Manchester City player ratings vs Liverpool
Manchester City fired four past newly-crowned Premier League champions Liverpool with Kevin de Bruyne, Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling on target at the Etihad.
A week to the day since Manchester City lost at Stamford Bridge to confirm Liverpool’s title, they faced the new champions and showed that they are far from a spent force with a comprehensive victory.
Liverpool had some decent early chances through Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mané but failed to capitalise and City soon made them pay. First Raheem Sterling turned Joe Gomez in the Liverpool box and drew a penalty, which the inimitable Kevin de Bruyne tucked away coolly. Ten minutes later Liverpool were caught on the break and Phil Foden released Sterling who fired the ball inside Allison Becker’s near post. Foden compounded Liverpool’s misery on the stroke of half-time with a crisply struck finish into the roof of the net after being played in by De Bruyne again.
The pace seemed to drop a touch in the second-half but City maintained their cutting edge and De Bruyne found Sterling in the box for their fourth, via a touch from the unfortunate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. There was nearly a repeat of last season’s 5-0 win at the Etihad but Mahrez’s late strike was ruled out by VAR, following a handball in the build-up.
It will feel like a hollow victory for Manchester City but it does reinforce their credentials for next year having beaten the runaway champions. For Liverpool the title was all that mattered but Jürgen Klopp may have been concerned with his side’s profligacy in front of goal this evening.
Ederson – The Brazilian stopper made a foray into midfield in the first half but was rarely tested by a Liverpool side playing below their best. 6/10
Kyle Walker – Few defenders have limited Mane as well as the England man did this evening and seemed happy to sacrifice his usual attacking intent. A mature, assured performance. 7/10
Eric Garcia – Was outmuscled by Mané in the early stages but performed admirably from then on, distributing well and sticking a foot in when necessary. 7/10
Aymeric Laporte – Marshalled Roberto Firmino well and did not allow the tricky forward to dictate the visitors’ attacks. As always, City looked a better side with him in it. 7/10
Benjamin Mendy – Enjoying an extended run in the side the French World Cup winner now looks to be back his destructive best. His ability to cover a whole flank can be a real asset next campaign. 7/10
Rodri – Caught in possession cheaply by Liverpool’s determined pressing early on but grew into the game and began to dictate possession. Played a lovely lofted ball through to De Bruyne to set up City’s fourth. 7/10
Ilkay Gundogan – Is rarely the most notable of City’s players but he remains an important part of the side when included from the start, controlling the midfield and allowing the attacking talents to flourish. 7/10
Kevin de Bruyne – The Belgian opened the scoring for City and looked their brightest spark throughout in an expressive free role. A sharp reverse pass set Foden through for his goal and he teed up Sterling for City’s fourth. 9/10
Phil Foden – Employed in the wide right role usually filled by Mahrez the young Mancunian showed he was worthy of Guardiola’s trust, sliding in Sterling for City’s second before adding the third with an emphatic finish. 8/10
Gabriel Jesus – The Brazilian sometimes struggles to shine amongst City’s other stars and that was the case tonight, fluffing his only real sight on goal. Substituted for Mahrez within an hour. 6/10
Raheem Sterling – After his well-publicised falling out with Gomez in the reverse fixture Sterling will have been glad to win the penalty and then score against his England teammate. He was a constant nuisance all across the City front-line. 8/10
Riyad Mahrez – Introduced in place of Jesus and did well in his half hour on the pitch, robbing Alexander-Arnold for City’s fourth and seeing his late finish ruled out by VAR. 7/10
Bernardo Silva – Had little to do with his side so comfortable but used the ball intelligently during his spell on the pitch. 6/10
Nicolas Otamendi – Brought on for Laporte for the final ten minutes. N/A
João Cancelo – A late substitute, largely untested. N/A
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