Liverpool and Manchester City both knew what was at stake in Sunday's showdown at Anfield, and the Reds are the ones looking good while dealing the defending champions and chief title rival a long road ahead.
Liverpool beat Manchester City 3-1 in a match that turned early on a handball call that wasn't given on one end and a Fabinho long-range goal on the other. Headers from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane followed, giving the Reds full control at home. Bernardo Silva's late goal gave City brief hope, but the visitors couldn't get any closer and have their work cut out to win a third straight league title.
Man City entered the day trailing Liverpool by six points, but Pep Guardiola's side was hoping to get back in the hunt–and leap over Chelsea and Leicester, who are a point ahead after having played a game more–with a victory. Instead, City is nine points behind and Liverpool remains unbeaten on the season with a decent margin for error going forward in the title race.
Man City didn't play poorly at all and enjoyed a strong start in possession, putting Liverpool on its heels to start, though not troubling Alisson's goal either in the opening five minutes.
As Man City continued to push, it was livid after a handball was not called in the Liverpool box on Trent Alexander-Arnold, following a surge forward by Silva. While Man City was protesting and reeling from the no-call, Liverpool broke forward and struck first. Ilkay Gundogan's weak clearance fell right for an unmarked Fabinho, and he laced a long-range blast by Claudio Bravo, starting in place of the injured Ederson, to make it 1-0.
VAR reviewed the no-call on Alexander-Arnold during the goal celebrations and did not change the initial call, keeping the Reds in front.
Liverpool doubled its lead off an uncontroversial sequence in the 13th minute, with its two fullbacks central to the action. Alexander-Arnold played it wide to Andy Robertson, who curled a perfect ball across toward the back post, where Salah headed in to make it 2-0.
Manchester City continued to trail, but not for a lack of chances. Sergio Aguero failed to get his head to a pinpoint Kevin De Bruyne free kick on one instance, while Angeliño had a deflected chance after another fine feed from De Bruyne go just wide of the far post. In the 42nd minute, Aguero, who entered the day with no goals at Anfield in 10 matches, got in behind the Liverpool defense but also put his opportunity wide of the post.
Salah nearly made it 3-0 right before halftime, but Bravo made a flying save to keep his 20-yard chance from finding the upper left-hand corner of the net.
Liverpool did get that 3-0 scoreline six minutes into the second half on a sequence when Bravo should have done considerably better. He let Jordan Henderson's cross from the end line sail through his six-yard box to the far post, where Mane's header snuck inside the woodwork to pad the lead.
Manchester City pulled one back in the 78th minute, as Angeliño's deflected cross found its way to Silva. The Portuguese star tucked his left-footed chance inside the near post, making it 3-1 and giving City a late lifeline.
Here were the lineups for both sides:
Liverpool heads to Crystal Palace after the international break, while Man City has another huge game when it hosts Chelsea at the Etihad following the FIFA window.