By 90Min
September 09, 2017

With both fourth placed Manchester City and second placed Liverpool being unbeaten before Saturday's lunchtime kick-off at the Etihad, the encounter was billed to be a blockbuster, as two of the Premier League's title contenders went head to head in an early season battle to gain premature supremacy over one another in the domestic standings.

The first 20 minutes or so of the first half, however, started in a subdued manner, with both sides trying to find the pockets to play within, whilst tempting the defensive lines to leave the edge of their respective boxes.

In the 13th minute, Fernandinho managed to find space in the centre of the park to send a low driven effort towards the goal, but Mignolet was equal to the attempt, and palmed it round his right hand-side post.

The tie soon heated up, after Sergio Aguero latched onto a pinpoint through ball from De Bruyne which split Liverpool's defence expertly, the Argentine then rounding the oncoming Mignolet to slot the ball into the net.

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Just after the half-hour mark, Ederson was forced into making a smart save when Mohamed Salah was sent clean through with just the keeper to beat, but his studied stroke towards the net was held well by the Brazilian.

City were then a whisker away from making it 2-0 in the 35th minute, the ball fell fortuitously to John Stones on the penalty spot after a melee from a corner, but the centre-half could not divert the point-blank opportunity past Mignolet.

The first half was finally starting to boil when in the 36th minute, Liverpool's star man Sadio Mane was sent to the stands after receiving a straight red for virtually kung-fu kicking Ederson, as he attempted to make contact with a lofted through ball. Both men were focused on the ball, but Mane's actions were deemed reckless by Jonathan Moss, meaning that he had no choice but to punish the Senegalese forward accordingly.

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After a lengthy stoppage in play whilst Ederson was receiving treatment, fellow Brazilian ace Gabriel Jesus had a goal disallowed in the third of the eight additional minutes after being adjudged to be offside.

But Jesus did grab a genuine goal of his own in the sixth minute of added time when De Bruyne offered-up the 20-year-old the opportunity to head the ball home on a plate; Jesus met the cross, and beat Mignolet from close range. 

After the halftime interval, City had yet another goal wiped off the board, with Aguero's toe-poke being ruled out for offside in the 53rd minute - a fast start for Pep Guardiola's dominant men. Just moments later, Jesus did in fact make it 3-0 to the Sky Blues. Fernandinho freed Aguero and the 29-year-old unselfishly squared the ball for Jesus to nab his brace for the day, after swiping the ball past the stranded Mignolet.

The second-half subsided somewhat until the 77th minute of play, when Leroy Sane chalked City's fourth goal of the match - the German was found in the box by Benjamin Mendy, and the winger expertly converted the Frenchman's cross past Mignolet into the bottom right of the target. 4-0.

A second yellow was brandished for the Reds in the 80th minute, when Emre Can chopped down Aguero close to the corner flag on the left hand-side, more a sign of utter frustration from the central midfielder.

In the 87th minute, Mignolet denied City's Aguero from making it five when the Belgian leaped across his goal-line to deny Aguero from diverting the ball into the net.

But, despite Mignolet's previous save, it was soon 5-0 to City, when Sane unleashed an unstoppable left-footed effort past Mignolet into the top corner of the net in the 91st minute, leaving the goal-frame shaking - Sane left the best goal of the tie until last, seemingly, joining Jesus with two goals each.

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