Liverpool v Manchester City: Match in pictures
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola insists his side’s five-point lead over Manchester United at the top of the Premier League table is “nothing” despite their statement victory over champions Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday. City clinched a first win away at Liverpool since 2003 with a 4-1 thrashing in which Ilkay Gundogan scored twice and both Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden starred.
It briefly looked like it might be another of those frustrating evenings on Merseyside after Mohamed Salah levelled from the penalty spot to cancel out Gundogan’s opener.
The in-form German midfielder had earlier skied a first-half penalty but made amends to put the visitors ahead and then make it 2-1 to City after Salah’s equaliser, profiting from an Alisson error with 17 minutes remaining.
Former Liverpool winger Sterling took advantage of another Alisson mistake shortly after before Foden left the Brazilian helpless with a rasping strike to seal a brilliant and comprehensive success, their first in 18 years at Anfield.
The Citizens have now matched an English top-flight record by winning all of their last 14 matches across all competitions, a feat only Preston (in 1892) and Arsenal (in 1987) have previously achieved.
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City have won all of their last 10 league games to streak clear at the summit of the Premier League table, with Liverpool now 10 points back on Guardiola and co. having played a game more.
Second-placed United are five points behind the leaders but have also played one match more than City, whose game in hand comes away at Everton a week on Wednesday.
City are firm title favourites given their relentless winning run, which has shown shades of the 14-game streak of victories they managed between February and May 2019 to carry them to the title over Liverpool.
They take on Tottenham, Everton, Arsenal, West Ham and neighbours Man United in a potentially season-defining five-game league run between now and March 6.
United’s confidence of challenging City had began to surge until a defeat against bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United and the Red Devils have now won just one of their last four, that run including defeat to the Blades and draws with Arsenal and Everton.
Yet Guardiola insists City cannot take for granted their advantage over United, even though they can stretch their lead to at least eight points if they win both of their next two league games.
“I said before, I’m not a guy who predict the future, I’m not able. And in February five points is nothing,” the Catalan said when asked if City had now put themselves in pole position for a third triumph in four years.
“What was important was the three points,” he added. “Of course, I’m so proud of the guys who have broken a record that has stood for a long time [not winning at Anfield], that shows how difficult it is and hopefully next time we can do a similar performance with people here.
“Anfield without people is completely different because I could imagine being at 1-1 and how different the influence would be on their players.
“But we reacted so well, nobody stepped back, everyone stepped forward with a huge personality. Raheem Sterling had an incredible game, like last season, but a phenomenal performance.
“The commitment from the guys in the stands who did not play supporting their team-mates. Three points and I’m grateful for this victory, but tomorrow, feet on the ground and we think about Swansea.”
Despite Guardiola’s reluctance to declare his side favourites after moving on to 50 points from 22 games, attacking midfielder Foden said post-match: “This gives us every chance to go on and win it now.
“When you beat the champions everyone’s confidence goes sky high. It can only help us. We haven’t won here for a bit so we’re just happy to win here today.
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“The job ain’t done and we’ve still got a long way to go. This is what we need to keep doing, putting the points on the table and hopefully make it in the end.”
On Saturday night after a 3-3 draw with Everton at Old Trafford, United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer dismissed his side’s chances of winning the league and said: “We’re not talking about winning titles!
“We’ve come a long way with this team and we shouldn’t even be considered as title chasers so that’s one for you.
“We’ve got to be better as a team and then see where we end up. Going forward we were very good but we need to stop conceding easy goals.”
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