- Manchester City 3-1 Liverpool
Jovetic at the double as City sink Liverpool
Liverpool tasted their first defeat of the Premier League season as Manchester City gave a champions' performance in a dominant 3-1 victory at the Etihad Stadium.
The visitors went into the clash with new signing Mario Balotelli watching from the stands, but it was the City strikers - namely the impressive Stevan Jovetic - who stole the show on the night.
- Man of the Match: No doubts with this one - Stevan Jovetic. The City striker proved a constant thorn in Liverpool's side and rightly ended his night with a two-goal haul. Impressive start to the season from him.
- Villain: Sorry, Liverpool fans, but this one goes to new signing Alberto Moreno, who endured a Premier League baptism of fire at the Etihad. His dilly-dallying for City's first, on the stroke of half-time, changed the entire mood in both camps at the break.
- Key moment: Welcome to the party, Sergio Aguero. Having just come on, the Argentine timed a superb run to latch on to Jesus Navas' through ball and calmly slide the ball past Simon Mignolet for the City's third - and subsequently kill the game off.
- Rob Bartlett
Jovetic gave City the lead on the stroke of half time, profiting from Liverpool debutant Alberto Moreno's hesitance at the back to volley through Simon Mignolet's legs and into the net.
Up until then, Liverpool provided a disciplined defensive showing but Dejan Lovren's poor header combined with Moreno's mistake proved far too costly.
Daniel Sturridge had the ball in the net shortly after the break but it was rightly chalked off for offside, before Jovetic made it a double on the night.
He started the move, sending Samir Nasri free down the right with a superb flick before latching onto the midfielder's cross with a composed finish.
Sergio Aguero replaced Edin Dzeko up front and was involved immediately, timing his run to perfection to collect Jesus Navas' through ball and slip the ball around Mignolet for a brilliant third, before Rickie Lambert's header was ruled to have crossed the line late on.
City went top of the fledgling table thanks to a clinical cutting edge which Liverpool need to rediscover - presumably with Balotelli at the forefront - having lost the mercurial talents of Luis Suarez.
While not exactly cagey in the early stages both sides seemed to be lacking the surety which so often defines these encounters between the top sides.
For all their endeavour and ambition the best either could offer in the opening 40 minutes saw Dzeko and Pablo Zabaleta shoot off target and Yaya Toure draw the first save out of Mignolet, while for the visitors Sturridge had a near-post effort batted away by Joe Hart.
Hart found himself facing more potential threats with Liverpool having plenty of opportunities to test the England international from corners and free kicks around the penalty area but they failed to take advantage of those and their slightly greater share of possession.
Raheem Sterling's penetrating runs looked like they could be a profitable avenue to exploit for Brendan Rodgers' side but City's vastly experienced defence proved too canny for the youngster.
With centre-half Lovren playing only his second game and left-back Moreno making his debut there was maybe not the same understanding in Liverpool's back line and that inexperience saw them undone just before half-time.
Moreno, a £12 million summer signing, had arrived on the back of a Europa League triumph with Sevilla but for all his natural pace the speed of the Premier League will take some adjusting to.
He was fortunate his lunge at Zabaleta did not concede a penalty but the Spaniard's next missed connection - from Lovren's weak defensive header - allowed Jovetic to steal the ball from under his nose and blast past Mignolet.
After a catalogue of fitness problems Jovetic is starting to deliver, although once Aguero regains full fitness after his World Cup exertions he may find his time is limited unless he can continue to find the goals to persuade manager Manuel Pellegrini otherwise.
He proved his first was no fluke with a second in the 55th minute, converting Nasri's cut-back after his own initial nifty flick and should have had a hat-trick but bundled a shot wide from possibly his best position of the night.
Another former City striker Sturridge, who had what he thought was the equaliser ruled out for offside, forced Hart into a reaction save with an angled shot but there was little else from the visitors, who gave second-half debuts to winger Lazar Markovic and Emre Can.
But Aguero's strike, racing onto fellow substitute Navas' through-ball, and exploiting the space Mignolet left at his near post showed rather pointedly that City have well and truly moved on from Balotelli.
Liverpool's final substitute of the night Lambert provided a small crumb of comfort by following in his own header which Hart had brilliantly saved only for the final bounce to come off Zabaleta before it crossed the line.