Man City 4-1 Liverpool: Title race statement as Jack Grealish and Kevin De Bruyne down sorry Reds

Star of the show: Jack Grealish  (REUTERS)
Star of the show: Jack Grealish (REUTERS)

Manchester City brushed off the absence of Erling Haaland to keep the pressure on Premier League leaders Arsenal with a resounding 4-1 win over rivals Liverpool.

Two goals early in the second half from Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan gave City a decisive edge before Jack Grealish wrapped up victory in an absorbing contest at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Liverpool, so used to being City's chief title challengers themselves, had taken an early lead through Mohamed Salah but Haaland's replacement Julian Alvarez quickly levelled and the visitors tired after the break.

The final score underlined the gap that has opened up between the clubs this season with champions City now 22 points ahead of the side that took them to the wire last year.

Much of the build-up to the game had focused on the fitness of the prolific Haaland, who has scored 42 goals in all competitions for City this season.

The Norwegian failed to recover from a groin problem in time but surely looked on with satisfaction from a private box as his team-mates excelled without him.