Reigning Premier League champions Manchester City reduced the deficit between themselves and table-toppers Arsenal to five points, following a commanding 4-1 victory over visiting Merseyside outfit Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium in Saturday’s early kick-off.
This fixture has provided the basis for a modern day rivalry between both teams in recent years and it did not fail to live up to the buzz this time around.
Egyptian star Mo Salah opened the floodgates of goals when he bent in a curler in the 17th minute before Argentine hitman Julian Alvarez – who was standing in for the absent Erling Haaland, levelled proceedings ten minutes later. Both teams went into the interval level at the break.
The second half was a different story entirely, as the Cityzens made it a one-way affair. Belgium international Kevin de Bruyne turned in Riyad Mahrez’s cross home to give City the lead. Mahrez’s assist saw him become the only African player with the most number of assists in Premier League history.
Ilkay Gundogan added a third while the impressive Jack Grealish netted a fourth in the last quarter of an hour to seal the win and the points for Pep Guardiola’s side.
As for Liverpool, they were made to pay for their terrible defending all afternoon and it is looking highly unlikely that they can clinch a UEFA Champions League winner slot for next season. They have to contend with Chelsea in midweek in the hope of righting the wrongs here at the Etihad.
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FULL-TIME AT THE ETIHAD STADIUM: Manchester City 4-1 Liverpool
GOOOAAALLL!!! Manchester City 4-1 Liverpool (J. Grealish)
74′ MIN: A well-worked one-two with Kevin De Bruyne finishes with Jack Grealish sliding the ball into the far corner.
GOOOAAALLL!!! Manchester City 3-1 Liverpool (I. Gundogan)
53′ MIN: Ilkay Gundogan extends Man City’s lead, coolly placing the rebound into the net.
GOOOAAALLL!!! Manchester City 2-1 Liverpool (K. De Bruyne)
46′ MIN: Kevin De Bruyne races on to Riyad Mahrez’s cross and converts from close range to put the hosts ahead.
SECOND HALF UNDERWAY AT THE ETIHAD STADIUM: Manchester City 1-1 Liverpool
It’s all square at the break between Manchester City and Liverpool. Mo Salah had given the away side the lead which lasted only ten minutes as World Cup winner Julian Alvarez levelled proceedings for the reigning champions.
HALF-TIME AT THE ETIHAD STADIUM: Manchester City 1-1 Liverpool
GOOOAAALLL!!! Manchester City 1-1 Liverpool (J. Alvarez)
27′ MIN: Back level! A beautiful team move ends in a simple tap-in for Julian Alvarez.
GOOOAAALLL!!! Manchester City 0-1 Liverpool (M. Salah)
17′ MIN: Diogo Jota holds the ball up before Mohamed Salah bends it past Ederson.
KICK-OFF AT THE ETIHAD STADIUM: Manchester City 0-0 Liverpool
This mega clash kicks off Matchday 29 action and the resumption of the PL, following the first FIFA international break for the year.
Both sides have a lot to play for in this early lunchtime kick-off. The Cityzens who are eight points behind table-toppers Arsenal in the Premier League, will be looking to reduce the deficit to five points – provided they get a victory. Pep Guardiola’s side are the favorites coming into this clash despite the absence of top scorer Erling Haaland and they won the reverse fixture last year.
As for the Reds, this fixture is the start of a difficult run in which they play Manchester City and Chelsea in midweek. Jurgen Klopp’s men are considerably off the pace in the race to nick a UEFA Champions League spot and with just ten games left, time is running out for the Reds to achieve this objective.
Liverpool will hope today isn’t one of such times where inconsistencies holds sway, and will be counting on the experience of Mo Salah and the fit-again Diogo Jota to do the damage and get the points. As we have seen before, if there is anyone who can inflict harm on Manchester City, Liverpool are that team to bank upon.