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Mac Allister penalty earns 1-1 draw for Liverpool in Man City thriller

ALEXIS Mac Allister fired home a second-half penalty as Liverpool claimed a point against Manchester City in a breathless 1-1 Premier League blockbuster at Anfield that left Arsenal top of the table.

Liverpool is second, level on 64 points with the Gunners who lead on goal difference, with 10 games remaining of a thrilling three-way title race. Holders City, who is unbeaten in 21 games across all competitions, is third on 63. Arsenal climbed top with their 2-1 win against Brentford on Saturday.

City looked poised to hand manager Pep Guardiola his second victory in nine trips to the cauldron of Anfield when John Stones lost his marker to tap in Kevin De Bruyne’s corner from close range in the 23rd minute. Stones leapt onto the barrier in front of the visitors’ fans and shook both fists in celebration.

Yet the cheers were deafening when Mac Allister slotted home from the penalty spot past Ederson in the 50th minute after the keeper had sent Darwin Nunez flying through the air with a rash challenge in the box.

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Ederson received treatment after the tackle and was replaced by Stefan Ortega a couple of minutes later.

“We had very good chances, unfortunately, we couldn’t get the winner but overall bittersweet,” Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk told Sky Sports. “Based on the second half you feel we should have won it, but they hit the post as well. It was so close.

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“Manchester City have been very successful with the titles they have won and every game we have played against each other has been very intense,” he added. “To come away with a point is not a bad situation and we have to focus on what’s next. We just have to enjoy the ride.”

Buoyed by the goal, and the return of their talisman Mohamed Salah from injury as a 61st-minute substitute, Liverpool kept pressing.

Manchester City’s Phil Foden in action with Liverpool’s Alexis Mac Allister REUTERS/Carl Recine

Luis Diaz had a couple of terrific chances within the same minute, launching the ball wide of the goal in a one-on-one with Ortega, and he was then stopped by Kyle Walker when he seemingly had the goal at his mercy.

City’s Jeremy Doku hit the post against the run of play in a frantic final few minutes, and then Liverpool screamed for a penalty after Doku’s reckless tackle on Mac Allister in the box, but the officials disagreed and the VAR did not send the referee to have a second look after checking the decision.

The match was likely the last Premier League meeting for Guardiola and Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp, who plans to leave the club at the season’s end. Klopp and Guardiola shared a long embrace after the full-time whistle.

“We created quite a lot of chances early on in the game and probably could have taken them and been two or three up but that is football,” said City defender Stones.

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By LORI EWING

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