Newly crowned Premier League champions Liverpool travelled to Manchester City on Thursday evening in hope of rubber stamping their title win, but it was not the night of celebration that Jurgen Klopp’s men had anticipated.
Kevin De Bruyne had other plans, eagerly pulling the strings as City sliced Liverpool apart with counters, Raheem Sterling acting as the Belgian’s accomplice in a disarming display at the Etihad.
Both City stars netted, as did Phil Foden, before an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain own goal rounded out the scoring in a resounding 4-0 win.
Sharing the full story, not just the headlines
Here’s how both teams’ players performed:
Ederson – 7: Saved well from an early Salah chance and denied the Egypt international again with an athletic save late on.
Kyle Walker – 7: Capitalised on a rare off-day from Robertson, troubling Liverpool on the right flank as much as he could.
Eric Garcia – 7: Considering this was the 19-year-old’s first game back after the injury he sustained against Arsenal, the centre-back played well here, turning in a conscientious performance.
Aymeric Laporte – 6: Was largely solid, though he did give the ball away in a dangerous position on the hour mark.
Benjamin Mendy – 6: Slow reaction to Ederson saving Salah’s half-volley just three minutes in almost led to a Reds goal, but the left-back improved as the game went on, dribbling inside impressively a number of times.
Rodri – 7: Was sharp and solid, allowing De Bruyne to create. That’s all the Spaniard really needs to do.
Kevin De Bruyne – 10: Played with disdain for the occasion, using that as motivation. As ever, the Belgian was a compelling creative force for his side, assisting the third goal after scoring confidently from the penalty spot, and essentially creating the fourth.
Ilkay Gundogan – 5: Was slow and sloppy with his distribution early on, his carelessness and laziness almost costing his side on numerous occasions. Redeemed himself somewhat with his role in the second goal, however, and kicked on from there.
Raheem Sterling – 9: Tenacity and guile saw the winger win his side’s penalty. Recovered well after taking a heavy touch to score his team’s second, and was unfortunate not to be credited with their fourth. Always seemed to get himself in the right place at the right time.
Phil Foden – 8: Squeezed an assist through the Liverpool defence to just about ensure that a swift counter-attack resulted in City’s second goal. Finished wonderfully for his team’s third.
Gabriel Jesus – 6: Worked hard and was not short of service from De Bruyne, but failed to convert his energy into true goalscoring opportunities. Was replaced on the hour mark.
Alisson – 5: Was not to blame for any of the hosts’ goals. The Brazilian was simply done no favours by his defenders.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 4: Threw the ball straight to Jesus early in the second half and was fortunate that the City striker’s resulting shot was tame.
Joe Gomez – 4: Gave away the penalty for City’s first goal by carelessly dragging down Sterling in the box.
Virgil van Dijk – 5: Even the Dutchman could not contain City. Marked Jesus for much of the game and will have been glad that the striker was not in clinical form.
Andy Robertson – 4: Played as though he’d been “out on the lash”, as Gary Neville put it. Normally one of his team’s most reliable performers, the Scot endured a night to forget.
Fabinho – 6: In the early stages of the match, the Brazilian was not only a presence in midfield but also in defence and attack. His impact waned somewhat as City began to run rampant, though.
Jordan Henderson – 5: Played a wonderful long ball for Mane early in the second half that almost led to the winger winning a penalty, but was a frustrated figure for the most part, largely failing to affect the game.
Georginio Wijnaldum – 5: Was a bystander for most of the match.
Mohamed Salah – 7: Looked the most motivated Liverpool player on the pitch. Had Ederson beaten with a shot midway through the first half, but was denied by the post. Tested the City goalkeeper near the start and end of the game, too.
Sadio Mane – 6: A frequent target of long passes over the top by the Liverpool defence, the Senegal forward struggled to exploit that avenue. It wasn’t for a lack of trying, though.
Roberto Firmino – 6: Worked hard as always, but couldn’t establish much of a link with his team-mates in the frontline.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 5: The second-half substitute was not really at fault for City’s fourth, even if it will go down as an own goal.