London – Manchester City left Liverpool’s title defence in tatters as Ilkay Gundogan’s double and two costly mistakes from Alisson Becker inspired the Premier League leaders’ dazzling 4-1 win, while Harry Kane starred in Tottenham’s 2-0 victory against West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.
Inspired by Gundogan’s goals and Phil Foden’s stylish display, City moved 10 points clear of fourth-placed Liverpool after their first win at Anfield since 2003.
The troubled champions were blown away by Pep Guardiola’s side, who became the first team to score four times in a league game away to Liverpool in 12 years.
City hold a five-point lead over second placed Manchester United and have a game in hand on their local rivals as they eye a third title in four seasons.
They have won 14 successive games in all competitions to equal the record for an English top-flight club, set by Preston in 1892 and Arsenal in 1987.
“We have done brilliantly so I cannot deny how happy we are. To come here and finally win, it’s very important,” Guardiola said.
“I’m so grateful to my players but this is now the past. In February no one is champions.”
Liverpool are in disarray after losing three consecutive home league games for the first time since 1963.
They have won just two of their last nine league matches as injuries and fatigue take their toll.
“We made two massive mistakes, that is clear. There is not a real explanation. Maybe he had cold feet? It sounds funny but it could be,” said coach Jurgen Klopp of the two poor clearances from Alisson that led to City goals.
“They used them and 3-1 down in a game like this, when you are that long level, it is tough to take.”
Gundogan blasted a 38th minute penalty into the Kop after Fabinho’s trip on Raheem Sterling.
But the Germany midfielder got back in Guardiola’s good books in the 49th minute with a close-range finish after Foden’s shot was parried into his path.
Liverpool were gifted a penalty in the 63rd minute after City defender Ruben Dias allowed Mohamed Salah to latch onto Trent Alexander-Arnold’s long pass and responded by pulling him down.
Salah took the penalty himself, showing Gundogan how to do it as he shot high into the net for his 22nd goal this season.
Alisson made an even bigger mistake than Dias in the 73rd minute when the Liverpool keeper’s sloppy pass was intercepted by Foden.
Foden made a superb run through the heart of the Liverpool defence before cutting back for Gundogan to finish from virtually on the line.
Alisson’s nightmare wasn’t over and in the 76th minute he again conceded possession with a woeful pass.
This time, Bernardo Silva was the beneficiary and he chipped a cross to Sterling, who headed into the empty net.
England midfielder Foden capped the rout in the 83rd minute, cut in from the right to blast past the shell-shocked Alisson.
Kane back in style
Jose Mourinho admitted Tottenham “depend” on Kane after the Tottenham striker delivered a dominant display on his return from injury.
Mourinho’s side had lost their previous three Premier League games to put their top four hopes in peril.
Revitalised by Kane’s earlier than expected return from an ankle problem suffered against Liverpool, Tottenham got back to winning ways just when the under-fire Mourinho needed it most.
Kane’s 20th goal in all competitions this season took him to 208 goals — level in joint second place alongside Bobby Smith in the club’s all-time scoring list.
The England captain’s milestone goal was followed by a Son Heung-min strike moments later.
Chelsea made it three successive wins for new boss Thomas Tuchel as Jorginho’s penalty clinched a 2-1 victory at Sheffield United.
Tuchel, who drew his first game in charge after replacing Frank Lampard, watched as Mason Mount fired Chelsea ahead from Timo Werner’s 43rd minute pass.
Antonio Rudiger’s 55th minute own goal didn’t faze Chelsea and Jorginho netted from the spot three minutes later after Blades keeper Aaron Ramsdale fouled Werner.
Tuchel’s team are up to fifth place, just one point behind Liverpool.
“The type of football is physical and tougher and there is a lot of quality. During matches it never stops,” said Tuchel of his early days in England.
Leicester remain third after a 0-0 draw at Wolves. — AFP