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Barclays English Premier League

City topple L'pool

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Manchester City striker Alvaro Negredo scores the winning goal against Liverpool during their Premier League encounter at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday. Photo: afp
Manchester City striker Alvaro Negredo scores the winning goal against Liverpool during their Premier League encounter at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday. Photo: afp

Alvaro Negredo's ninth goal in nine home games saw Manchester City continue their peerless home form as they beat Liverpool 2-1 in a gripping Premier League encounter on Thursday.
Vincent Kompany and Negredo were City's goalscorers as they responded to Philippe Coutinho's opener to maintain the division's only perfect home record and move their team, ominously, into second place in the table.
Liverpool, meanwhile, fell from first place to fourth, but they trail new leaders Arsenal by only three points.
Having weathered a characteristically strong start to the game from the hosts, Liverpool stunned Manuel Pellegrini's men by taking the lead after 24 minutes.
Moments earlier, Luis Suarez had played Raheem Sterling clean through on goal, only for the winger to be judged offside -- incorrectly, as replays would show.
But eventually the opening goal arrived, thanks to a clever touch from Suarez, who steered Jordan Henderson's pass forward for Sterling.
The young winger rounded goalkeeper Joe Hart before Coutinho took over and calmly planted the ball into the open goal.
This was a true test of City's title pretensions and their invincibility at home, where they had collected every available league point to date this season and, sure enough, within seven minutes, they were level.
Kompany was the source, the big defender rising powerfully to meet a David Silva corner with a precise headed finish that covering Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen could only help into his own net.
Liverpool continued to impress -- far more than fellow title hopefuls Arsenal or Manchester United, who had been brutally swept aside by City at the Etihad Stadium -- but on the stroke of half-time, City went in front.
Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet was at fault, badly misjudging Negredo's mis-timed shot after the City forward got on the end of a slick counter-attack involving Samir Nasri and Jesus Navas.
It was the culmination of a thrilling first half, which opened with Navas almost heading City into the lead after just five minutes, meeting Aleksandar Kolarov's left-wing cross with a superb effort that scraped the upright.
But Liverpool, and Suarez in particular, are playing with the confidence and verve of a team that even their cautious manager Brendan Rodgers now admits may have a chance of winning the title in 2014.
In the 13th minute, Suarez came close to adding to his recent avalanche of goals when he headed down and just wide from Coutinho's corner.

Published: 12:02 am Saturday, December 28, 2013

Last modified: 10:02 pm Saturday, December 28, 2013

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