Mohamed Salah warmed up for Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final against Manchester United with a record-breaking goal in Liverpool’s 6-1 Europa League demolition of Sparta Prague at Anfield.

Jurgen Klopp’s side were already virtually guaranteed a quarter-final place after their 5-1 first-leg victory but four goals in the opening 13-and-a-half minutes started the rout.

They were only the second team in major UEFA competition history to score four inside the first 14 minutes, after Chelsea against Jeunesse Hautcharage in the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1971-72, but Salah is one for setting standards not matching them.

The Egypt international, playing his first 90 minutes since New Year’s Day – due to the African Nations Cup and the hamstring injury he sustained playing in the tournament – scored the third goal for his 20th of the campaign.

It was the seventh-successive season he has reached the milestone and the first time any Liverpool player in their 132-year history had achieved such a feat.

If he needed any tuning up before the trip to Old Trafford then the Czech champions provided it as he also claimed two assists in that early blitz, with 19-year-old Bobby Clark benefiting to score his first goal for the club and Cody Gakpo turning home his cross from close range.

Darwin Nunez opened the scoring with a clinical strike from 16 yards – just seven minutes earlier – with the best of the quartet but that was forgotten in the blur of goals which followed as Sparta’s players were left chasing shadows and questioning their own abilities.

When the fourth goal went in, captain Ladislav Krejci, whose mistake had led to the second, called a crisis meeting in the middle of the pitch.

It all seemed a bit futile as even though their task at kick-off was an improbable one, their defending was so naive it bordered on the embarrassing.

Midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai, who added the fifth two minutes into the second half, crossed for Nunez to clip home a shot in the seventh minute for his 17th of the season and his sixth in as many games.

But instead of keeping it tight, the visitors continued to play out from the back and when Salah charged down Krejci, the rebound fell kindly for Clark to slot under goalkeeper Peter Vindahl.

The favour was returned when Clark muscled Jaroslav Zleny off the ball 25 yards out to tee up Salah to curl home his milestone goal, Gakpo then turning home the Egyptian’s cross from close range after more sloppy defending.

Nunez ballooned over Liverpool’s easiest chance from six yards from another Salah cross before Conor Bradley’s fierce drive was parried by the goalkeeper.

Veljko Birmancevic held off the backtracking Wataru Endo to poke a shot past Caoimhin Kelleher just before the break but it was a brief respite as, after Nunez, Endo and Joe Gomez were replaced during the interval, Szoboszlai’s near-post drive took a deflection on the way in.

When Vindahl’s punch at a corner only reached the edge of the area Harvey Elliott fired in a low shot which Gakpo touched in with a cheeky backheel.

The Netherlands international wasted a glorious chance for his hat-trick, blazing over with only the goalkeeper to beat and despite taking his tally to 13 for the season, he is unlikely to start at the weekend.

Klopp’s preferred front three of Salah, Nunez and Luis Diaz will have 48 goals between them and the team as a whole have 117 goals in 45 games.

They will fancy their chances against a United side who have kept just four clean sheets – three of which came against mid-tabled League One opponents Wigan and Premier League strugglers Nottingham Forest and Everton – since they became the only club in the last 55 matches to prevent Liverpool scoring in a goalless draw in December.

Kevin De Bruyne will miss Manchester City’s FA Cup quarter-final against Newcastle on Saturday with a minor groin injury.

The news emerged after the City playmaker was not included in Belgium’s squad for their international friendlies against the Republic of Ireland and England later this month.

The PA news agency understands the problem is not considered too serious by City and the club are hopeful he will be fit for their crucial Premier League clash with Arsenal on March 31.

It is nevertheless another setback for De Bruyne after missing most of the first half of the campaign following hamstring surgery.

It is unclear when the 32-year-old suffered the injury. He looked frustrated to be substituted after 69 minutes of last Sunday’s 1-1 draw at title rivals Liverpool but there was no suggestion at the time he was injured.

It is City’s second fitness blow in the space of a few days after goalkeeper Ederson was ruled out for up to four weeks with a thigh injury.

