Manchester City’s stuttering title challenge suffered another critical blow as Liverpool gained revenge for their Capital One Cup defeat with a comprehensive 3-0 victory at Anfield.
First-half goals from Adam Lallana and City old boy James Milner, together with Roberto Firmino’s strike in the second period, consigned Manuel Pellegrini’s side to a third successive Premier League defeat which left them a daunting 10 points adrift of leaders Leicester.
Fourth-placed City retain a game in hand on their title rivals and stayed four points behind Arsenal, although Manchester United and West Ham are both snapping at their heels.
A low long-range Lallana effort somehow deceived England goalkeeper Joe Hart, while Milner, who spent five seasons at the Etihad Stadium, prodded home following intricate Liverpool interplay.
Lallana was instrumental all evening and tormented the City backline again shortly before the hour mark, finding Firmino who swept past a helpless Hart. Victory also ensured Liverpool completed a league double over their beleaguered visitors.
United took full advantage of their neighbours’ Anfield collapse by beating Watford 1-0 at Old Trafford courtesy of a late strike from former Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata.
Back-to-back league wins ensured fifth-placed United moved level on points with City and only trailing by goal difference. Defeat for Watford left the Hornets 12th.
Newcastle, meanwhile, remain firmly ensconced in the relegation mire after Xherdan Shaqiri’s 80th minute strike gave Stoke a 1-0 victory at the Britannia Stadium and lifted the Potters to seventh. A fourth loss in five league matches left Steve McClaren’s Magpies second bottom.