Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium strength was back after the Citizens avenged last season’s loss to Liverpool with deadly finishing in a 3-1 win on Monday afternoon.
Stevan Jovetic scored a brace for City, both goals owing plenty to French midfielder Samir Nasri. Sergio Aguero added a goal of his own for the victors.
Rickie Lambert forced Pablo Zabaleta into an own goal late on what would’ve been the Reds forward’s first goal for his boyhood club.
With the win, City is tied for the league lead in points, but dips behind Tottenham on goal differential.
Liverpool stays mid table, their goal difference sinking to minus-1.
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The first shot of the game didn’t come until the clock turned to 7:00, with Edin Dzeko turning a mediocre low shot wide.
There were some solid moments from both defenses, with Vincent Kompany blocking a hard Daniel Sturridge shot at one end and Martin Skrtel sliding to break up a dangerous pass intended for Dzeko from Yaya Toure.
Jovetic, 24, struck before halftime, taking advantage of a less than perfect clearance from Dejan Lovren and a missed mark of Alberto Moreno. His shot clipped Simon Mignolet’s leg on the way into the goal for a 1-0 lead.
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The Montenegrin striker struck again in the 55th minute, flicking a ball forward before collecting a cutback from Nasri and blasting a left-footed shot past Mignolet. It was 2-0 and City looked good.
How big of a team play was the tally? Check in, @OptaJoe:
19 – Man City’s second goal vs Liverpool saw a build-up of 19 passes, the 4th longest move of 2014-15 so far. Golden. pic.twitter.com/02x0ek5WtF
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 25, 2014
Substitute Jesus Navas sent a gorgeous pass around the Liverpool defense that Aguero rapped home in the 69th minute, just moments after subbing into the game himself. The rout was absolutely on.
But, wait: Lambert moved past a great first save from Joe Hart to pressure Zabaleta into an own goal in the 84th minute and nearly made it 3-2 on the next Reds’ possession.
It turned out to be a momentary lapse, credit to Arlo White for the adjective/noun combo, as City picked up all three points.
Rodgers’ side faced a load of injuries late in a classic “when it rains it pours” scenario, as Moreno hit the turf late while hurting his ankle without any contact from anything but the ground. Glen Johnson had already left the pitch to make it 10 men, while Skrtel played through an injury.
Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Demichelis, Kompany, Clichy, Fernando, Nasri, Toure, Silva (Navas, 65′), Jovetic (Fernandinho, 80′), Dzeko (Aguero, 69′)
Goals: Jovetic 2 (42, 55), Aguero (69)
Liverpool: Mignolet, Johnson, Lovren, Skrtel, Moreno, Gerrard, Coutinho (Markovic, 60′), Henderson, Allen (Can, 75′), Sterling (Lambert, 79′), Sturridge
Goal: Zabaleta (OG, 84)