Martin Rickett Stones clears off the line and through Salah's legs.
Sane settles compelling top-of-the-table clash to cut Liverpool's lead to four
Liverpool could have ended the night 10 clear in the Premier League, but have been reeled right back in.

MANCHESTER CITY ENSURED the Premier League title race will again be a tight one as they reduced Liverpool’s lead to four points thanks to a 2-1 win over the leaders at the Etihad tonight.

An intense, high-tempo meeting between Pep Guardiola’s reigning champions and Jurgen Klopp’s leaders was settled by Leroy Sane’s superb 72nd-minute strike that went in off the post just eight minutes after Roberto Firmino’s header had cancelled out Sergio Aguero’s first-half blast.

Liverpool came agonisingly close to opening the scoring after 18 minutes as Mo Salah’s through ball unleashed Sadio Mane.

The Senegalese star’s shot beat Ederson, but not the post. Chaos reigned on the rebound however as John Stones smashed a clearance against his ‘keeper and hearts were in mouths around Manchester as the ball looped goalwards only for Stones to hook a clearance – improbably through Salah’s legs – mere centimetres before it crossed the line.

The opening goal came from a thunderous left-foot shot from Aguero, ghosting ahead of Dejan Lovren at the near post and steady a low cross brilliantly before spinning to fire into the roof of the net beyond Alisson to give City a 1-0 lead through half-time.

Liverpool showed their title credentials to force their way back into the game and earned an equaliser on 64 minutes. Trent Alexander-Arnold’s searching cross was met on the back post by Andy Robertson, who did enough to put the ball back across the face of goal where Firmino stooped to head home with 25 minutes on the clock.

Manchester City v Liverpool - Premier League - Etihad Stadium Martin Rickett Sane celebrates the winner. Martin Rickett

Parity lasted just eight minutes for the Reds before Raheem Sterling raided space and slipped Sane a chance in the left of the area, where the German drove a low left-footed shot across Alisson and in off the base of the post.

Both sides had chances to give the game a fourth goal. Sterling and Aguero both appeared to need too much time to unleash a shot, the Argentine attempting to round Alisson before the ‘keeper blocked his shot. City survived another goalmouth scramble as Ederson failed to deal with a corner and the ball refused to drop kindly for a red shirt before Kompany headed clear.

Murray Kinsella, Gavan Casey and Andy Dunne look back on a memorable year for Irish rugby.

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