Liverpool 3 Manchester City 1

There were a number of surprises sprung by Pep Guardiola but unfortunately one of them was not the result.

Manchester City were the best side in the opening exchanges but found themselves 2-0 down and all but dead within 13 minutes. Whilst there was plenty on show at Anfield to get the conspiracy theorists started, the simple fact is we were beaten by a side which played better and were much more clinical.

Fabinho opened the scoring within 4 minutes, following a fast break after City had an attack which broke down through a Trent Alexander-Arnold hand ball, which was not only not given but not properly checked.

The second goal was a Salah header, which looked offside but again there was no need for VAR to check today, as some things are written in advance.

Other moments of strangeness followed. Fabinho avoided a yellow card for a cynical challenge and it was clear to anyone watching that City could pack up and go home.

City kept their composure and still strung together a number of good passing moves. But these, like in a number of recent games, were quite toothless, as City struggled to find any space amongst the packed Liverpool defence.

Bravo made at least one good save and Angelino hit the post, but with Liverpool effectively reffing the game the result was set.

The second half started at a less frantic pace, as though the joy had already eked out of the game. This was confirmed in the 50th minute when Liverpool scored a soft 3rd goal after Kyle Walker went to sleep at the back post.

By now, there was a possibility Liverpool could create a statement victory, from which City may take a few games to recover. Yet City did not change the way they approached the game. There was no tightening of the midfield, no closing of the spaces, instead we treated the game as though we were a goal to the good.

There were some echoes of the past in the performance. Back in 2015/16 an open and entertaining campaign was undone by a couple of games in quick succession against Liverpool and Leicester, which curtailed our season.

Too many players were lesiurely by the 60th minute. Not bothered to chase back, and it just made the game even easier for Liverpool. This was not the mentality of a title winning team on display.

Sterling had a penalty shout and Sergio Aguero missed a sitter, but there was a lack of commitment on display. City were shrugging their shoulders as they were beaten by a team playing better.

Bernardo Silva scored a consolation goal from the edge of the area but it failed to kick start a change in fortunes.

It is still too early to talk of titles. When we were 16 points ahead in April I still doubted we would win. But if City were to mount a title challenge now it would take a monumental collapse by Liverpool.

Instead it is more realistic to talk about securing top 4 at this point. That is not a foregone conclusion. A further loss against Chelsea and we may have our work cut out.

There were some positives too. Angelino looked capable as a left back at this level, although was exposed a little by the failure of Sterling to always track back. Rodrigo seems to be fit again after injury which should help in the weeks ahead.

Today will be remembered as another bad day at the office, but we go again. City till we die.