Manchester City put in their most complete performance of the season to beat Jurgen Klopp’s league leaders Liverpool on a memorable night at an electric Etihad Stadium.
Sergio Aguero gave the hosts the lead five minutes before the interval, but a rare lapse at the back led to a Liverpool equaliser in the second half with Firmino heading into an empty net.
Boy wonder Leroy Sané struck in the 72nd minute to give City a win they deserved as City ended Liverpool’s unbeaten run, closing the gap to four points and reigniting the title race.
Here’s how we rated the players.
Ederson – 7
An error in the first half saw him almost cost City a goal only for John Stones to make a heroic clearance. Besides that, the Brazilian was good, composed with his passing in an intense atmosphere and making an important save to deny Salah in the second half.
Danilo – 7
Preferred to Kyle Walker, the Brazilian was good, if slightly awkward at times, on the right, but poor positioning led to the ball going over his head, allowing Robertson to cross to Firmino for Liverpool’s equaliser. But against the tricky Mane, it was a good shift by Danilo.
Vincent Kompany – 7
He could have been sent off for a foul on Salah, but received a yellow card. Other than that, Kompany was a much needed source of experience at the back and helped keep City organised on a night they kept Liverpool’s feared front three fairly quiet.
John Stones – 7
A mistake almost cost City a player, as it forced Kompany into a challenge that some would argue deserved a red. He made up for that with a miraculous goal line clearance, keeping the ball from going in by about a centimetre.
Aymeric Laporte – 7.5
The most contentious call of Pep’s lineup was his decision to play Laporte at left-back. You’d be forgiven for worrying it’d backfire, but the gifted Frenchman was very good in helping keep Salah quiet even if not looking the most natural in his less usual role.
Fernandinho – 10 (Man of the Match)
A super-human performance by Fernandinho against a tough Liverpool midfield. He dominated Henderson, Wijnaldum and Milner with one of the most perfect midfield performances we’ve ever seen from a City midfielder. He broke up play, giving City control and possession in the minute, and was the base for many attacks. Tireless, tenacious, relentless. The irreplaceable Brazilian juggernaut earns a perfect 10 for this masterclass.
David Silva – 7
Not El Mago’s greatest ever performance but he helped City control large portions of the game and some of his touches were, as always, delightful. After playing his part, a tired Silva was replaced by Gundogan.
Bernardo Silva – 9
Bernardo probably won’t be able to feel his legs tomorrow after his herculean effort this evening. We’ve said recently that the Portuguese playmaker hasn’t been at his best, but it seems that he saved it for tonight. Bernardo was ALL OVER the pitch, tackling, passing and pressing. Without players like this, Guardiola’s system would not function as well as it does.
Raheem Sterling – 7
City players often have a mental block against their former clubs and Raheem Sterling has yet to really deliver an epic performance against Liverpool. He came so very close to adding a third for City, but couldn’t place his shot. While frustrating at times, Sterling was involved and set up Sané’s decisive goal.
Leroy Sané – 9
An excellent performance by the flying German who always looked City’s biggest threat. In the first half, though controlling possession, City were struggling to create chances and part of that reason was under-using Sané on the left. Eventually he made his impact in a great battle with Alexander-Arnold and scored the winning goal. There is Ballon d’Or potential in this kid.
Sergio Aguero – 9
A near complete striker’s performance by Aguero who worked his arse off all night long, holding up play, dropping deep to link up, and when the chance finally arrived, pouncing like the hunter he is. Aguero’s opener was a goal worthy of one of the Premier League’s greatest ever strikers, a beautiful piece of play and ruthless finish from a near impossible angle. This was Sergio Aguero at his very best. Grande Kun!
Ilkay Gundogan – 6
Replaced David Silva and was solid in the midfield.
Kyle Walker – N/A
Brought on for Laporte, which saw Danilo shift over to the left. Has a fight to win his spot back on the right from Danilo.
Nicolas Otamendi – N/A
Replaced a tired Vincent Kompany at the end.