The Brazilian was hurt in a collision with Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez – in which he conceded a penalty – at Anfield and was replaced by number two Stefan Ortega.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists the return of Michael Edwards as Fenway Sports Group’s chief executive of football has not made him change his mind about leaving at the end of the season.

The German has spoken to Edwards, with whom he had a very successful relationship as the club’s sporting director until he left in 2022, after his appointment was confirmed on Tuesday, but there will be no dramatic U-turn.

Edwards spent over a decade at Anfield, initially as performance director, and owners FSG targeted him for a new role to oversee the huge transition which will take place this summer when Klopp leaves as the club also need a new sporting director – expected to be Bournemouth’s Richard Hughes – as well as a manager.

Asked whether Edwards has asked him about reversing his decision, Klopp said: “No, because – and it’s very important in his job – he’s not dumb.

“That was not a subject to talk about. Can you imagine if I changed my mind now? Can you? Of course not.

“It would be like when I said I’d never (move to) another club in England and next year I signed for our neighbours or a club who needs a coach.

“I don’t say these things without thinking about them before. It would mean I realise only now how great this club is – I have known about it all the time.

“For me it is the best club in the world and I am still leaving anyway. That’s what I’ve been trying to explain.

“I just want this club to do as well as somehow possible, and I’m really sure (that can happen) if we create a good basis with the right people in charge, and Michael is a top choice.

“I think it is a top solution, honestly, and our conversation was obviously great.”

What the papers say

Liverpool have expressed their faith in Colombian winger Luis Diaz after telling Spanish giants Barcelona that the 27-year-old is not for sale and is a part of their long-term plans, the Daily Mirror reports. Diaz has scored six goals and created three more in 27 games in the Premier League for the club this season.

The Mirror says Manchester United have set a price tag of £43million on striker Mason Greenwood with an unnamed Saudi Pro League interested in the 22-year-old’s signature. The forward has spent the season in La Liga at Spanish club Getafe on loan where he has scored six goals and assisted five more in 23 matches.

The Daily Mail reports Chelsea could be looking to offload several stars this summer including Raheem Sterling, Romelu Lukaku, Trevoh Chalobah and Marc Cucurella.

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Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola's honesty has been hugely refreshing for the Premier League, so says David James.

In what is set to be the final Premier League meeting between the great managerial rivals, Liverpool and Manchester City served up a thrilling 1-1 draw at Anfield on Sunday.

For the second time in the last three seasons, Liverpool and City have drawn both of their meetings in a Premier League campaign (2021-22 and 2023-24). Four of the last six meetings between the two in the top flight have ended level, as many as in the previous 17 combined (four).

Guardiola, meanwhile, is the manager to have beaten Klopp the most in the German's career, with 10 wins. But it is the same the other way around, with Klopp having overcome Guardiola's sides on 11 occasions.

With Klopp leaving Liverpool at the end of the season, the only way he and Guardiola can go head-to-head again in English football will be if the Reds and City were to meet in the FA Cup, should they progress beyond their respective quarter-final ties, and former England goalkeeper James believes the honesty that both men have provided during their stints in the top tier has been hugely impressive.

"There's one thing about these two and I think it's their honesty," he told Stats Perform.

"Right from the get go when Pep turned up [in 2016], the way that he talked about his football. I think you can see in how his teams are playing games.

"After matches, win, lose or draw, he would tell people how he thought the performance went. I think that was refreshing because a lot of managers still avoid the hard questions when people talk about performances, whether it was good or bad.

"Pep honestly responded. I think with Jurgen, [it's] the honesty just in general. In terms of him announcing that he's going to step down as Liverpool manager. I think that the way he comes over, you just believe everything he says.

"That is not to suggest he isn't telling the truth, but that's what I love about it. I think what they've done is move the benchmark for other managers coming in.

"In regards to a rivalry, I think they love each other and hate each other at the same time. They're so good and they've kept this league so honest, it's been amazing."

Asked for his thoughts on how Liverpool go about replacing Klopp, who has been in post since 2015, James added: "Obviously with Jurgen having to be replaced for next season, it'll be interesting what type of manager Liverpool get.

"Because football-wise you can get a manager that has more influence on the pitch that Jurgen has but off the field it will be difficult to replace him."

