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25 August 2014
• Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Referee: M. Oliver
• Attendance: 45471
S. Jovetić 41', 55'
S. Agüero 69'
P. Zabaleta 83' (own goal)
Liverpool will feel they were the architects of their own downfall as defensive errors allowed City to take control despite being second best for long periods. They now head to Tottenham while City, who are one of four teams with a 100 percent record in the Premier League, host Stoke City on Saturday. For now though, I've been Tom Maston,and thanks for joining me.
Cheers greet the final whistle and the defending champions send out a statement that they won't give up their title without a fight. Two goals from the impressive Jovetic and a fine finish from Aguero sealed the points for the hosts, and even a Zabaleta own goal couldn't wipe the smile off City faces.
90' + 4'
It's all City now as Liverpool start to leave gaps around their own box, and only a fine block from Lovren denies Toure as he looks to curl an effort in from 20 yards. Aguero then fires a shot into the side netting as we enter the final minute of stoppage time.
90' + 2'
Moreno is limping badly but gallantly carrying on as we enter five minutes of stoppage time. City could yet take advantage of the walking wounded in the Liverpool backline.
Skrtel has been able to continue but it makes little difference now. Meanwhile Moreno could now be forced off after turning his ankle by the left-hand touchline. Worries for Rodgers ahead of a visit to Tottenham on Sunday.
More injury worries now for the visitors as Skrtel stays down after a late challenge by Toure. The Ivorian is slightly fortunate there not to receive a second yellow card for a poor challenge.
Liverpool will have to play the final few minutes with ten men as Johnson limps off while replays suggest the final touch for the Liverpool goal may have been from Zabaleta, thus meaning Lambert is still searching for his first goal for his boyhood club.
Lambert almost grabs a second as he finds himself in acres of space on the left-hand side of the area, but his weak shot may have been heading off-target before Kompany slid in to clear.
Own Goal Pablo Zabaleta
GOAL!!! LAMBERT PULLS ONE BACK! Surely they can't, can they? Lambert has his first Liverpool goal as Sturridge delivers a brilliant ball to the back post, and though the original header from Lambert is saved by Hart, the ball bounces over the line from the ricocheted rebound. Game on?
Liverpool look to break following a poor corner from City, but Henderson is unable to link-up with Sturridge and create anything for the visitors.
No hat-trick this evening for Jovetic as he is replaced for the final ten minutes by Fernandinho. An excellent showing from the striker.
Before that set-piece is taken, Sterling is replaced by Lambert, but the England striker's presence can't yield a goal as Can heads high over the crossbar.
Liverpool don't want to go down without a fight and win a corner on the right-hand side following a good run by Johnson.
Yellow Card Emre Can
Can's first act is to pick up a booking after bundling over Jovetic with the striker set to head towards the heart of the Liverpool defence. No complaints for the young German.
Liverpool make their second change as Can replaces the ineffectual Allen in midfield.
City are toying with Liverpool now as they keep the ball comfortably in midfield. Rodgers will not allow his side to give up on this one, but even he might concede that this one is set to end in defeat.
That Aguero strike seems to have taken the wind out of Liverpool's sails and it would take a heroic effort from the visitors to get anything from this. As with last season, their defending has cost them this evening.
Assist Jesús Navas González
Goal Sergio Agüero
GOAL!!! AGUERO MAKES IT 3-0! On the pitch for a matter of seconds, Aguero gets inbetween the two Liverpool centre-halves to latch onto Navas' through ball before slotting past Mignolet. A simple goal for the Argentine.
Dzeko seems like he could carry on, but Pellegrini doesn't want to take any risks and Aguero is on.
Some concern here for Dzeko as he stays down following an aerial duel with Skrtel that the defender won. It seems the Slovakian's studs ran down the striker's leg as he landed, and Aguero is being readied on the bench.
Jesús Navas González
Sturridge again shows great feet to get clear of Kompany before firing a shot from a tight angle that Hart has to get a hand on to keep it from going in. Meanwhile Silva is replaced by Navas for the hosts.
The game is all of a sudden very open as Liverpool go in search of a way back into this game, and the visitors are really pushing to pull a goal back.
Markovic has certainly made a difference since coming on, and some fine play from the Serbian almost leads to a chance for Sturridge. Markovic found Sterling who in turn fed Sturridge in the box, but he just wasn't able to bring the ball down to get a shot in on goal.
Rodgers makes his first change as Coutinho is replaced by debutant Markovic for the final third of this one.
Jovetic almost fires in a third as the ball falls for him in the box but his stabbed effort goes just wide. It wouldn't have counted, however, as referee Oliver had already blown his whistle for a foul on Skrtel by Dzeko.
City are suddenly in full flight again as Dzeko fires in a cross from the left that just evades Jovetic, and Rodgers has a real task on his hands to help Liverpool find a way back into this one.
