MAN CITY 3, LIVERPOOL 1
Manchester City’s emphatic victory against last season’s runners-up Liverpool was an ominous statement to the rest of the Premier League.
There was no resting on their laurels by champions City who were fired up against one of their main title rivals.
And City had an unlikely hero is two-goal Stevan Jovetic, a player who endured a difficult debut season for the club.
Jovetic, whose campaign was interrupted by injury, managed only seven starts, though he managed to find the net six times.
With Sergio Aguero handed an extended break following the World Cup, Jovetic has stepped in and seized his chance and maintained his impressive strike rate.
There was also a goal for Aguero who found the net only 23 second after making his entrance as he provided the gloss on an impressive display with City’s third of the night.
It was one which delighted Manuel Pellegrini as the City manager explained: “I said before the game it was a six-pointer.
“When you play at home, it is important not to drop points and important against a team like Liverpool who I expect to fight for the title.”
Pellegrini was especially pleased with the impact Jovetic made continuing: “It was not only for his goals, but his work in the whole game.
“He was very unlucky last season, but I never had any doubt about his quality. I am happy for him.”
Pellegrini added that it is important to have four strikers due to the fact his side will have so many games to play during the season.
There was a City return for Liverpool new-boy Mario Balotelli though he was not signed in time to face his former club which would have been a mouth-watering prospect. And how Liverpool need him on the evidence of their disappointing display.
Both sides struggled early on to carve out chances and it took quarter of an hour before either keeper was forced into action. Then Liverpool’s Simon Mignolet made a straightforward diving save to deny Yaya Toure.
And Liverpool’s first meaningful opening came in the 33rd minute when Daniel Sturridge’s angled shot was blocked by Joe Hart at the near post.
The breakthrough came four minutes before the break after Liverpool’s newly-signed defender Dejan Lovren failed to clear danger as David Silva set up Jovetic who found the net with a fierce drive.
Sturridge had the ball in the net early in the second half, but the effort was ruled out for offside.
City strengthened their hold on the game when Jovetic struck again 10 minutes after the restart following a delightful 19-pass move.
The Montenegrin striker started the move with a back heel to release Samir Nasro on the right and he delivered a delightful cross for Jovetic to sweep home at the far post.
The night got even better for City when Aguero scored with his first touch of the night. Fellow substitute Jesus Navas played in a delightful defence-splitting pass as the striker breezed past Lovren to score from an angle.
Liverpool scored a consolation with seven minutes left through a Pablo Zabaleta own goal, though it was initially credited to substitute Ricky Lambert.
Hart made a brilliant save to deny Lambert but the ball rebounded over the line off Zabaleta’s knee with goalline technology needed to vertify the effort after Hart scooped out the shot.