Liverpool have been heavily linked with Xabi Alonso, though Bayern Munich are also in the hunt for the Bayer Leverkusen coach.

UEFA is bracing itself for the “extremely challenging” possibility of a Rangers v Liverpool Europa League final in Dublin.

European football’s governing body has reserved the 82,000-capacity Croke Park stadium as a potential fan zone, but is concerned even that might not be enough to accommodate everyone who may come to Dublin without a ticket to soak up the atmosphere for the match on Wednesday, May 22.

Both clubs have big followings in Ireland and remain in contention to reach the finale at the Aviva Stadium, with Rangers level with Benfica heading into the second leg at Ibrox on Thursday and Liverpool 5-1 up against Sparta Prague with the return at Anfield to come.

There are other permutations too which may also prove a headache for UEFA, whose general secretary Theodore Theodoridis said on Tuesday: “One of the biggest challenges for us this year could be the Europa League final.

“Under certain conditions, because of the potential teams that could qualify, this might end up being the most challenging for us.

“We know they will bring a number of supporters without tickets and then there is the issue of potential public viewing venues.

There are a couple of pairings – I won’t speculate on the names but you are clever enough to work it out – that would be extremely challenging to find ways to accommodate everybody that will be present for that game

 

“We have already reserved Croke Park as a potential public viewing venue, but that could not be enough.

“There are a couple of pairings – I won’t speculate on the names but you are clever enough to work it out – that would be extremely challenging to find ways to accommodate everybody that will be present for that game.

“We are working on this already, together with the local authorities and also Football Supporters Europe.

“If we do get to one of those scenarios, we will also go to the supporters of the clubs involved to find the best solution.

“The biggest problem we have now is whether Croke Park would be big enough – because we think we would need more alternatives for public viewing for the people who will be in Dublin.

“It’s not an easy operation and it is just for a couple of scenarios which would make it extremely complicated – especially with clubs who already have a large fanbase on the island of Ireland.

“But we are working on it and will involve the fanbases as well. We have to see who gets to the semis and then we will start to work with them as well.”

Former sporting director Michael Edwards is returning to Liverpool and will spearhead the club’s transition to a post Jurgen Klopp era.

Edwards spent over a decade at Anfield as performance director and sporting director before leaving in 2022 but has agreed to take up a role as chief executive of football for the club’s owners Fenway Sports Group.

Discussions began following the shock news in January of manager Klopp’s departure at the end of the season, with further talks held in Boston earlier this month.

Edwards will take over from FSG president Mike Gordon as the day-to-day decision maker on football matters.

Top of Edwards’ to-do list will be appointing a new sporting director, who will then be responsible for recruiting Klopp’s successor.

Edwards declined several offers to return to football following his Anfield exit, holding talks with Chelsea and Manchester United, and the 44-year-old said: “I am very grateful to Mike, John (Henry), Tom (Werner) and the ownership group for offering me the opportunity to take on this new leadership role within FSG.

“I was humbled by the desire and persistence they showed in wanting to work with me again. This is definitely not something that I take for granted given their track record across sport and business.

“It was vital for me that, if I did return, it had to be with renewed vigour and energy. In practice, this means having fresh challenges and opportunities. As such, one of the biggest factors in my decision is the commitment to acquire and oversee an additional club, growing this area of their organisation.

“In assuming this role, I fully understand that it comes with great expectations, and I therefore intend to identify, hire, and subsequently empower leaders who meet and embody the club’s values and ambitions.

“Having served the club previously I need no reminder of how much emotional investment is made by supporters in the city itself, as well as across the UK and the world. I am looking forward to getting started.”

Edwards will leave his current role with sports management business Ludonautics on June 1.

Gordon hailed his return, saying: “Michael is one of the most formidable executive talents in world football and John, Tom, and I are absolutely thrilled to have secured his services for our business.”

Manchester United midfielder Mason Mount has returned to training after four months on the sidelines.

The 25-year-old has endured a difficult first season at Old Trafford, managing just 12 appearances in all competitions since joining from Chelsea over the summer.

Mount has not played since coming off the bench in United’s 1-0 win against Luton in November, but a return from a calf complaint is finally in sight.