Assist Samir Nasri
Goal Stevan Jovetic
GOAL!!! JOVETIC DOUBLES CITY'S LEAD! The hosts show why they're champions with a superb team goal. Jovetic starts it with a fine backheel into Nasri's path before breaking into the box to slot the Frenchman's low cross past Mignolet.
Gerrard instead chips the ball in for Henderson, but his low cross from the left is cleared behind for a corner which comes to nothing. A real waste by the visitors.
Fernando brings down Sterling 30 yards from goal and Liverpool have a chance to test Hart with a free-kick...
City win a corner on the right-hand side that Silva delivers towards the penalty spot, but Jovetic cannot get his looping header on target. More excellent play from the former Fiorentina man.
OFFSIDE! Sturridge has the ball in the net after a ball from Johnson evades Kompany's header, but the linesman's flag rules out the effort. Replays suggest the assistant made an excellent decision.
Liverpool are back on the front foot since the restart as Sterling and Sturridge look to combine on the edge of the box. Eventually City get it clear, but Rodgers' half-time words certainly seem to have had an effect.
Liverpool were, in fact, sent out early by Rodgers for the second half, and after waiting for their hosts to appear, get us back underway...
The players are making their way back out onto the pitch ahead of the second period, with the champions no doubt buoyed by the way they controlled the game in the latter stages of the first half. Liverpool, meanwhile, are looking to continue their counter-attacking style that had City on the ropes for much of the opening 45 minutes.
Liverpool enjoyed the better of the first 35 minutes and almost took the lead through Sturridge, and Rodgers can at least be encouraged by the way they have attacked the game. I'll be back in ten minutes to see if they can turn things around.
City were unable to create anymore chances in the one minute of stoppage time, but they still go in at the break one goal to the good. Jovetic capitalised on Moreno's lapse in concentration, and the champions take the narrowest of leads into the second period.
Suddenly errors are slipping into Liverpool's play and City are winning plenty of free-kicks as they try to keep possession. The run of play has certainly switched in the closing stages of the first half.
That goal came at the end of City's best period of the first half, and it seems the energy Liverpool have shown for much of the half has disappeared in the past five minutes. Rodgers faces a big job to get them going again at the break.
Goal Stevan Jovetic
GOAL!!!! JOVETIC GIVES CITY THE LEAD! More patient build-up play from City leads to the ball finding Silva in the box. The Spaniard can't keep hold of it, but Jovetic is aware of what's happening and nips in front of Moreno to drive a low finish past Mignolet in the visitors' goal.
City are enjoying their first real period of possession as they look to take the attacking zip that has underpinned Liverpool's play thus far. Can the hosts make it count with the opening goal?
The home fans are growing restless with their side as they fail to establish a foothold in this game. Jovetic and Dzeko haven't quite clicked as yet while Silva has barely been seen in an attacking sense.
Gerrard marauds forward for the first time in the first half before feeding Sterling, but the youngsters' step-overs can't trick Clichy and another Liverpool attack fizzles out.
SAVE! First real sight of goal for Sturridge and he almost makes it count. Following fine play on the right between Johnson and Sterling, the England striker is able to jink his way past Kompany before firing a powerful effort goalwards that Hart parries at his near post.
After Hart punches a Gerrard free-kick clear, Henderson is able to get in behind the City defence thanks to a fine reverse pass from Sterling. With only Sturridge to aim for, though, the former Sunderland man's cross is cleared.
Yellow Card Yaya Touré
Toure picks up the first booking of the evening as he barges Coutinho to the ground as the Brazilian looked to head towards goal. The Ivorian is not happy with that, but in truth he can have few complaints.
Well into the second quarter of this match now and it is Liverpool who have looked the most likely to break the deadlock. That said, Hart is yet to be tested in the City goal.
Moreno again gets forward to deliver a dangerous ball from the left-hand side, and Demichelis is fortunate to see his attempted clearance slice behind for a corner. Liverpool can't capitalise though as the hosts clear their lines.
City win a corner on the right as Jovetic holds off Lovren before playing a fine pass for Zabaleta to run onto. Moreno is the man who is forced to put it behind before Fernando is penalised for a foul on Mignolet from the resulting set-piece.
Moreno has been limited to defensive duties in the opening 20 minutes, but he does have a second string to his bow and he illustrates that by getting away from Nasri before delivering a low cross that Kompany has to clear.
Liverpool's midfield trio of Gerrard, Allen and Henderson are winning the midfield battle at present as they outnumber Toure and Fernando. With Fernandinho on the bench, Pellegrini could look to change his formation if that continues.
Liverpool are certainly not holding back here, and Allen almost gets in a shot on goal from 20 yards as the ball falls nicely for him to hit on the bounce. The Wales man hadn't counted on Kompany, though, who flies at the ball and makes an excellent challenge to clear the danger.
