In a game where two Premier League title rivals were going head-to-head, Manchester City separated themselves from Liverpool with an impressive display, which showcased their edge in quality, experience and depth over their opponents.
City won the game 3-1 and although Liverpool actually had the better start of the two teams, they failed to capitalize on their possession, and when City conversely got their chances, they did exactly that. Even when Liverpool were playing the better of the two teams in the early stages, it still felt like City were calm and in control; they’d been here and seen it all before.
The home team saw out Liverpool’s early pressure, and then they sprung into action themselves; it was the experience of players who knew what these big games are like and, more importantly, how to win them. By comparison, Liverpool look like they don’t quite have the same cutting edge this season without Luis Suarez, and perhaps that’s to be expected. While Liverpool look slightly weaker in attack, City look even stronger than last year with the now fit again Stevan Jovetic already making an impact.
Jovetic scored two goals in the game and he gives the City attack something different compared to the other strikers they have in Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Alvaro Negrado. Dzeko and Negrado are big strikers who are physical and Aguero is a quick striker who opens teams up with movement, but Jovetic is a clever striker who likes to drop deep and link the midfield to the attack.
Without Jovetic last season, City still set the record for the most goals scored in an English season in all competitions, and with him this year, if he stays fit, they will be even stronger yet again. Such are City’s riches in attack, a world class striker in Aguero was able to play from the bench today, and he made an immediate impact as he scored just 23 seconds after entering the field of play.
As City turned to players like Aguero, though, Liverpool turned to Rickie Lambert, who did score Liverpool’s only goal of the game to be fair, but the difference in quality is blindingly obvious. Liverpool now have an extra 31 league goals to find in comparison to last season, which they need to find from somewhere with Suarez having now made his exit.
Lambert and Mario Balotelli will now primarily be charged with that task, but while Liverpool try and do that, goals will clearly not be a problem for City and their attack. They look set to be the entertainers of the Premier League once again this season, although entertaining and winning are obviously two totally different things.
But given that they will entertain, and if they do play with the same control, professionalism and cut throat offense as they did against Liverpool, then you wouldn’t bet against them winning on many occasions either.