 

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The Premier League club confirmed on Tuesday that the England international is back in training, just days after Erik ten Hag offered a promising update on him.

“Mason Mount, I think he is in a good spell now and he will return shortly,” the Dutchman said on Friday. “I think after the international break.”

Mount’s presence will be a welcome boost to a United side looking to push for Champions League qualification.

Ten Hag expects Harry Maguire, Rasmus Hojlund and Aaron Wan-Bissaka to be back for Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final against Liverpool, but Lisandro Martinez, Anthony Martial, Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia remain sidelined.

David James still thinks Liverpool or Manchester City will win the Premier League title, despite Sunday's draw between the pair leaving Arsenal at the summit.

Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola's final Premier League meeting ended in a frantic 1-1 draw at Anfield, with Arsenal, who beat Brentford 2-1 on Saturday, remaining clear of the Reds on goal difference at the top of the table.

Liverpool accumulated 2.7 expected goals (xG) to City's 1.56, but shared the spoils as Alexis Mac Allister's 50th-minute penalty cancelled out John Stones' inventive set-piece opener.

Though Mikel Arteta's Gunners sit narrowly ahead of Liverpool and a point clear of third-placed City with 10 league games remaining, James believes Sunday's draw does not favour Arsenal in the title race.

"I think this is the worst result for Arsenal, even though they ended the weekend top of the table," former City and Liverpool goalkeeper James told Stats Perform.

"If Arsenal slip up, both City and Liverpool are in exactly the right place to take advantage. Whereas, had one team won, then [Arsenal] would only essentially be looking at one team in a preferential position, even if they were in second place.

"I still see this as a Liverpool and Man City race. I think Arsenal, of course, are there numerically, but I think when it comes to the crunch, these two are the best teams in the country, and one of these will be crowned Premier League champions."

Liverpool had 19 shots on Sunday, their most in a Premier League clash against City, with 12 of those coming in the second half – a record high Guardiola's side have faced after half-time in a league match since May 2021 (12 against Brighton).

Though Liverpool may lament Luis Diaz missing a gilt-edged chance in the second period, as well as a contentious decision right at the end when Mac Allister was caught by Jeremy Doku inside City's area, James insists the Reds should take encouragement from their showing against last season's treble winners.

"[Liverpool] could have beaten the best team in the world with the better chances in the game," the 53-cap England international continued.

"That would give me confidence in the short term, of not getting the points, but that you can play the best team in the world and should beat them, that's a nice feeling."

James lauded "a fantastic game of football" but suggested an inexperienced and injury-hit Liverpool may have lacked a clinical edge, owing to their young side.

Indeed, with Conor Bradley (20), Harvey Elliott (20) and Jarell Quansah (21) all starting, it was the first time Liverpool had named three players aged 21 or under in a Premier League starting XI against City since March 2015, when Raheem Sterling, Emre Can and Lazar Markovic all featured.

James, who played 214 times for the Reds, added: "I don't want to say that nobody is allowed to miss chances…

"But the crucial moments in the game, I think in the first half in particular, Liverpool were getting into very good positions and were not making what I thought were the right decisions at the right time.

"[That was] either the correct pass or the shot, it was a touch that allowed City to get back into the box. Things like this, I think are understandable.

"Bradley, who has been fantastic since he came into the side, was culpable a couple of times, I think that might be just experience.

"He's playing in his biggest match ever, in front of the Kop, and there was a moment where you think just put your foot through it. You're playing against a fantastic team and there are a lot of influences on it."

Whether a point dropped for Liverpool or one gained for City, James believes both sides will look back on the showdown as decisive come the end of the campaign.

He concluded: "Ultimately though, it won't be until the end of the season. If the league is decided or lost by a point by either of these teams, they'll look at if they could have got that extra two points and won the title."

What the papers say

Manchester United have identified 21-year-old Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite as their top transfer target this summer, according to the Daily Star. Branthwaite has a deal with the Toffees until 2027.

The Daily Mirror says United will pursue Branthwaite regardless of boss Erik ten Hag’s future at the club, with the England Under-21 international valued at £75million.

Meanwhile, Everton are said to be interested in Hull defender Jacob Greaves, Football Insider reports, with the 23-year-old likely to leave the club if they miss promotion to the Premier League.

