confidence, but Liverpool still lead the pack and that brings a brand of confidence of its own.
2. Sergio Agüero is an EPL legend 🔥
The Argentine joined an elite group of consistent English Premier League goal-scorers last night when he put City ahead with a typical angled and emphatic finish.
8 - With his goal last night, @aguerosergiokun became only the 4th player to score 10+ goals in eight consecutive @premierleague campaigns, after Wayne Rooney (11), Frank Lampard (10) and Thierry Henry (8). Legends. pic.twitter.com/uquWcX4kkj— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 4, 2019
If City are in the mix at the end of the season and Kun Agüero is fit and firing, they'll have as good as a chance as anyone of lifting the title.
3. Man City must find a Fernandinho replacement 🔜
Fernandinho was arguably City's best player last night in a match where Pep Guardiola's team dug in and "won ugly" which is hardly a quality usually associated with Pep Guardiola teams. The key man in the concept of winning ugly? Probably Fernandinho. The Brazilian was typically hard-tackling and combative, providing the steel around the silk of Bernardo Silva, David Silva & Raheem Sterling.
Rumours of a move for exciting youngster Frenkie de Jong won't go away and that should be a priority position to strengthen for Guardiola. An all-action midfielder is an essential cog in any Guardiola system and with Fernandinho turning 34 in May, it's starting to become urgent.
4. Andrew Robertson is a top-level fullback 🦁
The Scotsman's rise from promising youngster to key first-team regular has been astonishing and has been capped with him being named Scotland captain. His displays from left fullback have been dynamic and tough-tackling, but there's also end-product, evidenced by his assist for Firmino's equaliser. At only 24, Robertson is one for the future but already looks like the finished article. On the other flank, Englishman Trent Alexander-Arnold has only recently turned 20. The future looks bright for Liverpool's British youngsters.
5. Klopp & Guardiola look set for a great rivalry 🏆
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp's backing of his players in the immediate aftermath of last night's defeat was admirable, as was Pep Guardiola's approach to the game and the ability to adapt his tactics to win a game in a slightly different fashion not usually associated with Manchester City.
The pair of young managers seem to share a mutual respect for one another, and neutrals around planet football can't help but admire their passionate yet contrasting approaches. Klopp's "heavy metal" passionate, pressing football and Guardiola's purist, attacking, and uncompromising tactics look set to be a theme of the Premier League for years to come.
Liverpool's next assignment in the EPL is a trip to Brighton on January 12th, while Manchester City host improving Wolves on the 14th.
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