Manchester City 4-1 Liverpool RECAP
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Jack Grealish joins Julian Alvarez, Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan on the scoresheet as Pep Guardiola’s side come from behind to dominate at the Etihad
Manchester City maintained the pressure on Premier League leaders Arsenal by shrugging off the absence of the injured Erling Haaland to outclass Liverpool with a magnificent display at Etihad Stadium.
City’s 42-goal striker was ruled out with a groin injury, but Pep Guardiola’s reigning champions demonstrated their all-round strength by coming from a goal down against a Liverpool side who have made life so difficult for them in the past, to run out convincing winners.
Liverpool caught City with a counter-attack after 17 minutes to take the lead, Diogo Jota making the break before Mohamed Salah applied a thumping finish.
City responded in devastating fashion with the outstanding Jack Grealish, who made a crucial intervention on Salah when Liverpool had the chance to double their lead, crossing for Julian Alvarez to equalise after 27 minutes.
Alvarez was the creator as City went ahead 53 seconds after the break, his raking pass finding Riyad Mahrez, who crossed for Kevin de Bruyne to slide home from close range.
John Stones delivered a masterclass in an unaccustomed role which saw him advance into midfield but also drop back into defence when required, and with City in total control Ilkay Gundogan added the third after a goalmouth skirmish.
Grealish deserved a goal and it duly arrived in the 74th minute when he timed his arrival perfectly to turn in De Bruyne’s cross as Liverpool ended beaten and bedraggled.
Grealish shows his class
When Grealish was substituted to a standing ovation late on, he fully deserved the accolade after a performance of the highest class.
The 27-year-old England winger tormented Trent Alexander-Arnold, delivered an equaliser on a plate for Alvarez and then scored the fourth goal that gave the scoreline a more accurate reflection of City’s supremacy over Liverpool.
Among all of his contributions, the lung-busting run to chase back and block Salah as the Egyptian raced clear with the option of setting up Jota was vital. Seconds later he was playing in Alavarez and City were level.
Grealish has grown into his role at Manchester City and clearly has the faith of his manager, who embraced him in a bear hug as he left the field.
Even stripped of Haaland, City were scintillating and gave a graphic demonstration of the gap that has opened up between them and Liverpool, who have been the only side to provide them with serious opposition in the title race in recent years.