A masterful performance from Jack Grealish helped Manchester City to thrash Liverpool in a one-sided affair at the Etihad Stadium.
The midfielder scored one and made another as the blues came from a goal down to ease to a comfortable victory. Julian Alvarez, in for the injured Erling Haaland, levelled after Mohamed Salah had given the visitors the lead with their first shot on target, before goals from Kevin de Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan and Grealish put the blues two points behind Arsenal at the top of the Premier League.
Haaland’s absence was a blow to the blues after City had hoped he would play some part against the Mersey reds, and the visitors would no doubt have been happy not to face the 42-goal hitman. In his was Argentine World Cup winner Alvarez, who has notched 13 goals in all competitions.
And the striker made it 14 as he converted a Jack Grealish cross in the 27th minute to draw City level after Salah had scored ten minutes earlier. Diogo Jota was judged onside after a VAR check and, although he lost possession in the penalty area, Salah raced in to score with Liverpool’s first shot on target.
The visitors briefly went into the ascendency and Grealish made a vital intervention to prevent Salah from progressing down the left. That interception put the blues back in possession and seconds later, the blues were level. Grealish received a pass on the left and his first-time cross was met by Alvarez to slide home.
Both teams were then guilty of some questionable challenges before half-time, with Rodri escaping a second yellow card while the referee forgot where his cards were when City players were unfairly challenged.
1-1 at half-time left the match finely balanced, but a strong second-half showing from City would ultimately take the points.
And de Bruyne would be the one to break the deadlock, converting the type of cross that he normally supplies. Riyad Mahrez was released down the City right and his low cross into the middle was met by the Belgian, who was never going to miss from there.
Seven minutes later, Gundogan put City firmly in control. Liverpool struggled to clear their lines, and when an Alvarez shot hit the defender, Mr Whippy was ice cool, taking a touch before finishing high into the goal.
City were swarming all over the reds and it was no surprise when a fourth goal came. Grealish released de Bruyne down the left and his cut-back was met by the England midfielder, whose low shot found the back of the goal.
The Etihad was bouncing by this point, however, many Liverpool fans weren’t there to see it, despite their complaints throughout the last week that their allocation had been reduced.
The win meant City closed the gap to two points, albeit temporarily, on Arsenal, and the season run-in is building towards an Etihad showdown between the two sides.
Final Score: Manchester City 4-1 Liverpool