- Man City vs Liverpool

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Monday 25 August 2014 | Etihad Stadium | Referee: Michael Oliver | Attendance 45,471

Man City
  • Stevan Jovetic (41, 55)
  • Sergio Agüero (69)
Man City
3 - 1
  • Pablo Zabaleta (83 OG)

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Match report

Stevan Jovetic scored twice as Manchester City issued a statement of intent with a 3-1 Barclays Premier League victory over Liverpool on Monday.

The defending champions had to withstand some pressure from the side they beat to the title last season, but underlined their clinical touch in front of goal.

Jovetic opened his account for the season in the closing minutes of the first half with a close-range finish and doubled his tally to cap a flowing City move before the hour.

Sergio Aguero's first act after replacing the injured Edin Dzeko in the second half was to strike a third goal for the hosts as he slid a low shot out of Simon Mignolet's reach.

Pablo Zabaleta's late own goal, which came after Joe Hart had parried substitute Rickie Lambert's close-range header, was scant consolation for Brendan Rodgers' men.

With new signing Mario Balotelli watching on after completing his move from Milan, Liverpool gave a debut to Alberto Moreno, while Joe Allen returned for Lucas in midfield.

Zabaleta's recall for City enabled Gael Clichy to revert to left-back and the 29-year-old was at the heart of the hosts' good early play.

Dzeko and Yaya Toure both had sights of goal in the opening 15 minutes thanks to Clichy crosses, but neither was able to stretch Mignolet.

Liverpool's midfield began to dominate possession following a cagey start and Daniel Sturridge finally tested Hart in the33rd minute.

Steven Gerrard executed a perfect pass to find the striker at the back post but, having escaped the attentions of Vincent Kompany, his fierce left-foot shot was pushed away.

Hart's efforts proved crucial for City as they went on to open the scoring through Jovetic with four minutes of the half remaining.

As Moreno dallied on a knockdown from Dejan Lovren inside the Liverpool penalty area, the 24-year-old nipped in and lashed the ball through the legs of Mignolet.

Rodgers' side had the ball in the net four minutes after the break but the linesman's flag denied Sturridge, much to the relief of Kompany who had misjudged a Glen Johnson cross.

To rub salt into the Liverpool wounds City promptly doubled their lead as Jovetic completed a neat one-two with Samir Nasri with a calm finish.

The striker's flick ran perfectly into the Frenchman's stride, and Nasri returned the ball to his unmarked team-mate to apply the finish.

The introduction of debutant Lazar Markovic breathed some life back into Liverpool, but a ruthless City outfit extended their lead even further in the 69th minute as Jovetic turned provider.

His pass released Aguero in behind the Liverpool defence and the Argentine confidently fired low into the back of the net, just 23 seconds after replacing Dzeko.

Liverpool, who have now only won once in their last nine visits to City, pulled one back with seven minutes to play as Zabaleta nudged the ball into his own goal.

Sturridge showed good strength on the right and delivered a perfect cross to Lambert, whose header was saved by Hart before the loose ball struck the defender on the knee and dropped over the line.

There was further bad news for Liverpool as Johnson hobbled off after all three substitutions had been made, while Moreno appeared to turn his ankle in injury time but carried on.

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini: "We had a very difficult start to the season, part of the squad not 100 per cent fit, so it was very important to win six points from the first two games, especially away Newcastle which is a very difficult place to play away, and today we were playing against a very strong team that did well last year, so to beat them 3-1 was very important for us.

"I think for most of the match we played with the sort of intensity and concentration you need to beat a team as strong as Liverpool.

"Jovetic couldn't play two or three games in a row last season due to injury but I knew him before that and I am sure he is a very important player for us."

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers: "I think up until the 40th minute we were the best team but we switched off in final period. We didn't defend it well enough and were 1-0 down. At 2-0 it is difficult for us, but to our credit we kept going.

"I felt we needed to be quicker in our actions in the final third, we needed to be more dynamic, but we looked a threat, which is important.

"This is a difficult place to come, but we will continue to work, we'll get better, it just wasn't our night. There is no psychological blow, there is a long way to go. It was a tough game but we'll move on."

Fan Rating

- rate the player performances for this match

Line-up All Fans BFR
1. Joe Hart 6.63 5.94
4. Vincent Kompany 7.73 6.35
5. Pablo Zabaleta 6.25 5.28
26. Martín Demichelis 6.94 5.24
22. Gaël Clichy 6.73 5.29
21. David Silva 7.27 7.08
8. Samir Nasri 7.2 5.61
42. Yaya Touré 6.65 6.52
6. Fernando 6.6 5.46
10. Edin Dzeko 6.35 6.18
35. Stevan Jovetic 9.05 6.56
Substitutes All Fans BFR
15. Jesús Navas 7.0 5.68
13. Willy Caballero 4.0 3.61
25. Fernandinho 5.75 5.37
16. Sergio Agüero 8.38 7.4
3. Bacary Sagna 6.0 4.11
11. Aleksandar Kolarov 5.0 5.63
7. James Milner 6.0 5.87
Line-up All Fans BFR
22. Simon Mignolet 4.54 5.86
37. Martin Skrtel 5.08 5.37
6. Dejan Lovren 6.0 5.49
18. Alberto Moreno 4.58 5.76
2. Glen Johnson 4.42 4.63
24. Joe Allen 5.46 5.02
14. Jordan Henderson 6.0 6.28
8. Steven Gerrard 6.57 6.22
15. Daniel Sturridge 6.36 7.6
10. Philippe Coutinho 6.14 5.83
31. Raheem Sterling 6.47 7.28
Substitutes All Fans BFR
17. Mamadou Sakho 6.0 5.76
50. Lazar Markovic 6.91 5.11
19. Javier Manquillo 6.0 5.75
23. Emre Can 4.11 5.22
1. Bradley Jones 5.0 3.72
9. Rickie Lambert 6.0 5.19
4. Kolo Touré 2.5 4.42

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