Liverpool held serve with Manchester City on Saturday, as the English Premier League's top two sides came back from trailing positions to win.
The league-leading Reds beat Aston Villa 2-1 at Villa Park, while the Cityzens' 2-1 home win over lowly Southampton moved them four points back of first place just eight days before the clubs' titanic top-of-the-table clash at Anfield.
Manchester City right back Kyle Walker scored the 86th-minute winner Saturday at the Etihad, volleying Alex McCarthy's punched clearance into the net to send City supporters into a frenzy.
KYLE WALKER HUGE FOR CITY pic.twitter.com/jizACZwGPl— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) November 2, 2019
Sadio Mané did him one better, though, scoring off Trent Alexander-Arnold's 94th-minute corner to preserve Liverpool's undefeated season.
SCENES pic.twitter.com/DNY9OSBOdw— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) November 2, 2019
Liverpool's win maintained the Reds' eight-point advantage over City atop the table, but both sides were in danger of dropping points Saturday.
City trailed 1-0 thanks to goalkeeper Ederson spilling a save directly into the path of Southampton's James Ward-Prowse in the 13th minute, but Walker got the defending champions back into the match. He assisted on Sergio Aguero's 70th-minute equalizer, setting up the Argentine strike for City's first shot on target all match.
Meanwhile, Liverpool fell behind in the 21st minute Saturday following Trézéguet's finish at the back post. John McGinn whipped in a gorgeous free kick, and the Egyptian winger needed just one touch to finish.
Aston Villa take the lead on Liverpool and Villa Park has erupted! pic.twitter.com/CsVcnIL4c0— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) November 2, 2019
VAR upheld Villa's advantage, and the video assistant controversially ruled against Liverpool later in the first half. Roberto Firmino was flagged offside before appearing to equalize, and VAR upheld the onfield ruling.
Replays indicated that Firmino was barely offside ... if we're being charitable.
Liverpool's Roberto Firmino was flagged offside before putting the ball in the net against Aston Villa and the decision was confirmed by VAR— Premier League (@premierleague) November 2, 2019
The red line signifies Firmino and was aligned to his armpit, which was marginally ahead of the last Villa defender#AVLLIV pic.twitter.com/a2OnNWnz2E
Andy Robertson proved Rasheed Wallace's maxim true in the 87th minute, heading in Mané's wonderful cross at the back post.
Liverpool level it! pic.twitter.com/PCU6pf3fiP— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) November 2, 2019
Though Liverpool will have legitimate gripes with the offside' ruling, a concerning trend continued for the Reds. Saturday's match was Liverpool's third straight in the Premier League in which they trailed at halftime, and the Champions League title-holders narrowly avoided losses to Manchester United (1-1 draw) and Tottenham Hotspur (2-1 win) in the previous two weeks.
Both Liverpool and City will want to improve ahead of next Sunday's massive match, but turning halftime deficits into three points is what separates title-winners from mere contenders. Saturday's comebacks reiterated that both clubs have that ability in spades.