Manchester City thrash Liverpool to close in on Premier League title

Published: 12:53 AM, 8 Feb, 2021
Manchester City thrash Liverpool to close in on Premier League title
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Manchester City ended an 18-year wait to beat Liverpool at Anfield in style with a 4-1 win on Sunday to take a firm grip on the Premier League title race.

Ilkay Gundogan scored twice and missed a penalty as Pep Guardiola's men moved five points clear of Manchester United, with a game in hand, at the top of the table.

A third consecutive home defeat leaves Liverpool 10 points off the top in fourth, having also played a game more than City.

Raheem Sterling and the outstanding Phil Foden were also on target for the visitors on a day to forget for Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker, who was at fault for two of City's goals.

"Huge victory for us, said Guardiola. "I take into consideration the fact we won after we missed a penalty and conceded a goal. The way we reacted, that made the difference."

City's club record run of 14 consecutive wins, 10 of which have come in the league, has seen them pull away from the pack at the top of the table from what seemed a wide-open title race just a few weeks ago.

"It's an important win but it is February," added Guardiola. 

"Of course the gap to fifth is big right now and that means for the Champions League for next season it is important but 10 wins in a row in this period is something exceptional."

After a club record-breaking run of 68 league games unbeaten at Anfield, Liverpool have now lost three consecutive home league games for the first time since 1963.

But Jurgen Klopp defended his side's performance until Alisson's first error allowed Gundogan to restore City's lead 17 minutes from time.

"We scored our goal and in that moment it was possible the game goes in our direction, but Alisson made two massive mistakes," said Klopp.

"Apart from that the game ends 1-1. The performance was good enough at least to draw, and that's it.

"We just have to carry on. It's not the best moment of our lives, we have to fight but we have to play as well." 

City don't pay the penalty 

After three seasons battling City for major honours, Liverpool have run out of gas in an injury-hit campaign.

Klopp again paired midfielders Fabinho and Jordan Henderson together at centre-back, despite new loan signing Ozan Kabak being available on the bench.

The Liverpool backline had been rarely tested until Sterling ran at them eight minutes before the break and the former Reds winger was upended by Fabinho.

Kevin De Bruyne missed a penalty for City when the sides met earlier in the season, while Riyad Mahrez blazed over from the spot in a 0-0 draw at Anfield in 2018 - the only time Guardiola had previously avoided defeat away to Liverpool as City manager.

"It's a problem that we have. In important moments we cannot miss it, and it doesn't matter the taker," added Guardiola.

"I'm going to think about (goalkeeper) Ederson. He might be the taker next time."

However, rather than being disheartened, City and Gundogan bounced back quickly in a dominant second-half performance worthy of champions-elect.

Another purposeful burst from Sterling fed Foden and after his low shot was saved by Alisson, Gundogan this time made no mistake on the rebound.

City had conceded just twice in their 13 league games, thanks in large part to the formidable partnership of Ruben Dias and John Stones in central defence.

But a rare error from Dias handed the champions a lifeline just after the hour mark.

The Portuguese pulled down Mohamed Salah inside the area and the Egyptian slammed home the resulting spot-kick.

But Liverpool could not build on that reprieve as the normally dependable Alisson gifted away two goals in comical fashion.

The Brazilian cleared the ball straight to Foden, who wriggled clear inside the area before squaring for Gundogan to tap home his second off the underside of the bar.

Seconds later, a nervous Alisson compounded his first error with another wayward attempted clearance into the path of Bernardo Silva who crossed for Sterling to score his first goal at Anfield since leaving Liverpool six years ago.

Foden then completed the rout and an outstanding personal performance with a blistering shot seven minutes from time that also escaped Alisson's grasp.


Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.