Manchester City hammered Liverpool 4-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The result kept their Premier League title hopes alive in emphatic fashion. Pep Guardiola’s side were without the injured Erling Haaland while the visitors had their star striker, Darwin Nunez, on the bench.

The hosts fell behind early to a Mohamed Salah goal in the 17th minute. The Egyptian finished with aplomb following Diogo Jota’s smart layoff inside the box. However, 10 minutes later Julian Alvarez restored parity. The former River Plate star slotted home following Jack Grealish’s low cross.

Julian Alvarez was in fine form

The Argentinian World Cup winner was in terrific form as he dragged the Liverpool defense out of position with deep runs. At times, he was also positioned as a false nine. Erling Haaland’s absence made City fans fearful prior to kick-off, but Alvarez quickly showed off his own qualities.

With both sides emerging from the tunnel with the score level at 1-1, the 23-year-old found Riyad Mahrez just seconds after the restart. The latter picked out Kevin De Bruyne with a first-time cross and the Belgian poked the ball past Alisson in the Liverpool goal. Manchester City now held a 2-1 lead.

Manchester City were at their very best

Seven minutes later Ilkay Gundogan made it 3-1 as he kept his composure to first control the ball in a crowded penalty area, then find the net with a tidy finish. Manchester City looked imperious as Liverpool were left without any answers.

The reigning Champions looked to be at their very best as they toyed with Jurgen Klopp’s side for the final 30 minutes of the match. Liverpool just couldn’t match their passing tempo and runs off the ball.

The Reds made four changes at once with 20 minutes remaining, but hardly got a foot back into the game. The contest was a mismatch from a tactical perspective. Deploying John Stones in midfield was a suave tactical tweak that enabled De Bruyne to play further forward.

Without the physical dominance of Haaland in the final third, this switch created the conditions for Alvarez to move around and confuse the Liverpool defense.

Jack Grealish, who had arguably his best game in a sky blue jersey, then made it 4-1. He finished off a fine move following some wonderful interplay in the 74th minute. The result means that City reduced the gap to five points with league leaders Arsenal hosting Leeds later in the day.  

Photo Credit: IMAGO / Sportimage