Manchester City return to winning ways
Published 03/01/2012 | 22:02
Manchester City 3-0 Liverpool: Normal service was resumed for 10-man Manchester City as they once again put daylight between themselves and rivals Manchester United at the top of the Barclays Premier League table with a 3-0 victory over Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium.
Reds goalkeeper Jose Reina allowed a soft Sergio Aguero shot go under him before slack marking at a corner allowed Yaya Toure to power home the second with his head.
Even when Gareth Barry was sent off for a second bookable offence with 18 minutes remaining City added a third from James Milner's penalty after Yaya Toure had been brought down by Martin Skrtel.
Prior to kick-off Liverpool confirmed they would not be appealing Luis Suarez's eight-match suspension for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra, and if this is what life is like without the Uruguay international then the Reds could be in for a difficult six weeks, although the quality of opposition will rarely be matched.
In a battle between the league's top scorers and the meanest defence, something had to give but few would have predicted it would be the usually reliable Reina, with the Spanish international making a complete hash of Aguero's 25-yard dipping shot and allowing the ball to fly underneath his body.
That was in sharp contrast to counterpart Joe Hart's reactions in denying Stewart Downing moments earlier when his England team-mate threatened to score having been played in by Jordan Henderson.
Reina went some way to redeeming himself with a sharp save from Vincent Kompany's glancing header but was left helpless by Toure's powerful header off the underside of the crossbar from Silva's corner in the 34th minute.
Ten minutes into the second half Charlie Adam was replaced by Steven Gerrard, who had been the catalyst for victory over Newcastle on Friday, and former City striker Craig Bellamy came on for Dirk Kuyt.
And Liverpool appeared to have gained the momentum when Barry, having been booked late in the first half, was sent off for a second caution after blocking Daniel Agger.
But seconds later the result was wrapped up when they conceded possession inside City's half and Skrtel fouled Toure on the breakaway to allow Milner to make it 3-0 from the spot.