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Media hail Fernandinho after imperious display

MEDIA WATCH: Fernandinho received widespread praise for his performance in the win over Liverpool

MEDIA WATCH: Fernandinho received widespread praise for his performance in the win over Liverpool

Last night’s 2-1 win over Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium has caused a huge reaction across this morning’s back pages.

The BBC’s chief football writer, Phil McNulty, said the victory over Liverpool showed City have plenty character and mettle.

And he singled out Fernandinho for special praise after the Brazilian produced a quite brilliant performance in the centre of midfield. 

“Manchester City demonstrated substance as well as style as they overcame Liverpool, the greatest threat to their hopes of retaining their Premier League title, on a night of searing tension," McNulty writes

“Pep Guardiola's City side - who made history to win the league with 100 points last season - knew they would need to dig deep into their reserves to beat a Liverpool team arriving at Etihad Stadium on the back of a 20-game unbeaten start to the campaign.

“The purist flourishes that have become the hallmark of City's style were set to one side for much of a frantic, intense encounter in favour doing the dirty work required to get the job done after Guardiola admitted himself that a failure to win would make their title task close to impossible.

“And while the headlines may go to goalscorers Sergio Aguero and Leroy Sane, City's whole approach and their victory was built on the performance of their great unsung hero.

“For all the glittering array of riches assembled at City, Fernandinho is the glue that holds all the parts together.”

READ: Fernandinho | Bernardo is one of our best!

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Daniel Taylor, writing in the Guardian, picked up McNulty’s theme by highlighting City's ability to fight and get over the line in a fraught and tense evening. 

“As the song goes, City fight to the end and it was not just their competitive courage to conjure up a decisive goal, courtesy of Leroy Sané, that delivered a message," Taylor writes. "It was the spirit of togetherness displayed by Guardiola’s players in that nerve-shredding finale when Liverpool started pumping balls into the penalty area.

“On one hand City have not kept a clean sheet during their past 11 fixtures. On the other it was a show of collective defiance during those fraught moments when Liverpool had Virgil van Dijk operating as an extra centre-forward. City gave everything to defend their lead, in the way that true champions do. They dug in, they formed an impenetrable blue line and, when it needed the ugly stuff, they were happy to oblige. In the process they made it clear to their opponents it is going to be one hell of a battle between now and the end of the season.”

SUPER SANE: What a goal!

Highlights

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City 2-1 Liverpool: Extended highlights

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The Manchester Evening News’ Stuart Brennan dished out his player ratings on full-time and Fernandinho was given a nine, while Bernardo Silva closely followed on eight.

Brennan writes: “Fernandinho: Showed exactly why City were desperate for him to be fit - defensively top-class and was the launching point for most City attacks. 9

“Bernardo Silva: How he was still standing at the end is a mystery - he chased won every ball in the Liverpool half and still worked back to be first line of defence. 8"

Speaking in his role as a Sky Sports Pundit, Graeme Souness said City had passed a difficult test – and now the pressure is on Liverpool to follow it.

“Pep Guardiola has seen what reaction he got from his players," the former Liverpool man said. 

“They’d lost three out of the last five and they’ve bounced back in the best and biggest possible way in beating their nearest rivals, in the manner in which they did.

“So now it’s Jurgen Klopp’s turn to put that question to his players.

“‘Can we bounce back? What are you made of?’.

“Everyone is a winner in the dressing room when we’re winning. Everyone is a big character, a strong dressing room.

“You only find out about your players when you lose two or three games back to back.

“That question that has been put to Man City players has been answered in a positive way.

“Now it’s Liverpool’s turn.”

That's all for this morning's media roundup - but stay with us throughout the day here on mancity.com as we continue to bring you reaction to last night's victory. 

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