It was a historic evening in Merseyside as second-half goals from Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden and a brace from İlkay Gündoğan earned Manchester City their first win at Anfield in 17 years.
Despite dominating possession for much of the first-half, City maintained their shape and never really troubled Liverpool’s defence until Raheem Sterling won the visitors a penalty after some lovely bit of play down the left wing.
Maybe it wasn’t meant to come from the spot, but needless to say, Gündoğan, City’s most consistent and reliable player by a country mile, missed the target as City’s penalty woes against Liverpool continue. The game remained goalless as half-time.
Soon after the interval, Gündoğan made amends for his howler by giving the Sky Blues the lead after Phil Foden’s shot was parried by Alisson. Mohamed Salah levelled for the hosts from 12 yards just past the hour mark but City weren’t quite done just yet.
After Alisson’s poor clearance, Foden skipped past a couple of challenges and expertly teed up Gündoğan to net his second of the game and it was all City once they restored their lead as Sterling soon made it three by heading home from Bernardo Silva’s cross after another mis-judgement from Alisson.
Foden put the icing on the cake for City with a thumping effort from the right into the roof of the net, rounding off a win that takes his side five points clear at the top of the league with a game in hand.
Here’s how we rated the players…
Ederson – 7
Couldn’t have done much about the penalty. Had a shaky moment in possession in the first half but have an awful lot to deal with throughout. A decent showing from the Brazilian, much better than his compatriot Alisson Becker – who had a shocker.
João Cancelo – 8
He was everywhere as he played across the midfield yet again, trying to pull the strings in the middle of the park. Has developed brilliant chemistry with fellow Portuguese Bernardo Silva on the right, and just keeps on impressing week after week.
John Stones – 8
His biggest test since his return to the side, Stones didn’t put a foot wrong the entire game, being assured on the ball and his range of passing has become immaculate in recent weeks. Didn’t let the likes of Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino a sniff at goal throughout. One of the best central defenders in the world based on current form.
Rúben Dias – 8
Ladies and gentlemen, take a bow! The 23-year-old, despite giving away a soft penalty, was an absolute rock at the back against probably the deadliest attack in the league on their day. He organised the defence and was key to this historic win at the home of the current champions.
Oleksandr Zinchenko – 7.5
Had a odd shaky moment, but certainly repaid the faith put in him by Pep given Aymeric Laporte was on the bench. He coped well with the threat posed by Mohamed Salah and yet another encouraging showing from the Ukranian.
Bernardo Silva – 8.5
There’s something about the little magician and Liverpool that makes his game rise to a different level altogether. He ran the show in midfield alongside Rodri, didn’t stop running throughout and set up City’s third with a cute chip over the keeper to feed Sterling to net his eighth league goal of the campaign.
Rodri Hernández – 8
Doesn’t get anywhere near the credit he deserves. His biggest game of the season, he had something to prove and boy, did he come out with flying colours! Rodri controlled the tempo of play in the middle of the park and provided the right balance between attack and defence.
İlkay Gündoğan – 8.5
Made amends for his first-half penalty miss by netting twice in the second half, meaning he’s now bagged nine Premier League goals this season. The biggest compliment to his performance levels is that no one is mentioning Kevin De Bruyne being injured. He’s been that good.
Riyad Mahrez – 7.5
One of City’s rather quieter players, Mahrez ran at the Liverpool defence on a number of occasions but often lacked the end product in the final third. Did well against Andrew Robertson but he wasn’t at his sparkling best as he’s often shown in recent weeks.
Phil Foden – 9
Philip Walter Foden, what a talent, what a player! Relatively quiet in the first-half, he lit up the game after the break by setting up two and netting an absolute worldie to lead City to a statement win. The 20-year-old can ‘improve’ further however, as Pep said in his post-match interview.
Raheem Sterling – 8.5
His best performance at Anfield as a visiting player by a good distance as he kept going at Liverpool defence time and again. He won the penalty that Gündoğan ended up missing, but he was immense for City on the left side, and gave Trent Alexander-Arnold a night to forget.
Gabriel Jesus – 6/10
His brilliant pressing led to the second goal and worked really hard in the last 20 minutes – as usual.
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