Manchester City thrashed 10-man Liverpool 5-0 at the Etihad earlier this evening to gain their first home win of the season.
The game looked set evenly on paper, with both sides boasting of an excellent attack on their behalf. Liverpool were the more threatening team during the initial stages of the match.
But City were first to open the scoring, much against the flow of play by way of a Sergio Aguero strike.
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Liverpool saw an uphill battle once Sadio Mane was sent off for raising his boot in a challenge. From then on, it was all City. Gabriel Jesus and substitute Leroy Sane picked up a brace each as the match ended 5-0.
Liverpool were arguable the better team during the course of the first half. Mohammad Salah was the playmaker upfront, running at Benjamin Mendy. Without injured captain Kompany, City were initially on the back foot.
A clumsy challenge from Nicholas Otamendi gave the visitors and early sight of goal in the form of a free-kick, only for Moreno’s strike to bounce off the two-man wall.
City responded well with Kevin De Bruyne trying his luck with a low shot, with Mingolet doing well with a solid save. He was also equal to Fernandinho’s shot later on.
The breakthrough came when Liverpool’s defence was cut open by a De Bruyne pass, only fo Aguero to be left one on one with the keeper. He expertly dribbled passed Mingolet and pass the ball into the back of the net.
Aguero now has six against Liverpool, the most by any player. He has also surpassed Dwigth Yorke with 124 goals to become the top scoring non-European in Premier League’s history.
At the other end, Sadio Mane and Salah were a constant threat to the new signings Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy on either side. The combination of Mane, Firminho and Salah was deadly, with the three combining upfront and constantly knocking City’s doors.
The visitors looked to equilize before they went into the dressing room, and Mane saw an opportunity when Matip expertly lobbed a ball beyond the City’s defence. Ederson was out quickly, heading the ball away.
But this left Mane’s boot raised, injuring the Brazilian and facing a red card from the referee. An unfortunate by-product of the well intentioned attempt at the ball. Ederson was unable to continue and was stretchered off, in only his second appearance at the Etihad.
Liverpool successfully held off till the half time and debutant Oxlade Chamberlain came in for Salah on the right. City made their numbers count six minutes into the second half, with Jesus heading the ball into the back of the net.
Liverpool were left deflated and the game put beyond their reach when Aguero selflessly squared the ball for Jesus again, leaving him with a simple finish. The Brazilian’s 10th goal in just 14 Premier League appearances.
City were clinical in the second half, and the best was yet to come. Sane, who was swapped for Jesus with an eye on Wednesday’s Champions League match against Feyenoord, slotted the ball home at the near post.
He doubled his tally in the dying minutes of the game from a Kyle Walker cross. The game was long over, but 5-0 is a heart-breaking result for the men from Mersyside.
Liverpool were toothless in the second half, unable to link up and move the ball. With the absence of Phillipe Coutinho, Mane and Salah, they failed to retain the ball even in their own half. City were too good to play against with 10 men.
The result sees Manchester City move to the top of the table, albeit for a short time with Manchester United taking on Stoke City later during the day. A ruthless performance from the Blues, they finally start to look like what Guardiola intended.
This was Klopp’s biggest defeat as Liverpool manager. With Mane now suspended for the next three matches, they surely need to turn their attention to Coutinho- the potential match winner on every game he starts.
Klopp would love to have the issue sorted and have a full squad to pick players out of.
City next have a relatively loose couple of fixtures, with the next major challenge being Chelsea at the Stamford Bridge at the end of the month.
They will look to get momentum going in the Champions League as well, with the team travelling to Feyenoord on Wednesday.