Premier League Round-up: Liverpool and City show class as United slide

Klopp-Liverpool
In their impressive second-half showing against Man City, Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool's showed their title credentials, writes Ryan Baldi

Liverpool and Man City closed the weekend by demonstrating their title credentials at Anfield, while Man Utd kicked us off with a limp draw. Are United out of the title race, asks Ryan Baldi...

"Two players in particular stood out even among this glittering collection of global footballing stars – Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Phil Foden of City."

In a showdown between the last two Premier League champions, Liverpool and Manchester City demonstrated exactly why they are not only two of the finest sides the English top flight can boast but also two of the most impressive teams in Europe as they played out a thrilling 2-2 draw at Anfield on Sunday.

And two players in particular stood out even among this glittering collection of global footballing stars - Liverpool's Mohamed Salah and Phil Foden of City.

Foden started brightest of the pair, tearing the home side open time and time again down their right side in the first half, with Liverpool feeling the absence of Trent Alexander-Arnold - ruled out thanks to a training ground injury - as former City man James Milner, ordinarily so reliable a stand-in, struggled badly at right-back and could have been sent off for two bookings.

After the break, though, it was a moment of magic from Salah that opened things up, the Egyptian skipping away from Joao Cancelo's challenge on the halfway line and sliding Sadio Mane through to score.

Foden replied, firing home a tidy finish from the left side of the penalty area, then Salah restored Liverpool's advantage with an early contender for Goal of the Season, jinking away from three City defenders before firing across Ederson to score from the tightest of angles with his weaker right foot.

But City's 21-year-old England star wasn't done yet. He was heavily involved as Kevin De Bruyne scored the game's fourth and final goal. It was another break down the inside-left position from Foden, whose low cross was only partially cleared, falling the Belgian on the edge of the area.

Chelsea's comfortable 3-1 victory over Southampton at Stamford Bridge on Saturday means Thomas Tuchel's men finish the weekend having regained top spot in the table, but their impressive Anfield display has served only to strengthen reigning champions City's status as favourites to once again claim the Premier League title.

Pep Guardiola's men are available to back at 1.9620/21 in the Betfair Exchange Premier League Winner market. Liverpool can be backed at 6.05/1, while Chelsea are available to back at 4.03/1.

Meanwhile, after his stunning individual strike in the City stalemate, Salah is level with Leicester City's Jamie Vardy in the scoring chart. The Liverpool forward is available to back at 3.814/5 on the Exchange in the Premier League Top Goalscorer market.

More struggles for Solskjaer

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Manchester United might be trailing their cross-city rivals by virtue only of goal difference at present - one of four teams deadlocked on 14 points, just two points off top - but their momentum has them travelling in a very different direction.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer elected to start Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench for the visit of Everton in Saturday's early kick-off, and the manager's decision to rest the 36-year-old looked well placed as Anthony Martial put United ahead just before half-time with his first goal of the season.

But it was another sub-par display from the 20-time champions, who surrendered their lead in the 65th minute, when Everton calved easily through their resistance on a breakaway after a United corner, with Andros Townsend providing a clinical finish. Only the fact that Yerry Mina had strayed offside before he slotted home Tom Davies' centre five minutes from time prevented the Red Devils from being even more red faced.

That 1-1 draw means United have now won only two of their last six all-competitions games. Solskjaer's side have been decidedly unimpressive since their opening-day 5-1 demolition of Leeds and, facing a run of fixtures decidedly less favourable than their relatively soft start to the season, United are available to back at 22.021/1 in the Betfair Exchange Premier League Winner market.

Unfamiliar heights

Everton's impressive point at Old Trafford means they are among the cabal of clubs tied on 14 points.

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The Toffees have made some of the season's shrewdest signings - with Townsend, Salomon Rondon and Demarai Gray acquired for a combined outlay of just £1.7m - while former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitiez is beginning to win over hearts and minds with how quickly his new charges have adapted to his demands.

After a 10th-place finish under Carlo Ancelotti last term, Everton are available to back at 3.1511/5 on the Exchange in the Top 6 Finish market.

Brighton are the other side locked on 14 points with City, United and Everton, and Graham Potter's Seagulls once again impressed over the weekend, this time for how they outplayed Arsenal for large portions of their 0-0 draw at the Amex on Saturday evening. Brighton are available to back at 4.67/2 on the Betfair Exchange to end 2021-22 in the top six.

And Brentford, the surprise package of the season's opening weeks, are riding high in seventh, just two points behind Brighton and co after beating high-flying West Ham 2-1 at the London Stadium on Monday. Thomas Frank's big-punching newly promoted side are available to back at 12.011/1 on the Exchange to finish once position higher than their current lofty standing.

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English Premier League: English Premier League (Winner 2021/22)

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Friday 13 August, 8.00pm

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