After an 18 year wait, Manchester City finally broke their Anfield curse and left Merseyside with all three points. City were excellent in all departments and ran out 4-1 winners over the current Premier League Champions. They would have kept their clean sheet streak also, but a common over-exaggerated dive from Liverpool’s Mohammad Salah meant otherwise. Guardiola’s side had a penalty of their own. However, Ilkay Gundogan, who is usually so reliable from the spot, blazed the ball over the bar. A flashback of Riyad Mahrez’s at Anfield a few years back. The German made-amends later in the game, scoring two of City’s four goals. Despite these two goals, the real star of the show was young Phil Foden.
Often regarded as one for the future, Foden is 1-4 the now. He was simply world-class. For his assist, he schooled Jordan Henderson, a Premier League and Champions League-winning captain. The England international is only 20 years old and already one of the first names on Guardiola’s team sheet. He can play literally anywhere along the front-line or in attacking midfield. As shown by his heatmap below –
Foden was everywhere across the frontline, and the heatmap shows just how great the City Academy graduate’s defensive work rate is.
Despite scoring 12 goals, a career-best in a single season, this was the first time Foden played through the middle and passed the test with flying colours. With Sergio Aguero’s season constantly hampered through injury and COVID-related problems and Gabriel Jesus clearly not trusted by Guardiola, Foden, bearing he gets game time as a false 9, may have found himself another position to add to his CV for the upcoming European Championships with England.
Gareth Southgate certainly has a huge selection headache ahead of the summer, a great problem to have, however. The likes of Jack Grealish, James Maddison, and Mason Mount will be right up there for a starting spot. But out of all of them, Phil Foden is proving he should be the first choice, an amazing statement considering how great Jack Grealish has been.
To perform at the level he has recently at any age is truly elite, and to carry out this level at 20 is just a different class to anyone in the league. Previously compared to the likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi and mainly Mason Greenwood, he’s passed these, with all respect. Foden is now in the same conversation as Joao Felix, Kylian Mbappe, and Erling Haaland. It’s a scary thought for anyone other than Man City fans, but Foden is only going to get better.