There was a period in the first half when Manchester City looked like they could run away with the game. Raheem Sterling had already given his side the lead in Sunday’s Community Shield at Wembley and now, through Bernardo Silva and Kevin De Bruyne, City were carving Liverpool’s defence open at will.
Had last season been a blip, an anomaly we were unlikely to see again? How could we have ever hoped to keep pace with Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City machine for two years running? We were naive and foolish.
However, Jurgen Klopp’s belief in his team, thankfully, is far, far stronger. Liverpool managed to keep City’s lead to just one goal going in at the break. When The Reds emerged after half time, they were a different animal.
Liverpool pinned City back in their own area for the vast majority of the second half, limiting Guardiola’s side to two speculative efforts from David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne during those 45 minutes.
At the other end, Mohamed Salah popped up with chance after chance – hitting the post and forcing Kyle Walker into an acrobatic clearance off the line.
Virgil van Dijk also had an effort hit the underside of the crossbar and bounce down, just clinging to the line to save City.
Amidst all the action, Liverpool’s second-half substitute Joel Matip popped up with an equaliser after some ridiculously composed play from Van Dijk on the left.
Undoubtedly, many Reds fans will, like me, have been extremely worried in the first half when City looked a class apart. Yet, after the interval, there was only one team in it and Jurgen Klopp’s side deserved to win the match. The 1-1 final score was harsh on The Reds.
City took the Shield thanks to their five perfect penalties but Pep Guardiola will know that the important action took place during the 90 minutes.
No doubt, he will be well aware that City have another battle on their hands for the Premier League title.
Naby Keita is looking fresh. Fabinho is starting the season this time around. Sadio Mané has just returned to Melwood and Mohamed Salah will soon find his shooting boots.
Fear not, for Liverpool are set to write many twists in the tale of the 2019/20 season.