Man City 4-1 Liverpool: Player ratings as Reds crumble at Etihad Stadium

Man City were at their scintillating best
Man City were at their scintillating best / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

Manchester City sent a statement to Premier League leaders Arsenal with a 4-1 thumping of Liverpool in Saturday's early kick-off.

Pep Guardiola's men moved to within five points of the Gunners again ahead of their clash with Leeds, coming from behind to sweep aside the toothless Reds.

Jurgen Klopp's side took a surprise lead but were then promptly dismantled by the reigning champions, proving just how wide the chasm between these two rivals now is.

The hosts dominated possession in the opening stages but couldn't quite break the visitors down. A deep cross from Kevin De Bruyne was knocked across goal by Ilkay Gundogan early on but Alisson scampered off his line to intercept it and avert any danger.

A sweetly-struck half-volley from Rodri then flew into Alisson's grateful grasp before a free-kick from Riyad Mahrez whistled past the post as Man City began to turn the screw and open Liverpool up.

But against the run of play, Liverpool took a 17th-minute lead. A long ball over the top from Trent Alexander-Arnold caught the Man City defence cold, with Diogo Jota racing in behind and holding the ball up for Mohamed Salah to smash home.

Guardiola's charges sought to quickly bring the scores level again - twice Gundogan teed up Mahrez on the edge of the area in the following minutes, twice the Algerian fluffed his lines after failing to strike the ball sweetly.

Salah nearly took advantage of some aggressive Man City defending when he raced clear on the break following a corner, but Jack Grealish of all people recovered and stole the ball back in the nick of time.

And that proved to be a turning point as Man City immediately went down the other end and equalised. De Bruyne flicked the ball through midfield for Mahrez and then onto Gundogan, who in turn quickly shifted possession wide for Grealish, putting it on a plate for Julian Alvarez to tap in from close range.



After a quiet end to the first half, the champions went in front within a minute of the restart. Liverpool pushed high up early doors, allowing Alvarez to freely switch play for the advancing Mahrez, and he crossed for De Bruyne to fire in after Alisson missed the low cross.

Soon after, Man City had a third. Alvarez was once again at the heart of the move, weaving his way past several trailing Liverpool legs in the box and firing a shot into the shins of Alexander-Arnold, with Gundogan on hand to slot home the rebound.

Liverpool nearly pulled one back from the resulting kick-off, with Cody Gakpo's deflected strike bouncing just the wrong side of the post.

The Reds' fight to claw themselves back into the game then saw Gakpo fall under a challenge from compatriot Nathan Ake, but his appeals were dismissed and replays suggested the forward dived.

After showing some signs of life, Liverpool's misery was compounded when Man City grabbed a fourth. Gundogan's diagonal was flicked on by Grealish and into the path of De Bruyne, who returned the ball for the former Aston Villa man to sweep into the far corner.

Man City now have seven days until a trip to Southampton in their next league game, while Liverpool could head to Chelsea on Tuesday night sitting seventh in the standings.

Manchester City player ratings vs Liverpool (4-3-3)

Jack Grealish, Harvey Elliott
Grealish was unstoppable / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

GK: Ederson - 6/10 - Couldn't have done much about Salah's opener. A useful player in possession.

RB: John Stones - 6/10 - Occasionally tucked into midfield to create the 3-2-3-2 formation Guardiola has deployed this season. Like many of his defensive colleagues looked a little shaky early doors but grew into the game.

CB: Manuel Akanji - 5/10 - His trailing leg played Jota onside for the opener. Seemed fine after that but it was a needless lapse in concentration.

CB: Ruben Dias - 6/10 - Man City's most assured defender on the day.

LB: Nathan Ake - 5/10 - A man in fine form but his touch was a little off and Salah relished their physical encounters.

DM: Rodri - 5/10 - May have been sent off in the first half on another day following two quick cynical fouls but escaped with just a booking. Hesitant off the ball but Liverpool's passiveness meant this didn't matter too much.

CM: Kevin De Bruyne - 9/10 - Back to his best without feeling the need to force the issue with crosses. Dictated play and showed a great understanding with Mahrez down the right.

CM: Ilkay Gundogan - 9/10 - Superb. Popped up all over the pitch making Man City's attack tick, grabbing a goal for his efforts.

RW: Riyad Mahrez - 9/10 - Every touch felt like it was going to end with something special. Now the wrong side of 30 but showing no signs of slowing down.

CF: Julian Alvarez - 9/10 - No Haaland? No problem. Alvarez stepped into the Norwegian's big shoes and Man City looked a far more fluid side for it.

LW: Jack Grealish - 9/10 - Really establishing his place as a key member of Guardiola's attack this season. A touch like velvet, ran the hard yards and provided two goal contributions in one of his best ever performances for Man City.


Bernardo Silva (83' for Rodri) - N/A

Cole Palmer (89' for Grealish) - N/A


Pep Guardiola - 8/10 - This was one of Man City's best performances all season and it came without their goal machine.

Liverpool player ratings vs Man City (4-3-3)

Mohamed Salah
Well, Salah at least scored / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

GK: Alisson - 5/10 - Made some decent saves but missing Mahrez's cross for the second goal changes the game, even if the move should never have gotten to that point.

RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold - 4/10 - Excellent passing range but naive defensively. Nothing new.

CB: Ibrahima Konate - 4/10 - Guilty of pushing high up the pitch but he was not the worst offender.

CB: Virgil van Dijk - 3/10 - Dragged all over the place by Man City's tricky frontline. Somehow ended up in midfield for Alvarez's equaliser in which he tapped the ball in from 10 yards.

LB: Andy Robertson - 5/10 - Brought energy but it was wasted when trying to clamp down Mahrez.

DM: Fabinho - 4/10 - Sloppy from the off and that set the tone for Liverpool's day.

CM: Harvey Elliott - 3/10 - Scarcely got involved, which is not what you want for a midfielder.

CM: Jordan Henderson - 3/10 - Left chasing De Bruyne's shadow for much of the afternoon.

RW: Mohamed Salah - 7/10 - Took his early goal excellently, but was booked soon after for kicking the ball in frustration and he didn't look the same after.

CF: Cody Gakpo - 4/10 - A player with many qualities, but not the right ones to lead the line for Liverpool. Fortunate not to have been booked for a dive.

LW: Diogo Jota - 6/10 - Superb assist for Salah but is seriously lacking that extra yard of pace following his injury.


Darwin Nunez (70' for Salah) - 5/10

Roberto Firmino (70' for Jota) - 5/10

Kostas Tsimikas (70' for Robertson) - 4/10

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (70' for Elliott) - 4/10

James Milner (82' for Gakpo) - N/A


Jurgen Klopp - 2/10 - Liverpool simply don't enjoy defending anymore and that's on the coach.

Player of the match - Jack Grealish (Man City)