MANCHESTER, England: No Erling Haaland, no problem for Manchester City.
Even without the Premier League’s leading scorer, Pep Guardiola’s team came from behind to rout Liverpool 4-1 on Saturday and stay in pursuit of first-place Arsenal.
Haaland, who has scored 42 goals in all competitions this season, was ruled out of the game at Etihad Stadium after failing to recover from a groin injury.
But even after falling behind to a 20th-minute strike from Mohamed Salah, City powered back with goals from Julian Alvarez, Kevin de Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan and Jack Grealish to keep the pressure on Arsenal and deliver another blow to Liverpool’s Champions League qualification hopes.
The game represented one of the biggest remaining tests in City’s league campaign. Defeat would have given Arsenal the chance to extend their lead at the top to 11 points.
And that looked like a real possibility when Liverpool scored against the run of play early on, with Diogo Jota bursting past City’s high defensive line and laying off to Salah to sweep a shot into the corner.
But City evened the score when Alvarez, Argentina’s World Cup winning striker, converted Grealish’s cross in the 27th.
Liverpool had no answer to City’s attacking quality in the second half, with De Bruyne poking home a cross from Riyad Mahrez less than a minute after the restart.
Gundogan added a third from close range in the 54th, and Grealish got a deserved goal to round off the scoring in the 74th.
The win moved City to within 5 points of Arsenal before the Londoners’ game against Leeds later in the day.
Liverpool remain seven points off fourth-place Tottenham and still hasn’t won a league match at Etihad Stadium since 2015.
Jurgen Klopp’s team have now lost three straight games since routing Manchester United 7-0 last month.