Manchester City versus Liverpool was billed as the biggest match of the Premier League season and it didn’t disappoint.
The best two teams in England, led by the two brightest minds in Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, produced a captivating battle that culminated in a 2-1 win for the hosts.
The result leaves the Premier League title race finely poised as the competition heats up. Liverpool are now just four points ahead of Man City and six ahead of Tottenham Hotspur.
The quality of football on display at the Etihad was quite extraordinary. Sergio Aguero and Leroy Sane both produced superb finishes, Alisson Becker pulled off a wonderful piece of goalkeeping to deny Aguero and Fernandinho was incredible for 90 minutes.
It was easy to see why these two sides are top of the pile.
The game became less about tactics and more about which team had the energy to last 90 minutes by the end.
That team proved to be City, who took the lead in the 72nd and then managed to hold onto it.
Tactical analysis of Man City 2-1 Liverpool
But football analyst and YouTuber Nouman has sought to explain the tactics deployed by both managers in a video titled: ‘The Battle of Two Tactical Geniuses’.
In his fascinating study of the match, Nouman notes Man City’s high press in the opening 10 minutes in an attempt to force mistakes from Liverpool.
Liverpool tried to create central overloads with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane playing between the full-back and centre-back, creating space for Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson on the flanks.
While the visitors packed the central areas, Man City overloaded the wide positions, often focusing on Liverpool’s right side.
Alexander-Arnold often found himself in 1v3 situations.
The video also highlights Aguero’s smart decision to wait until the cross was delivered before making his move ahead of Dejan Lovren and firing past Alisson to open the scoring.
Klopp changed from a 4-3-3 to a 4-2-3-1 in the second half.
Their central overload culminated in the equaliser, Alexander-Arnold finding an open Robertson on the left and the Scotland international crossing for Roberto Firmino to score.
But Guardiola would have the last laugh as Sane smashed home the winner.
And with that, the battle is on.