Manchester City drive to win over Liverpool to stay in the hunt – ReadSector

Goals early in the second half from Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan gave City a crucial advantage before Jack Grealish celebrated victory in a thrilling contest at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Liverpool, used to being City’s biggest title challengers themselves, had taken an early lead through Mohamed Salah but Haaland’s substitute Julian Alvarez quickly equalized and the visitors were tired after the break.

The final result underscored the gap that has opened up between clubs this season, with champions City now 22 points clear of the side that guided them to the top last year.

Much of the playmaking has focused on the fitness of the prolific Haaland, who has scored 42 goals in all competitions for City this season.

The Norwegian failed to recover from a groin problem in time but certainly watched contentedly from a private box as his teammates excelled without him.

The hosts were determined from the start, Gundogan got into a good position but missed a volley, Rodri shot at Alisson Becker and Riyad Mahrez curled a free-kick just wide.

But Liverpool initially showed struggle and, although Darwin Nunez was only considered fit enough for a substitute role, were dangerous at the break.

Salah was cautioned when a shot was blocked and then 17 minutes into another quick counterattack, made no mistake.

Trent Alexander-Arnold launched a ball from deep to Diogo Jota and the Portuguese held it up in the area for Salah to run on it and put a shot in the top corner.

Things could have gotten worse quickly for City but they survived another scare and then equalized after a brilliant and game-changing couple of minutes from Grealish.

Manchester City v Liverpool – Premier League – Etihad StadiumIlkay Gundogan, left, weighed in City’s third goal (Mike Egerton/PA)

Firstly, he was the only City player to come back when Salah broke away again and he caught in time as the Egyptian tried to play in Jota.

Moments later, Grealish was involved at the other end, this time laying down a clean first cross for World Cup winner Alvarez to turn home from close range.

Tensions threatened to boil over in the closing stages of the first half after Rodri was booked for withdrawing from Jota but not for repeating the offense against Cody Gakpo. Manuel Akanji and Jordan Henderson also got into a running battle.

The break brought a refocus on football and City quickly got going as Mahrez found space down the right flank and focused on the onrushing De Bruyne to concede.

Manchester City v Liverpool – Premier League – Etihad StadiumCity manager Pep Guardiola watched his side drive to victory (Mike Egerton/PA)

Gakpo was brilliantly denied by Ederson at the other end but City were relentless and took a firm hold of the game by taking the third after 53 minutes.

Alexander-Arnold stretched to block Alvarez’s first shot, but the ball rolled to Gundogan and the German could barely miss from close range.

The brace took the wind out of Liverpool’s challenge and a dominant City eventually nabbed a fourth as Grealish combined with De Bruyne to slide home to cap a fine individual performance.

It was a thoroughly professional performance from City in what could be a difficult game but they are hoping the injured Reds can face Arsenal next week. Manchester City drive to win over Liverpool to stay in the hunt – ReadSector

Russell Falcon

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