Emphatic City recover to hammer Liverpool and keep pressure on Arsenal

Pep Guardiola's side had to recover from a goal down but with Jack Grealish in inspired form, the champions blitzed Klopp's visitors
Emphatic City recover to hammer Liverpool and keep pressure on Arsenal

JACK THE LAD: Manchester City's Jack Grealish, center, celebrates with teammates after scoring his his side's fourth goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester City and Liverpool at Etihad stadium in Manchester, England, Saturday, April 1, 2023. Pic: AP Photo/Jon Super


A VINTAGE Manchester City display hammered Liverpool into submission and ensured Pep Guardiola’s side maintained the pressure in the race with Arsenal for the Premier League title.

City had to recover from a goal down in a game that often bubbled just under an all-out outbreak in hostilities between there north-west neighbours who have become embroiled in a fractious rivalry in recent years.

The pulsating contest swung in eight second-half minutes as City completed their comeback with two goals and Jack Grealish in superb form, threatening Liverpool at every opportunity in a man-of-the-match display.

After 53 seconds of the second half, Julian Alvarez’s magnificent sweeping pass picked out Riyad Mahrez on the left wing on the counter-attack, with only one Liverpool defender in their half.

The Algerian winger timed his cross to perfection as the ball eluded the diving Alisson with Kevin De Bruyne steaming in to convert from eight yards.

That put City in front for the first time, after Mo Salah and Alvarez had exchanged first-half goals. Eight minutes later, their advantage was strengthened further.

Mahrez and Alvarez probed and worked a patient opening before the latter’s shot was blocked by Trent Alexander-Arnold.

The ball broke kindly for Ilkay Gundogan who buried the rebound into the roof of the Liverpool goal from close range.

It was the latest twist in a predictably entertaining clash between these two rivals although, for once, only one of them had an interest in the Premier League title.

And when Salah shot the visitors into a 16th-minute lead, it looked as though Arsenal would be the biggest winners of the day, as they look to hold onto top spot.

Alexander-Arnold set the move in motion with a long ball that caught out the City defence and sent Diogo Jota racing clear with Manuel Akanji in pursuit.

The Liverpool forward held off the City defender who left the ball for Salah to curl in a clinical left-foot finish from 15 yards.

It was an impressive start from a Liverpool side still hoping to clinch a top-four finish but their old defensive problems reared their head when they conceded a 27th-minute equaliser.

Andy Robertson dived in rashly to trying and dispossess De Bruyne, allowing Mahrez to break upfield and pass to Gundogan who, in turn, found Grealish on the left.

His low-cross was met by Haaland’s stand-in, Alvarez, who showed fine instincts in converting past Alisson from six yards.

There was more to come, on 74 minutes, as Liverpool lurched further towards embarrassment in a move that was started by Grealish with a sharp pass to De Bruyne. With Liverpool’s defence absent, the Belgian picked out Grealish whose low finish beat the diving Alisson.

The embarrassment for Klopp could have worsened, with Grealish’s powerful shot being well blocked by Alisson in the closing minutes.

But, by then, the Liverpool manager, with an eye on games this week with Chelsea and Arsenal, had started to rest key players, with Salah having been replaced as early as the 69th minute.

City have found emphatic form at the opportune time. 

Man City (4–1-4-1): Ederson 6; Stones 7, Akanji 6, Dias 7, Ake 6; Rodri 6 (Silva 82); Mahrez 8, De Bruyne 7, Gundogan 7, Grealish 9 (Palmer 88); Alvarez 8. Substitutes (not used) Ortega, Walker, Phillips, Laporte, S Gomez, Perrone, Palmer, Lewis.

Liverpool (4-3-3): Alisson 5; Alexander-Arnold 4, Konate 4, van Dijk 5, Robertson 5 (Tsimikas 69, 5); Elliott 6 (Oxlade-Chamberlain 69, 5), Fabinho 4, Henderson 5; Salah 6 (Nunez 69, 5), Jota 6 (Firmino 69, 5), Gakpo 6 (Milner 82). Substitutes (not used) Kelleher, J Gomez, Melo, Mattia.

Referee: S Hooper 5 Ends

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