The i says Tiago Pinto, who was formerly at Roma, is interested in taking over the sporting director role from Dan Ashworth at Newcastle, who looks to be headed to Manchester United.

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Bruno Guimaraes: Football Transfers says Manchester City are interested in a bid for the 26-year-old Newcastle midfielder who has a £100million clause in his contract.

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Liverpool midfielder Wataru Endo was encouraged by their performance against Manchester City and hopes the point they earned at Anfield will ultimately be important in the title race.

Pep Guardiola’s side were probably happier with the 1-1 draw even though it left them third in the table, a point behind Liverpool who were kept off top spot by Arsenal’s goal difference.

The Gunners still have to go to the Etihad Stadium and should both Liverpool and City win all their remaining games, Jurgen Klopp’s team would be crowned champions.

“Second half we had more chances than Man City so, yeah, we are disappointed about the result but we need to move forward,” Endo told the club’s official website.

“But the way we played, with how we created the chances, I think it was amazing. If we keep playing like we did, the results will come.

“At the end of the season, this one point might be important. That’s what we want to say. So, we need to keep playing like (this) and just try to win every game.”

Liverpool have history of taking the title race down to the final day against City, missing out by a point on two occasions as in 2018-19 they finished second with a record 97-point haul and in 2021-22 when they were runners up on 92.

In the first instance they won nine and drew one of their last 10 games – denied by City’s remarkable finish of 14 successive victories – and in 2022 they won all but two of their final 18 fixtures, drawing against City and Tottenham.

It appears the Reds will have to do something similar, if not better, if they are to win a second title in four years but, due to the nature of the three-horse race, no-one is quite sure what will be required.

“I don’t think I have ever been involved in a title race with three teams,” said manager Klopp, whose side are still in contention to win four trophies this season despite struggling with a host of injuries.

“Germany was usually Bayern, but in one year we (Borussia Dortmund) became champions it was Leverkusen, and here there was only one team (City) who became champions usually and we stepped in between one time.

“I literally don’t know if it changes something. We have 10 games to play, so obviously nothing is decided. There are plenty of games.

“The next one in the league is Brighton at home, traditionally it is not our favourite opponent. It is not that we think, ‘Thank God it’s Brighton’.

 

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“That is a tough game for us. At one point we play Tottenham here, we have to go to Aston Villa.

“I would prefer to have 30 points between us and all the other teams but the realistic thing is are we really in that race from a performance point of view.

“But we need the players back. All the stories we created with the kids and stuff are wonderful, wonderful, I couldn’t be happier about that, but of course we fight for the biggest prize in football.”

Liverpool and Manchester City’s draw on Sunday left the Premier League title race poised for a thrilling last 10 matches.

Leaders Arsenal and second-placed Liverpool are level on points, with City one behind and here, the PA news agency looks at how the battle is shaping up.

Deja vu

City have won five of the last six titles, a run only interrupted by Liverpool’s 2019-20 triumph.

There are strong echoes of the 2018-19 and 2021-22 seasons, which both saw City champions by a single point ahead of Jurgen Klopp’s Reds.

Liverpool finished the former season on a nine-match winning run to push City all the way, only for Pep Guardiola’s men to win their last 14 to stay ahead.

City won nine and drew three of their last 12 in 2021-22 to hold off a Liverpool side who won 16 and drew two of their last 18, including a 1-1 draw between the two rivals.

That scoreline has been repeated in both this season’s meetings – and with Klopp leaving his post in the summer, that sees his Premier League head-to-head with Guardiola finish six wins to five in Klopp’s favour with seven draws. City have scored 32 goals to Liverpool’s 27.

Both are flying again in the second half of this season, with City winning 10 and drawing three games since their last defeat at Aston Villa on December 6. Liverpool have won eight of their last 10 but could be left to rue Sunday’s draw and a defeat to Arsenal.

A new player has entered the game

The difference this time around is the emergence of Mikel Arteta’s side, who made a game run at last season’s title before fading in the home stretch.

