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Julian Alvarez further underlined his value to Manchester City with the equalizer in Saturday's 4-1 thrashing of Liverpool at Etihad Stadium. Pep Guardiola's men are striving to keep Premier League leaders Arsenal in sight and Jurgen Klopp's side were a big potential banana skin which the Argentina international helped to avoid.

Alvarez chimed in with the leveler from a Jack Grealish assist after 27 minutes -- 10 after Mohamed Salah had given Liverpool the lead -- and City went on to complete their fightback. Although the 23-year-old was not directly involved in any of the hosts' other three goals as they blew the Reds away in the early kick-off, the South American's strike was a crucial one and he featured in the buildup to three of the four.

"Tactics is players. Erling is something special. Julian is something special, too," City boss Pep Guardiola after the final whistle. "The vision in that second goal to know Riyad [Mahrez[ is there. He was involved in the first three goals. He was so clever. He played with the World Cup champions. If you are not good, you cannot play in the world champion team. Thank you so much to the club and Txiki [Begiristain, City's sporting director]. He is a young player. Of course, he played a really good game."

That is now three goals and an assist for Alvarez from his last two games and the Argentine hitman continues to make important contributions for club and country this season. The ex-River Plate man has scored game-winners with literal three-point value against Fulham but also helped towards bigger winning margins such as the 4-2 victory over Tottenham Hotspur.

Overall, Alvarez's 13 goals and two assists with City have spanned all five club competitions which have added importance given Erling Haaland's current injury. The Norwegian giant missed the squad for the Liverpool win completely yet their No. 19 helped Guardiola's men to success without the Scandinavian superstar.

Depending on how long Haaland remains out, Alvarez will continue to be hugely important for the Sky Blues in crunch clashes with the likes of Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals. Given that familiar foe Thomas Tuchel is now in charge of the German giants, that continental clash suddenly looks much trickier but Alvarez's form is a cause for optimism.

Alvarez has not only shone for City this campaign but also with his native Argentina and he helped the Albiceleste to the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar with four goals. Only teammate Lionel Messi and runner-up Kylian Mbappe of France did better than him and it was no surprise that the Premier League champions moved so fast to extend his contract last month.

"This is a very proud moment for me and my family," said Alvarez after penning his extension until 2028 at Etihad Stadium. "For a club like City to put their faith in me like this is amazing. I have been really pleased with my first season here, but I have plenty more I can do. I know I can be better, and City offer me everything I need to fulfill my potential.

"I want to thank the manager, the coaches and everyone at City who works behind the scenes for everything they have done for me since I joined in the summer. I could not have asked for more. This is a club that looks after its players, and I have felt so supported throughout my time here. I am now focused on getting better and helping City win trophies."

City's Premier League title chances rely largely upon Arsenal and not what the likes of Alvarez and his teammates do in the coming weeks but Champions League and FA Cup success remain possible for Guardiola's side. Also, given that the Gunners still have to visit Etihad Stadium and Chelsea also come to Manchester, City will need a few more of Alvarez's well-timed goals to stand any chance of defending their domestic crown.