Mignolet is forced into the first save of the night as Toure digs an effort out from the edge of the box. The shot never looks powerful enough, though, and the Belgian goalkeeper can hold on with ease down to his keft.
City take their turn to come forward as Clichy gets forward to deliver a deep cross from the left, but Zabaleta cannot control his first-time volley as it flies high over the crossbar. Missed opportunity for the hosts as the right-back had some time.
Sterling uses his pace to win a free-kick in a useful area on the right-hand side from Demichelis, but Gerrard is uncharacteristically wasteful with his delivery as his ball is too close to Hart. The goalkeeper catches under little pressure.
Sterling again makes his way into the box as Gerrard plays a delightful pass over the top, but the teenager can't quite control the ball sufficiently before hitting a weak effort wide on the turn.
City are certainly willing to be patient in these early stages, with Toure happy to sit deep alongside Fernando. Eventually they create the first half-chance of the match as Clichy's pass from the left finds Dzeko on the edge of the area, but his shot is always trickling wide.
Sturridge and Sterling look to combine for the first time as the former pulls to the right before looking to find his England team-mate. Sturridge's pass it just too strong though and City can clear.
Liverpool seem to have settled well, with debutant Moreno already showcasing his tackling ability with a fine challenge on Zabaleta as the Argentine looked to get in behind the visitors' defence.
With the sounds of 'Blue Moon' resonating around the stadium, City kick-off and get us going...
As expected, there is an electric atmosphere inside the stadium as the two teams go through the usual pre-match handshakes. The referee for tonight's match is Michael Oliver, and we're almost set to get underway in this huge fixture...
The players are in the tunnel with rain falling outside. That should help this be a free-flowing encounter with both sides able to pass the ball quickly on the slick surface.
There are now just over five minutes until kick-off in Manchester, and though these two sides were certainly the most entertaining to watch last season, this may well prove to be a cagey affair as neither side looks to give too much away so early in the season. There is plenty of attacking talent on show, but how those players are utilised will be key to the outcome of this one.
One man who could prove a thorn in City's side tonight is Philippe Coutinho. The Brazilian playmaker scored in both matches between these two sides last season, including the winning goal in a 3-2 win at Anfield, and along with Raheem Sterling will be key in supporting lone striker Daniel Sturridge with the shadow of the departed Luis Suarez still very much hanging over the club.
The two teams are out on the Etihad Stadium pitch warming-up, and there is set to be a superb atmosphere in East Manchester as the Premier League champions play their first home game since Vincent Kompany lifted the trophy there three months ago. The fact that one of their biggest title rivals are in town will only help in turning the volume up a couple of notches as kick-off approaches.
Rodgers, meanwhile, has made two alterations from the Liverpool team that beat Southampton eight days ago, as Joe Allen replaces Lucas in midfield while Alberto Moreno makes his Reds debut in place of Javi Manquillo. That means Glen Johnson reverts to his more familiar role at right-back. On the bench, Lazar Markovic is among the substitutes as he waits for his debut after joining from Benfica.
Manuel Pellegrini makes just one change from the City side that beat Newcastle United on the opening weekend, with Pablo Zabaleta deemed fit enough to start following his run to the World Cup final with Argentina. Gael Clichy is preferred at left-back, so Aleksander Kolarov is the man that misses out. Sergio Aguero is again on the bench despite scoring at St James' Park while Bacary Sagna is also named in the matchday squad for the first time since his move from Arsenal.
Liverpool subs: Jones, Manquillo, Sakho, Toure, Can, Markovic, Lambert.
Liverpool: Mignolet; Johnson, Skrtel, Lovren, Moreno; Gerrard, Henderson; Sterling, Allen, Coutinho; Sturridge.
Manchester City subs: Caballero, Sagna, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Milner, Navas, Aguero.
Manchester City: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Clichy; Nasri, Fernando, Toure, Silva; Jovetic, Dzeko.
So, Balotelli isn't available to Brendan Rodgers tonight, but the two team line-ups have been announced ahead of kick-off in 25 minutes' time...
Before we build-up to tonight's fixture, all the pre-match talk is surrounding one man - Mario Balotelli. The Italy striker has this afternoon completed his £16 million move to Liverpool from AC Milan, and though his signing came too late to make his debut against former side City tonight, he is in Manchester to see his new team-mates in action. The Italy striker has already trained at Melwood, and is set to make his first appearance against Tottenham next week.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of the Premier League encounter between Manchester City and Liverpool. Last season's top two sides go head-to-head in what is the standout fixture of the new season to date, with both aiming to continye their 100 percent start to the campaign. I'm Tom Maston, and I'll be guiding you through all the action from the Etihad Stadium.
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