Man City vs. Liverpool 3-2: Player ratings as De Bruyne’s performance secures the Carabao Cup victory

Man City vs. Liverpool 3-2: Player ratings as De Bruyne's performance secures the Carabao Cup victory

Man City vs. Liverpool: Manchester City defeated Liverpool in a five-goal thriller on Thursday night to advance to the quarterfinals of the Carabao Cup. Both clubs had not played competitively since mid-November.

Erling Haaland and Riyad Mahrez gave City the lead on two occasions, but Liverpool equalizers from Fabio Carvalho and Mohamed Salah negated each advantage. However, there was no response to Nathan Ake’s 58th-minute goal.

Haaland ran free down the right flank and centered the pass for Cole Palmer to provide the first clear opportunity for the visitors. However, the youngster’s angles were all incorrect, and his shot from close range was wildly off the goal.

Haaland capitalized on Palmer’s mistake by beating Joe Gomez to Kevin De Bruyne’s cross as Liverpool struggled to establish a footing.

The equalizer came out of nowhere, although Darwin Nunez had already struck the post while offside. It was made possible when Joel Matip advanced from the back. City then failed to defend James Milner, allowing Carvalho to score quickly and adequately.

This goal initially stunned City, but they lost two golden opportunities to regain the lead before halftime. Both were the result of crosses from the right by De Bruyne, and Caoimhin Kelleher made two saves, one with his foot from Ilkay Gundogan and the other shortly afterward from Ake. Those were excellent saves, but at least the City guys gave him a chance.

Within three minutes of the resumption of play in the second half, both sides had scored. First, Mahrez beat Kelleher with a precise finish after a sublime first touch on the right side of the box allowed him to strike low across the goal. Salah equalized the score with a tap-in off a square cross from Darwin Nunez after being unleashed down the left flank.

Liverpool allowed De Bruyne far too much time to cross just before the hour mark. Given the City’s overabundance, Ake couldn’t miss with his head at the far post as he met his teammate’s left-footed corner kick from a short corner.

Nunez, who had previously assisted Salah’s goal, was awful in front of the goal. In the middle of the second half, he squandered a golden opportunity from the right side by missing the far post for the third time in the evening.

In the final moments, Rodri and Fabinho engaged in a heated altercation, but Fabinho quickly prevented a fourth goal for City by blocking a De Bruyne attempt on the goal line. Kelleher then stopped a rebound attempt by replacement Phil Foden.

Man City player evaluations: Man City vs. Liverpool

GK: Stefan Ortega – 5/10 – He has conceded twice but has not been challenged.

Rico Lewis, RB: 6/10 – Possessed good vigor and played with ferocity.

CB: Manuel Akanki – 5/10 – Passed the ball pretty accurately but did not have a perfect night.

When Liverpool scored their second goal, Darwin Nunez left Aymeric Laporte for dead.

LB: Nathan Ake, 7/10, 7th grade. Although he had no idea where Salah was when scoring for Liverpool, he posed an offensive danger. Before scoring, he had a header that was nicely saved.

CM: Kevin De Bruyne – 9/10 – Ignored a dismal World Cup and delivered many superb passes into the penalty area. Two of the shots were successful. Others should have followed suit.

A probing pass to the right by Rodri resulted in City’s second goal. In a heated altercation, he risked severe penalties when he tripped Fabinho.

CM: Ilkay Gundogan (c) – 6/10 – Participates often in City’s offensive plays.

RW: Riyad Mahrez – 7/10 – His goal was the result of world-class first-touch control.

ST: Erling Haaland – 7/10 – An early goal by a poacher gave City the lead. An early opportunity was missed inside the first few seconds of the opening kickoff.

LW: Cole Palmer – 7/10 – City should have taken the lead even sooner than they did. Not intimidated by this star-studded squad.

Manager: Pep Guardiola – 8/10 – City dominated most of this match. After regaining the advantage a second time, he went to his bench to finish the game.

Ranks of Liverpool players: Man City vs. Liverpool

GK: Caoimhin Kelleher – 6/10 – The goalkeeper made two excellent stops in the first half and one in the second, but he was left on an island much too often by the defenders in front of him.

RB: James Milner (captain) – 6/10 – Moved into a position to assist Carvalho. Injured and had to leave before the halftime break.

Joel Matip – 6/10 – Created the opportunity from which Liverpool equalized by confidently bringing the ball out of defense.

Joe Gomez, CB, had a grade of 5/10 when City’s first goal was scored by Haaland, who easily surpassed him.

LB: Andrew Robertson – 5/10 – Guilty of failing to come close enough to Mahrez as City regained the lead shortly after halftime.

Thiago – 5/10 – CM Not as important as Liverpool supporters wanted or anticipated.

CM: Stefan Bajcetic – 5/10 – Only lasted 45 minutes after receiving a yellow card in the first half. He struggled to compete while on the field and saw little of the ball.

Harvey Elliott, a central midfielder, could not touch City throughout his hour on the field.

RW: Mohamed Salah – 6/10 – He had been quiet until he scored the second goal for Liverpool. After then, there looked to be a short resurgence of activity, but it quickly faded away.

ST: Darwin Nunez – 6/10 – Unselfishly assisted Salah’s goal by getting into position with tremendous speed. However, his finishing was subpar.

Fabio Carvalho – 6/10 – His composed finish brought Liverpool level at 1-1, although he saw little of the ball and did not return for the second half.

Manager: Jurgen Klopp – 6/10 – His team failed to compete early on, and he resorted to the bench considerably sooner than his opponent.

Kevin De Bruyne was the game’s MVP (Man City)