Since returning from this season’s winter break in Dubai they have won eight consecutive league games, scoring 33 goals and conceding four – which could be significant if it comes down to goal difference. Arsenal’s is currently seven better than Liverpool’s and 11 better than City’s as they are the league’s top scorers, with 70 goals, and also have the best defensive record with 24 conceded.

Last season a seven-match winning run from February took them eight points clear – having played a game more than City – but they won only three of their last nine and lost 4-1 to City along the way to finish five points behind.

Victory in the title battle would be Arsenal’s first since 2004 and they will need to channel the spirit of Arsene Wenger’s “Invincibles” – who went that full league season unbeaten – if they are to avoid a repeat of last season’s near miss.

Up for grabs

The challengers have similar run-ins, with four opponents – Aston Villa, Brighton, Tottenham and Wolves – common to all three. Liverpool have Villa away but Spurs and Brighton at home, the inverse of City and Arsenal’s fixtures, while Wolves welcome Arsenal to Molineux but travel to City and Liverpool.

Tottenham’s visit on the weekend of April 27 stands out among Arsenal’s fixtures and Liverpool also face a derby, with a date to be confirmed for their trip to Everton. City have completed their engagements against local rivals Manchester United, who still have to play Liverpool and Arsenal at Old Trafford.

Liverpool have bottom club Sheffield United still to play, while Arsenal and City both host 18th-placed Luton. The average current league position of Arsenal’s remaining opponents is 9.3, compared to 9.5 for City and 10.1 for Liverpool.

Midfielder Rodri insists Manchester City will embrace the challenge of having to win at least nine of their remaining 10 matches to lift a record-breaking fourth successive Premier League.

The 1-1 draw at Anfield left Pep Guardiola’s side in third place, albeit only a point behind Arsenal who top the table on goal difference from Liverpool.

City face Arsenal next at home at the end of the month, followed by potentially-tricky tests against Aston Villa and Tottenham – also at the Etihad – but as the draw at Anfield was only the second time they have dropped points in the league since mid-December, the Spain international is confident they can put together another winning run.

“We need a break. We have the FA Cup game (against Newcastle) and then go to the international teams so it will be good for us to refresh and give the last push at the end of the season,” he said.

“We know how good we are in the last part of the season, we just need to charge the batteries again and focus on the last 10 games.

“It seems you have to win nine or 10 games to win this Premier League. This is the challenge and we are going to go for it.”

Rodri accepted they were not at their best against Liverpool despite taking the lead through John Stones and having the better of the first half.

Liverpool bounced back after the break and following Alex Mac Allister’s equalising penalty, it was the hosts who looked more likely to win.

“An incredible game. We started really well in terms of chances and dominance and I think it was quite good. The second half was their half,” added the City midfielder.

“Of course with the crowd and the way they played and pressed, we weren’t clinical enough to find the spaces.

“We made a few mistakes but with the high press it is difficult, you are not precise with the ball and that’s what happened in terms of the penalty.

“It was a mistake, but at the end we competed. It wasn’t our best performance, but it wasn’t a bad point here.

“They are fighting for the Premier League like us and we got a point. It means a lot.

“We are there in the fight and this club is about the mentality of the team. Sometimes when we don’t play well, (it’s important) we don’t lose.

“Sometimes it is the opposite and we are the team who has to defend a little bit more. We didn’t create many chances and it is what it is, we have to adapt sometimes.

“We wanted three points, but in the final analysis it is fair.”

Jurgen Klopp was adamant Liverpool should have been awarded a stoppage-time penalty in a dramatic end to his title-chasing side’s 1-1 draw with champions Manchester City.

An absorbing top-of-the-table Premier League contest at Anfield was halted for a late VAR check after City’s Jeremy Doku caught Alexis Mac Allister in the chest with his boot but nothing was given.

The Reds had already been given one penalty early in the second half, with Mac Allister converting to cancel out John Stones’ 23rd-minute opener.

Liverpool manager Klopp told Sky Sports: “This situation, on all positions on the pitch, is 100 per cent a foul and it’s a yellow card.

“He hit the ball but he can only hit the ball because his foot was right there. If the ball is not there, he kills him.

“It’s as easy as that. It’s a penalty for all football people on the planet. If you don’t think it is one then maybe you’re not a football person.”

