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Manchester City's midfielder Jack Grealish (right) celebrates with teammates after scoring their fourth goal during the English Premier League match against Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Manchester City’s impressive display at the Etihad Stadium saw them maintain the pressure on Premier League leaders Arsenal, despite the absence of their 42-goal striker, Erling Haaland.

The reigning champions demonstrated their all-round strength by coming from a goal down against a Liverpool side who have caused them problems in the past, to secure a convincing 4-1 victory.

Liverpool took the lead after 17 minutes with a counter-attack finished off by Mohamed Salah’s thumping strike. City responded swiftly when Jack Grealish crossed for Julian Alvarez to equalize after 27 minutes.

Alvarez was instrumental again just 53 seconds into the second half, delivering a raking pass that found Riyad Mahrez, who then crossed the ball for Kevin de Bruyne to slide it home from close range.

Masterclass performance

City’s John Stones played an unaccustomed role, advancing into midfield but also dropping back into defence when required. His performance was a masterclass, and with City in total control, Ilkay Gundogan added the third goal after a goalmouth skirmish.

Grealish, who had been outstanding throughout the match, finally got the goal he deserved in the 74th minute, turning in De Bruyne’s cross. The defeat left Liverpool beaten and bedraggled.

This win against a formidable Liverpool team was significant for City, who demonstrated their strength in depth and adaptability. Despite the absence of their talismanic striker, they put in an impressive performance that showcased their attacking prowess and defensive resilience.

The absence of Haaland could have been a significant setback, but the team’s other attacking players stepped up to fill the void. Grealish, in particular, was outstanding throughout the match.

Alvarez’s contribution should not be overlooked either. The young Argentine was crucial in setting up City’s second goal, and his overall performance was impressive, showcasing his immense talent and potential.

Unfamiliar role

Stones’s performance was also noteworthy. The centre-back showed his versatility by playing in an unfamiliar midfield role, where he was able to demonstrate his excellent passing ability and vision. He also dropped back into defence when required, showing his defensive awareness and tactical understanding.

Overall, this victory was a significant statement of intent. City showed that they have the depth and quality to cope with the absence of their star striker and still produce a dominant performance against one of the league’s strongest sides.

With the Premier League title race still wide open, this win will give Pep Guardiola and co a much-needed boost and help them maintain the pressure on league leaders Arsenal.