Manchester City maintained the pressure on Premier League leaders Arsenal by shrugging off the absence of the injured Erling Haaland to outclass Liverpool with a magnificent display at Etihad Stadium.
City's 42-goal striker was ruled out with a groin injury, but Pep Guardiola's reigning champions demonstrated their all-round strength by coming from a goal down against a Liverpool side who have made life so difficult for them in the past, to run out convincing winners.
Liverpool caught City with a counter-attack after 17 minutes to take the lead, Diogo Jota making the break before Mohamed Salah applied a thumping finish.
City responded in devastating fashion with the outstanding Jack Grealish, who made a crucial intervention on Salah when Liverpool had the chance to double their lead, crossing for Julian Alvarez to equalise after 27 minutes.
Alvarez was the creator as City went ahead 53 seconds after the break, his raking pass finding Riyad Mahrez, who crossed for Kevin de Bruyne to slide home from close range.
John Stones delivered a masterclass in an unaccustomed role which saw him advance into midfield but also drop back into defence when required, and with City in total control Ilkay Gundogan added the third after a goalmouth skirmish.
Grealish deserved a goal and it duly arrived in the 74th minute when he timed his arrival perfectly to turn in De Bruyne's cross as Liverpool ended beaten and bedraggled.Follow Manchester City's match with Liverpool and the rest of Saturday's Premier League actionGo straight to all the best Manchester City contentVisit our Liverpool page
Grealish shows his class
When Grealish was substituted to a standing ovation late on, he fully deserved the accolade after a performance of the highest class.
The 27-year-old England winger tormented Trent Alexander-Arnold, delivered an equaliser on a plate for Alvarez and then scored the fourth goal that gave the scoreline a more accurate reflection of City's supremacy over Liverpool.
Among all of his contributions, the lung-busting run to chase back and block Salah as the Egyptian raced clear with the option of setting up Jota was vital. Seconds later he was playing in Alavarez and City were level.
Grealish has grown into his role at Manchester City and clearly has the faith of his manager, who embraced him in a bear hug as he left the field.
Even stripped of Haaland, City were scintillating and gave a graphic demonstration of the gap that has opened up between them and Liverpool, who have been the only side to provide them with serious opposition in the title race in recent years.
The stylish performance of Stones, spending time breaking up attacks and spraying passes around in midfield to show what a naturally gifted footballer he is, showed that Guardiola's side have many strings to their bow and this was a huge reminder to Arsenal that they will not give up their title without a fight.Jack Grealish has more Premier League goal involvements against Liverpool than he does any other opponent (7 - 3 goals, 4 assists)
Liverpool's decline made clear
Liverpool have been the shadow on Manchester City's shoulder in the title races of recent times - now they are simply a shadow of the side that chased a historic quadruple last season.
Jurgen Klopp's team may occasionally show their former selves, like in the 7-0 demolition of Manchester United, but too often this season they have been mediocre and now they face a fight to finish in the top four.
The midfield pairing of Jordan Henderson and Fabinho look tired and vulnerable and Virgil van Dijk has lost much of his old authority at the heart of the defence.
Alexander-Arnold had another dismal 90 minutes and Andrew Robertson, his full-back partner on the other side, did not fare much better. Both were left exposed and City took full toll.
Much is made of Liverpool's pursuit of Jude Bellingham but even if they are successful against opposition from many of Europe's elite, the idea that the brilliant teenager will cure all their ills is a delusion.
Klopp looked, in turns, furious and bemused at Liverpool's rank bad defending, lack of intensity and the manner in which they were over-powered - but given their previous form this season, he should not have been that surprised.
Player of the match
with an average of 7.71
Squad number10Player nameGrealish
Squad number17Player nameDe Bruyne
Squad number19Player nameÁlvarez
Squad number26Player nameMahrez
Squad number8Player nameGündogan
Squad number5Player nameStones
Squad number20Player nameBernardo Silva
Squad number80Player namePalmer
Squad number6Player nameAké
Squad number3Player nameRúben Dias
Squad number16Player nameRodri
Squad number25Player nameAkanji
Squad number31Player nameEderson
Squad number11Player nameMohamed Salah
Squad number1Player nameAlisson
Squad number18Player nameGakpo
Squad number20Player nameDiogo Jota
Squad number19Player nameElliott
Squad number5Player nameKonaté
Squad number26Player nameRobertson
Squad number14Player nameHenderson
Squad number4Player namevan Dijk
Squad number3Player nameFabinho
Squad number66Player nameAlexander-Arnold
Squad number7Player nameMilner
Squad number9Player nameRoberto Firmino
Squad number27Player nameNúñez
Squad number21Player nameTsimikas
Squad number15Player nameOxlade-Chamberlain
Formation 3-2-4-131Ederson3Rúben Dias25Akanji6Aké16RodriBooked at 33minsSubstituted forBernardo Silvaat 83'minutes8Gündogan17De Bruyne5Stones19Álvarez26Mahrez10GrealishSubstituted forPalmerat 89'minutes
Formation 4-3-31Alisson66Alexander-Arnold5Konaté4van Dijk26RobertsonSubstituted forTsimikasat 70'minutes19ElliottSubstituted forOxlade-Chamberlainat 70'minutes3Fabinho14Henderson11SalahBooked at 19minsSubstituted forNúñezat 70'minutes18GakpoSubstituted forMilnerat 82'minutes20JotaSubstituted forFirminoat 70'minutes
Match ends, Manchester City 4, Liverpool 1.
Second Half ends, Manchester City 4, Liverpool 1.
Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Virgil van Dijk.
Foul by Julián Álvarez (Manchester City).
Konstantinos Tsimikas (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Ilkay Gündogan (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Jordan Henderson (Liverpool).
Substitution, Manchester City. Cole Palmer replaces Jack Grealish.
Foul by Julián Álvarez (Manchester City).
Ibrahima Konaté (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt blocked. Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Kevin De Bruyne.
Attempt saved. Julián Álvarez (Manchester City) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Kevin De Bruyne with a through ball.
Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Konstantinos Tsimikas (Liverpool).
Substitution, Manchester City. Bernardo Silva replaces Rodri.
Substitution, Liverpool. James Milner replaces Cody Gakpo.
Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Attempt blocked. Rodri (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Riyad Mahrez.
Attempt saved. Jack Grealish (Manchester City) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Kevin De Bruyne.
Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
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