LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Mohamed Salah weaved through player after player, resisting challenges and bamboozling the defense before coolly placing the ball in the corner of the net.
“It is pure world class,” Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp said. “What a player.”
Anfield had only five minutes to celebrate and savor the Liverpool striker’s individual brilliance before Kevin De Bruyne’s deflected strike drew Manchester City level for a second time.
A second half of high quality saw the winners of the last two Premier League titles draw 2-2 on Sunday after Rodri made a late intervention to prevent Fabinho scoring a winner for Liverpool.
It was Salah’s work that created the opening goal in the 59th minute. Receiving the ball inside his own half, the Egypt forward brushed off João Cancelo’s heart-hearted attempt at a challenge and drove forward as Aymeric Laporte backed off.
Sadio Mane arrived in the penalty area to receive the ball slipped in by Salah and he struck across goalkeeper Ederson into the net.
“We trained for that ball a lot in training,” Salah said, “and we try to do it in game.”
The combination worked but the lead lasted only 10 minutes. Gabriel Jesus was able to go past Curtis Jones as he cut in from the left before setting up for Foden to equalize in front of the Kop with his first league goal of the season.
The moment of brilliance from Salah came in the 76th as he jinked his way into the penalty area, skipping past City players and undeterred by a push on his back from Foden before restoring Liverpool’s lead by striking past Ederson into the far corner.
“It would be more special if it won the game,” Salah said after scoring in a seventh successive match.
But Liverpool’s failure to tighten up at the back allowed De Bruyne to equalize in the 81st, helped by right back Kyle Walker’s work in the Liverpool penalty area splitting the home defense.
A high ball over the top from City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne on the halfway line reached Phil Foden on the left flank. Liverpool failed to clear the pass into the penalty area from Foden and De Bruyne was primed to unleash a curling shot that was helped into the net via a deflection off Joel Matip.
Liverpool’s chance to win it came in the 87th after the ball landed at the far post when Fabinho had an open net. The Brazilian controlled the ball with his left foot before preparing to shoot with his right when Rodri made the decisive tackle to ensure defending champion City avoided a second league loss of the season.
“It’s one of the most difficult grounds to come to, and I thought we dealt with it really well,” Foden said. “It had it all, it was end-to-end at times. It was such a brilliant game, we stuck in there until the end.”
Liverpool, though, remains the only unbeaten team of the title challengers. The 2020 champions are a point behind Chelsea after seven games, while City is a further point behind in third but level on points with Manchester United, Everton and Brighton.
For City, it was a quick response to losing at Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on Tuesday.
“We were in the game and we came good not just once but twice and that makes me incredibly satisfied,” City manager Pep Guardiola said. “That won’t make you champions but the satisfaction is there.”
City has alleged one of its backroom staff was spat at by a supporter during the game, prompting a complaint to Liverpool.
“I didn’t see it,” Guardiola said. “I’m pretty sure Liverpool FC will take measures against this person. I know they are greater than this behavior.”
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