Man City thrash Liverpool
Manchester City made a huge statement of intent and delivered a devastating blow to Liverpool’s slim title chances with a 4-1 hammering at Anfield.
Ilkay Gundogan recovered from a penalty miss in the first half to score twice in the second half as Man City won away at Liverpool for the first time since 2003.
It was a tepid and cautious first half with limited ambition from either team until Raheem Sterling drove into the box and was felled by Fabinho.
Gundogan stepped up and blazed over the bar. It was a familiar story for City from the spot; they have scored just nine from 17 penalties in the Premier League since the start of last season.
Four of the past six penalties to have missed the target completely in the Premier League have been by Man City players, with three of those coming against Liverpool.
Yet, four minutes into the second half, Gundogan made up for his miss with a predatory finish after Phil Foden’s shot was saved by Alisson.
However, Liverpool replied almost instantly. A rare Ruben Dias mistake saw him misjudge the flight of the ball and bring down Mohamed Salah for a penalty.
The Egyptian pulled Liverpool level from 12 yards, but the hosts then became the architects of their own downfall.
Alisson, who has been largely faultless for Liverpool since his signing, made two catastrophic kicking errors to hand the initiative back to City.
He got away with a slip and then just 10 seconds later miscued a clearance to Foden.
The 20-year-old punished Liverpool with a direct dribble down the right, drifting past two helpless Liverpool defenders. He waltzed into the area and picked out Gundogan, who tapped in for his ninth league goal of the season.
The Liverpool goalkeeper made another significant error as he kicked straight to Bernardo Silva, who lifted the ball over Alisson and Sterling nodded in on the goalline.
It got worse for Liverpool, as Foden cut inside and lashed a shot past Alisson to make the result more emphatic.
It was City’s 14th straight win in all competitions and their 10th in the Premier League.
It was Liverpool’s third successive home defeat, after a run of 68 games without losing at Anfield.
Sterling won his 21st penalty in the Premier League – more than any other player in the history of the competition. He is only the third player to score 100 or more goals under Guardiola, after Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero.
Liverpool have 27 fewer points than they did at the same stage last season, the biggest drop by any reigning champion
What it means
Pep Guardiola’s side took a big step towards regaining the title as they went five points clear of Man United in second with a game in hand, and 10 points clear of Liverpool with a game in hand.
Featured image: Phil Foden of Manchester City celebrates after scoring his team’s fourth goal during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield. (Photo by Matt McNulty – Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images)