Kevin De Bruyne’s missed penalty proved costly for Manchester City as they played out an 1-1 draw with Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
Mohamed Salah did convert a 13th-minute spot-kick as the reigning Premier League champions struck the first blow in the heavyweight top-flight tussle, putting them on course to sit top of the table during November’s international break.
City, however, weathered the early storm amid the Manchester downpours before countering impressively through Gabriel Jesus, his sixth goal in his past seven league outings.
They could have scored again before half-time had the usually reliable De Bruyne not failed to convert from 12 yards out, the Belgian missing the target completely after another penalty was awarded for handball.
The majority of the pre-match focus had been on Jurgen Klopp’s team selection, though the German solved the selection poser involving Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino by picking both, seemingly deciding attack to be the best form of defence for his team following previous results in this fixture.
The bold approach reaped an early reward, albeit one gifted to them by Kyle Walker’s ill-timed lunge on Sadio Mane. Salah duly slotted home from the spot for his eighth league goal of the season.
Aggrieved following a potential foul on Raheem Sterling at the other end prior to the opener, City took their time to get to grips with Liverpool’s attacking system.
De Bruyne’s ability to find a pocket of space allowed him to set up the equaliser for Jesus, the Brazilian’s turn deceiving Trent Alexander-Arnold and allowing him to poke the ball beyond Alisson.
City had the chance to take the lead before the break. Joe Gomez was punished when a cross struck his outstretched arm, only for De Bruyne to uncharacteristically drag wide.
Jesus spurned a glorious opportunity of his own, heading Joao Cancelo’s inviting cross wide, during a second half that saw a more considered approach from both sets of players.
Liverpool faded as an attacking threat as the minutes ticked by, not aided by the loss of Alexander-Arnold to injury, but avoided suffering any late knockout blow, thereby maintaining the five-point gap between themselves and City.