Gary Neville has told his podcast Liverpool's 'front four' formation "caught Man City out" in their 1-1 draw at the Etihad on Sunday - and suggested "something's not the same" with Pep Guardiola's side.
Jurgen Klopp sprang a surprise at City when he opted to start with Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino, and the Liverpool boss was rewarded with a vibrant attacking display before half-time.
Although the draw wasn't sufficient to propel Liverpool back to the top of the Premier League table, it means the champions head into the international break five points clear of City.
"I think in the first half, it was a demonstration of how brilliant these two teams can be, the exhibition they can put on and the Premier League can put on," said Neville on his podcast.
"The second half showed how long we've got left in this season, I think both teams went in at half-time and said: 'We've got to calm this down a little bit.'
"I think with City being where they are, my feeling was they'd be quite desperate to beat Liverpool today, damage them, get close to them within two points and a game in hand. I was wrong with that because I thought City would show a lot more urgency.
"I think Pep showed the respect he has for Liverpool in the second half, in that he didn't really break away from his shape in the counter-attack.
How Liverpool 'caught out' City
"In that first 25 minutes it was exhilarating, the speed of play, the tempo, the passes into the front players, it was a throwback, and a little bit of throwback to the earlier Klopp days, a bit more frantic. Now it's a lot more measured, more rounded, but it caught City out. The idea of playing Jota was like a front four, there was no subtlety to it, they were going for it.
"It really was a brilliant display and wonderful to watch, and it just really caught City out, and it took half an hour for City to weather that storm, get into the game and realise what's happening here."
'Something's not the same' at Man City
"You wonder if it's just as simple as not having Aguero? It can't be that simple. Something's not the same. Both sides are a little bit weaker than they were two years ago, which makes the league more interesting. We're seeing Leicester and Saints and Spurs top of the league, which we like.
"There certainly is a slight cause for concern for City. They're less precise in their attacks, and it feels they rely more heavily on one player in Kevin De Bruyne than they did a few years ago, and if he's not on song, they don't really create nearly as much.
"David Silva is obviously a huge miss, we knew he was a brilliant player, and almost at times the glue to keep everything together, the flow in the game. So it's a changing team, and certainly they're different.
"They're not as good defensively, or as precise in attack, but they're still a brilliant team. Now we're just seeing a little bit of a drop off from that.
"Look at the league now, it's bizarre."
Pitch to Post Review: Could Jesus replace Aguero?
Jasper Taylor is joined by Ben Ransom and Gerard Brand on the latest Pitch to Post Review podcast to discuss the weekend action in the Premier League as heavyweights Man City and Liverpool punch each other's lights out for 45 minutes, then cuddle on the canvas.
Did Liverpool's front four work, and could Gabriel Jesus replace Sergio Aguero?