Klopp was nevertheless happy with his side’s performance against a strong City team.

Whilst City twice hit the woodwork in the second half Liverpool, who have been hampered by a lengthy injury list in recent weeks, had spells of dominance and several chances to win the game themselves.

The result left Arsenal leading the table on goal difference only from Liverpool, with City just a point further back with 10 games remaining.

Klopp said: “We would have loved to use one of the massive chances we created.

“Yes, we are lucky when (Jeremy) Doku hit the post but we played an exceptional football game.

“For us, besides the result, the most important information is that we are right there. We go the distance.

“For us it is probably a little bit like, how did we get through all that and that we are still there? It is crazy with all these games and the squad situation we have.

“Today I saw the best 53 minutes we had against Manchester City. It was exceptional how we played.”

City boss Pep Guardiola admitted his side had survived an onslaught in the second period.

He said: “We spoke at half-time that in this stadium, if you have to defend something, you have to play and play and play.

“We gave away the penalty and, sooner or later, with this stadium, you have 15 or 20 minutes and it looks like a tsunami coming for everybody who has the ball.

“It is not easy but we never stopped trying to play. They had their chances, we had our chances and at the end of the game it (draw) is what happened.”

Guardiola, whose side are chasing a fourth successive Premier League crown and a sixth in seven years, is pleased to be involved in the thick of another title race.

He said: “Still there are 10 games to go, 30 points to play for, one point difference.

“The important thing is still we are there, after where we came from in previous seasons still we are there.

“Except one year when Liverpool won it with a lot of points, we were always there.”

Pep Guardiola felt Manchester City had survived a “tsunami” after the champions’ crunch Premier League title clash at Liverpool on Sunday ended 1-1.

John Stones gave City a 23rd-minute lead in an absorbing contest at Anfield but the Reds hit back with an Alexis Mac Allister penalty early in the second half.

Both sides had opportunities to win the game but Liverpool had spells of dominance and Guardiola was relieved to come through them.

The result leaves the title race thrillingly poised, with Arsenal leading on goal difference from Liverpool and with City just one point behind with 10 games remaining.

City manager Guardiola said: “We spoke at half-time that in this stadium, if you have to defend something, you have to play and play and play.

“We gave away the penalty and, sooner or later, with this stadium, you have 15 or 20 minutes and it looks like a tsunami coming for everybody who has the ball.

“It is not easy but we never stopped trying to play. They had their chances, we had our chances and at the end of the game it (draw) is what happened.”

Guardiola, whose side are chasing a fourth successive Premier League crown and a sixth in seven years, is pleased to be involved in the thick of another title race.

He said: “Still there are 10 games to go, 30 points to play for, one point difference.

“The important thing is still we are there, after where we came from in previous seasons still we are there. Except one year when Liverpool won it with a lot of points, we were always there.”

The ball twice hit the Liverpool goal frame in the second half as Jeremy Doku struck a post and the ball also thumped off the bar after rebounding off Phil Foden, but the hosts felt they should have had another penalty late on.

Doku appeared to catch Mac Allister high in the chest in stoppage time but referee Michael Oliver gave nothing and VAR did not overturn the decision.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp had no doubt it should have been a spot-kick but did not want to make a fuss of it.

He said: “Yes (it was a penalty) but whatever I think now will not change that. I think everyone in this room thinks, if he whistles a penalty, it is not a scandal.

“He hits him on the chest. Yes, he touches the ball before but does that make any difference on any position of the pitch if your leg is that high?

“Why would the guy in the VAR studio think that’s not clear and obvious? What must you have for lunch if you think that’s not clear and obvious?

“But I’m not angry. I really don’t care. I’m already over it.”

Klopp was pleased with the performance of his side, given their lengthy injury list, and is determined to battle on.

The German, who is stepping down at the end of the season, said: “We would have loved to use one of the massive chances we created.

“Yes, we are lucky when Doku hit the post but we played an exceptional football game.

“For us, besides the result, the most important information is that we are right there. We go the distance.

“For us it is probably a little bit like, how did we get through all that and that we are still there? It is crazy with all these games and the squad situation we have.

“Today I saw the best 53 minutes we had against Manchester City. It was exceptional how we played.”

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