Premier League
Man CityManchester City3LiverpoolLiverpool1

Manchester City 3-1 Liverpool

By Phil McNultyChief football writer at Etihad Stadium
Sergio Aguero
Substitute Sergio Aguero scored Manchester City's third goal with his first touch on the pitch
  • Manchester City make it two wins from two
  • Jovetic scores first Premier League brace
  • Balotelli watches his new side lose

Manchester City delivered an early statement of intent as the Premier League champions comfortably overcame last season's runners-up Liverpool at Etihad Stadium.

Stevan Jovetic scored either side of half-time to punish Liverpool, who dominated much of the first half without creating the opportunities to go with their excellent work-rate and approach work.

And as Liverpool's new £16m signing Mario Balotelli watched from the directors' box against his former club, any hopes of a comeback were snuffed out when Sergio Aguero slid home the third 23 seconds after coming on as substitute for the injured Edin Dzeko.

Pablo Zabaleta's own goal at least got Liverpool on the scoresheet but the last 20 minutes were played out as a formality, such was City's control.

Jovetic's first season at City was hampered by injuries but he has form for tormenting Liverpool after scoring twice against them in Fiorentina's Champions League win in 2009 and he showed his quality again here.

Stevan Jovetic
Stevan Jovetic only scored three Premier League goals last season, but netted twice in this game

Liverpool are in a period of transition with nine new signings this summer following the departure of Luis Suarez to Barcelona.

And, while they were the better side for the first 40 minutes, they never recovered from an error by debutant Alberto Moreno that allowed City to take the lead just before half-time.

The pleasure for Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini will not just come from the victory, but also from the fact that it was achieved without ever truly hitting the heights against the team who pushed them to the final day of last season's title race.

Balotelli risk worth taking - Rodgers

For City, without needing to be at their best, this was very much business as usual for the reigning champions.

Liverpool will obviously miss a player of Suarez's world-class calibre but Rodgers must also be given time to bed in his reshaped squad, and these early days of the season will represent a work in progress.

Rodgers will also be hoping the maverick Balotelli will provide the sort of X-factor Suarez provided without the accompanying unsavoury headlines once he gets down to business after completing his move from AC Milan.

Liverpool's greater strength in midfield numbers and intense pressing posed problems for City until the deadlock was broken after 41 minutes in a manner the visitors' manager would have found hugely unsatisfactory.

Pablo Zabaleta
Pablo Zabaleta scored a late own goal under pressure from Liverpool striker Rickie Lambert

Dejan Lovren attempted to find Moreno with a header in the area but the £12m signing from Sevilla hesitated, allowing Jovetic to pounce and beat Simon Mignolet.

If Jovetic's first goal owed something to a Liverpool lapse, his second, 10 minutes after the restart, was a superb team goal started and finished by the talented Montenegrin.

Jovetic's brilliant flick set Samir Nasri free and he continued his run into the area to end a prolonged period of City passing with another emphatic finish.

'Very important' win pleases Pellegrini

City wrapped things up in remarkable fashion with 21 minutes left. Aguero made his entrance to replace Dzeko and, within seconds, he was running on to Jesus Navas's perfect pass to beat Mignolet from a tight angle.

Liverpool pulled a goal back when Zabaleta turned into his own net after a far-post scramble with Rickie Lambert, but there was no consolation on offer here, only the concern of defender Glen Johnson limping off with what looked like a groin injury.

Rodgers will hope Balotelli can help bridge the gap between the sides over the course of a season but this was an impressively understated win from City.

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini: "We worked the whole game and played a very good team. We worked without the ball for 95 minutes and with the ball we made enough danger to score three goals.

"When you play against a strong team you have to concentrate and our concentration and intensity was good. Liverpool are an important team and one that will be fighting for the title. It's so important to get six points from our first two games as it was a very difficult start for us.

"Stevan Jovetic was very unlucky last season and he had so many injuries. He has been patient and worked very hard to come again. We bought him because he is a very good player, he had a good pre-season and I'm very happy for him - he deserves it.

"We need four strikers. At this moment Stevan is doing very well but you cannot forget Alvaro Negredo is injured. Edin Dzeko and Jovetic and Aguero are working well. It is important that they continue playing the way they did."

Mario Balotelli
New £16m Liverpool signing Mario Balotelli watched the game next to other Reds squad members
Roy Hodgson
England manager Roy Hodgson was among the crowd at Etihad Stadium
David Silva
Manchester City won more home Premier League games than any other side last season
Manchester City
Manchester City have only conceded one goal from their two Premier League matches this season


Man City

Formation 4-4-1-1

  • 1Hart
  • 5Zabaleta
  • 4Kompany
  • 26Demichelis
  • 22Clichy
  • 8Nasri
  • 42Y TouréBooked at 29mins
  • 6Reges
  • 21SilvaSubstituted forNavasat 65'minutes
  • 35JoveticSubstituted forFernandinhoat 80'minutes
  • 10DzekoSubstituted forAgüeroat 68'minutes


  • 3Sagna
  • 7Milner
  • 11Kolarov
  • 13Caballero
  • 15Navas
  • 16Agüero
  • 25Fernandinho


Formation 4-3-3

  • 22Mignolet
  • 2Johnson
  • 37Skrtel
  • 6Lovren
  • 18Moreno
  • 14Henderson
  • 8Gerrard
  • 24AllenSubstituted forCanat 75'minutesBooked at 76mins
  • 31SterlingSubstituted forLambertat 79'minutes
  • 15Sturridge
  • 10CoutinhoSubstituted forMarkovicat 60'minutes


  • 1Jones
  • 4K Touré
  • 9Lambert
  • 17Sakho
  • 19Manquillo
  • 23Can
  • 50Markovic
Michael Oliver

Match Stats

Home TeamMan CityAway TeamLiverpool
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Manchester City 3, Liverpool 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Manchester City 3, Liverpool 1.

  3. Post update

    Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Alberto Moreno.

  4. Post update

    Attempt missed. Sergio Agüero (Manchester City) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Fernandinho.

  5. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Yaya Touré (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Samir Nasri.

  6. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  7. Post update

    Delay in match Alberto Moreno (Liverpool) because of an injury.

  8. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  9. Post update

    Delay in match Martin Skrtel (Liverpool) because of an injury.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Yaya Touré (Manchester City).

  11. Post update

    Martin Skrtel (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Post update

    Glen Johnson went off injured after Liverpool had used all subs.

  13. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  14. Post update

    Delay in match Glen Johnson (Liverpool) because of an injury.

  15. Goal!

    Own Goal by Pablo Zabaleta, Manchester City. Manchester City 3, Liverpool 1.

  16. Post update

    Attempt saved. Rickie Lambert (Liverpool) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Daniel Sturridge with a cross.

  17. Post update

    Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Martin Skrtel.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Manchester City. Fernandinho replaces Stevan Jovetic.

  19. Post update

    Attempt missed. Emre Can (Liverpool) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Jordan Henderson with a cross following a corner.

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Liverpool. Rickie Lambert replaces Raheem Sterling.

As It Stood

3Man City22005146
7Aston Villa21101014
8West Ham21013213
12West Brom20202202
13Man Utd201123-11
18Crystal Palace200225-30
View full Premier League table

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