It looked set to be a tricky afternoon for Pep Guardiola’s side when Mo Salah put the visitors ahead.
With 10 matches left in our hunt for a third successive Premier League title, the three points maintains the pressure on league leaders Arsenal.
At the start of a packed month of fixtures across three competitions, we appear to be in some of our best form of the season.
City had all the early running, dominating possession and pinning our visitors back into their own half.
That was followed a few minutes later by a rasping Rodrigo drive but the Brazilian goalkeeper was equal to it.
Many in the Etihad thought City had the lead from a free-kick in the 15th minute but Riyad Mahrez’s curler whistled agonisingly wide of the post.
It was Liverpool however who took the lead, with Mo Salah firing in from 15 yards after Diogo Jota had broken through City’s defence and held the ball up.
There was a brief VAR check but Jota was adjudged to have been onside earlier in the move.
We immediately took the game back to our opponents, with Mahrez striking a volley that flew over Alisson’s crossbar.
Liverpool had a huge chance in 26th minute but it was Jack Grealish’s toe, after he had dashed half the length of the pitch, that prevented Salah from finding a team-mate.
Our No.10 turned creator moments later when his left-footed pass across the box was tapped home by Julian Alvarez.
The Blues had sliced through Liverpool’s midfield at will until that point and that was the route to goal here, with Gundogan finding the space and supplying Grealish.
The Etihad crowd had been behind its heroes up until that point, but the goal gave everyone a lift.
A midfield battle ensued in the run up to the half-time whistle, reminiscent of many of the title-deciding tussles between the teams in recent seasons.
That wasn’t the case in the second half though, with De Bruyne’s finish for City’s second crossing the line just 54 seconds after the restart.
Alvarez had started the move, releasing Mahrez down the right.
The Algerian raced on to the pass and hit a right-footed cross that beat the diving Alisson but was perfect for De Bruyne to tap into the empty net.
Our dream start to the second half continued in the 53rd minute when Gundogan’s calm head in a crowded box appeared to give him all the time in the world to add the third.
As the clock creeped towards the hour mark, another sweeping move from right to left ended with Grealish bending an effort around Trent Alexander-Arnold only to see Alisson fly across his goal and tip wide.
Jurgen Klopp tried everything to get his side back in the game, making a quadruple substitution with 20 minutes remaining.
It didn’t work though and only left his side more susceptible to City’s movement, as evidenced by Grealish’s placed finish in the 73rd minute.
De Bruyne, released down the left, lifted his head and saw the winger cutting inside. He fed him perfectly so that only one touch was required for our England man to beat Alisson.
It was party time for the Etihad Stadium from that moment, with every pass cheered and Man of the Match Grealish given a standing ovation when replaced in the closing stages.
LIVERPOOL XI: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson (Tsimikas 67), Fabinho, Henderson, Elliott (Oxlade-Chamberlain 67), Jota (Firmino 67), Salah (Nunez 67), Gakpo (Milner 82)
Subs: Kelleher, Gomez, Arthur, Matip
Pep Guardiola reaction
“Our display was almost perfect from the first minute to 93 in the way we played against a team who was our biggest rival in the last few seasons.
“We always struggled to find a way to play in the quality they have, the way they press and against the transitions they have.
“All of them, start from Ederson, finish with Jack, were really good.”
Man of the match
Jack Grealish - 1-0 up and breaking away after defending a City corner, Liverpool were through on goal.
Only Jack Grealish could keep pace with Mo Salah, sprinting half the length of the pitch to do the dirty work.
The England international’s toe prevented Liverpool’s No.11 from finding a team-mate to a rapturous response from the Etihad.
As much as managers seek control in games of this quality, it’s inspired contributions such as this minute from Grealish that often prove the turning point.
That attitude continued through the game and he was more than deserving of his goal in the second half.
jack Grealish reaction
“We knew it would be a tough game playing against Liverpool. The first game after the break is always difficult.
“We wanted to start this last period of the season right. I thought we started the game well, and Liverpool are so dangerous with the players they have up front.
“So we went one goal down, then you fear the worst and think it’ll be a tough game to get back into.
“But I thought we responded brilliantly. I thought we were excellent, especially in the second half.”
Pep Guardiola now has 100 Premier League home wins in just 128 games at the Etihad.
It sees him surpass Arsene Wenger as the quickest to the landmark.
The former Arsenal manager took 139 matches to reach three figures while Sir Alex Ferguson needed 141 at Manchester United.
In his 128 Premier League games at home, City have scored 360 goals and conceded just 102. Of course, that has led to four titles in just six completed seasons.
That was the Algerian’s 56th assist, taking him beyond Didier Drogba. Mo Salah is the nearest challenger still active, on 54.
What it means
Our sixth Premier League win in our last seven matches takes us to 64 points from 28 games.
We’re second in the league and five points behind leaders Arsenal ahead of their game against Leeds United this afternoon.
Our cushion to Manchester United in third place extends to 14 points, although our city rivals do have two games in hand.
City travel to Southampton on Saturday 8 April for our next Premier League assignment.
We’ll have the full week to prepare for that game – a rare situation in a month that will comprise of nine matches for Pep Guardiola’s team.
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