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How Kevin De Bruyne and Mohamed Salah matched up in Man City-Liverpool clash

De Bruyne fired City into an early lead at the Etihad.

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Kevin De Bruyne and Mohamed Salah (Martin Rickett/PA).

Kevin De Bruyne and Mohamed Salah (Martin Rickett/PA).

Kevin De Bruyne and Mohamed Salah (Martin Rickett/PA).

The top-of-the-table clash between Premier League rivals Manchester and Liverpool ended 2-2 after an entertaining encounter at the Etihad Stadium.

It was billed as a crunch game in the title race and the result ensured the advantage remained with City, who kept their one-point lead with seven fixtures to play.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the performances of City’s Kevin De Bruyne and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah.

Influence

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp speaks to Mohamed Salah on the touchline (Martin Rickett/PA).

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp speaks to Mohamed Salah on the touchline (Martin Rickett/PA).

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp speaks to Mohamed Salah on the touchline (Martin Rickett/PA).

De Bruyne: Early pass released Gabriel Jesus down the right which led to City’s first chance inside five minutes. Was the controlling influence for most of the first half but was quieter after the break until one incisive pass released Raheem Sterling to score, only for the England man to be denied by VAR.

Salah: Had a small but not decisive part in the build-up to Liverpool’s first goal. First real chance to run at the defence came midway through the first half but his decision to knock the ball past Aymeric Laporte and run was the wrong one. Picked out Sadio Mane brilliantly for Liverpool’s second equaliser and also played in Jota who almost scored their third.

Goal threat

De Bruyne: His fifth-minute strike, albeit deflected, gave goalkeeper Alisson Becker no chance as it went in off a post. Hit the side-netting with a shot on the turn midway through the first half.

Salah: Did not have a shot in anger until an effort deflected wide in the second half as he cut in from the right and, to add insult to injury, he did not even receive a corner.

Individual contribution

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Mohamed Salah tussles for the ball with Joao Cancelo (Jon Super/AP)

Mohamed Salah tussles for the ball with Joao Cancelo (Jon Super/AP)

Mohamed Salah tussles for the ball with Joao Cancelo (Jon Super/AP)

De Bruyne: Knitted the City performance together, particularly in the first half. Drew a booking from Andy Robertson after easily skipping past the left-back on the touchline. Early goal set the tone for a pulsating game.

Salah: Tracked back much more than he is expected to do to cover the runs of Joao Cancelo but offered little going forward in the first half and looked short of confidence to take players on. Provided the assist for Liverpool’s second equaliser and continued to work tirelessly up and down the pitch but that impacted his threat in the final third.

Overall

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Kevin De Bruyne is brought down by Virgil van Dijk (Martin Ricket/PA)

Kevin De Bruyne is brought down by Virgil van Dijk (Martin Ricket/PA)

Kevin De Bruyne is brought down by Virgil van Dijk (Martin Ricket/PA)

De Bruyne had the much better all-round performance, with an early goal and significant influence on the direction of play in the opening 45 minutes. He found it more difficult after the break as Liverpool improved and the direction of play changed but still posed the occasional threat with his passing. After a relatively anonymous first half Salah sprang into life immediately after the break when he had his best 20-minute spell, but the sheer volume of his workload in defensive areas left him looking spent well before the end.

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