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Unstoppable? Gundogan and Foden end Anfield curse as surging Man City finish off Liverpool's title defence

08-Feb-2021, 02:05 am

Gundogan Foden Salah GFX

Match statistics: Liverpool 1-4 Man City

They need not have been concerned.

With a 4-1 victory on Merseyside, Pep Guardiola’s side surgedfive points clear at the top of the Premier League table with a game in hand on all of their rivals.

Most significantly, though, they are now 10 points clear of Liverpool after ending their 18-year wait for a win at the home of the current defending champions.

City and Liverpool have comfortably been the best two teams in England in recent seasons, so to step into Anfield and deliver such a major statement is a considerable moment for this incarnation of Guardiola's team.

Without injured duo Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Agueroand starting the game without strikers, City smashed in four but could, and probably should, have had more.

Despite missing a first-half penalty, Ilkay Gundogan proved to be the match-winner, his double after the break making it nine goals in 12 games for the Germany midfielder.

But it was Phil Foden who put in the most impressive performance day as hetook on the task of playing the false-nine role in Guardiola's sidelike a seasoned striker.

Academy graduate Foden has slowly worked his way into the City side when many felt he should have been a regular in the line-up much earlier in his young career.

But this victory is when the Stockport-born City fan really came of age, with his dynamicperformance that will only whetting the appetite for what else there is to come from the precocious 20-year-old.

Foden was just two when City last won here, and he became the youngest player to ever score and assist for a visiting team in a Premier League game at Anfield.

Liverpool may yet again have been without any recognisedcentre backs, but experienced replacements Fabinho and Jordan Henderson struggled to cope with the movement and quality that Foden provided.

It was apt that he should finish off a landmark win when he rammed in a fantastic fourth, created by his own weaving and fearless run.

Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland is the only player younger than the England international to have more goals than Foden's 10 in all competitions among those from Europe's 'Top Five' leagues this season. It may have taken a while, but Foden is very quickly becoming one of the world's best in his position.

Jurgen Klopp’s side may have been badly out of form coming into this one, and the defeat here means they have now lost three straight home league games for the first time since 1963.

This game always looked likely to betheir last opportunity to throw themselves back into the title race, and City quickly ejected them again despite the return of Alisson Becker and Sadio Mane to the line-up.

City's missed penalty and Mohamed Salah's own converted spot-kick either side of Gundogan's opener gave them hope, but they rarely looked like the side that City have had such trouble with over the past three years.

Instead it was Alisson who proved the unlikely villain for the home side, with the Brazil goalkeeper's two errors helping to gift Gundogan his second and Raheem Sterling his first goal at Anfield since leaving the Reds in 2015.

City have now equalled the all-time winning run by an English top-flight side across all competitions, winning each of their last 14 matches.

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