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  • Writer's pictureBy Yann Tear at Anfield

Anfield stalemate looks good for Arsenal on paper, but it comes laced with warnings

Liverpool 1-1 Manchester City

On the face of it, this was a very good weekend for the Gunners.

There will not be too many occasions that their two big rivals for that coveted Premier League title both drop two points.

There may not be too many weekends that finish with them perched proudly on the shoulders of the two North West powerhouses.

It has taken eight wins in a row , shed loads of goals and a late winner against Brentford on Saturday night to do it. It may well take something equally other-worldly to finish the job.

It is particularly rare for City to yield any ground, so unrelenting are they under an ever-hungry Pep.

They went into this seismic summit clash on a run of 16 wins in 17 games, in all competitions. Only Chelsea's battling 1-1 draw at the Etihad interrupted that sequence.

Liverpool themselves have been marching almost as prolifically to the beat of Jurgen's drum - a team and a fanbase on a mission to make the German's farewell season a memorable, trophy-laden one.

The stadium has sometimes been mocked for failing to live up to its reputation as a seething cauldron. 'Where's your famous atmosphere?' Chelsea fans, for one, have been inspired to chant. No such accusations could be levelled this time. The newly opened Anfield Road stand has intensified the maelstrom they love to whip up here.

It was a thrilling, fascinating duel in the rain between two foes offering a smorgasbord of intrigue and sub-plots. The subduing of Erling Haaland by the magnificent Virgil van Dijk, the manic energy of Luis Diaz, who missed one of the game's best chances. The Jeremy Doku cameo of a shot against a post and nearly concession of a late penalty for a raised boot.

City's precision and control - a team functioning like the highest-end Rolex, all interlocking components pulling smoothly in the same direction - had the game bending to their will but Liverpool found a way to disrupt that remarkable piece of machinery. Their second half excellence deserved reward and an Alexis Mac Allister penalty cancelled John Stones' first half goal.

So where does this all leave Mikel Arteta's men? Well it leaves them in the knowledge they cannot rely on their title rivals to drop too many points in the 10 games that remain for all three clubs.

Arsenal have to keep winning and some huge tests lie in wait - not least trips to Spurs, Man United (where they usually lose) and to City on Easter Sunday. Last year, Arsenal's title tilt finally unravelled at the Etihad. Perhaps this year will be different.

They have Declan Rice now and a little more nous. They also have the home win at the Emirates against City to fortify their belief. There ought to be no inferiority complex this time around.

But they will need to find a way of disrupting that control and precision - as Liverpool did at Anfield. Achieve that and they will be in business maybe, though they must all the while hope Klopp's side don't chew up all opponents without any mishaps.

It should be quite a ride in these final two months. Hold on to your hats.


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