It was the night Manchester City made it clear they have no intentions of giving up their Premier League crown without a considerable fight. For Pep Guardiola and his players there is still a game of catch-up to play at the top of the table but they will like to think this victory could be a decisive blow. As the song goes, City intend to fight to the end and, if they are to relinquish their grip on the trophy, finger by finger, it will need something special from Liverpool to hold them off.
That much felt very clear during those jubilant scenes at the final whistle when City celebrated a victory that could conceivably give them fresh impetus in their quest to defend the title. Liverpool chose a bad night to concede two league goals for the first time this season and Leroy Sané’s decisive strike brings the gap down to four points.
A month ago it was City with a five-point cushion at the summit and playing with a freedom of expression to create the impression they were capable of turning the title race into a procession. That turnaround at the top of the table made it almost imperative the reigning champions ended Liverpool’s unbeaten start to the season and City played with an urgency that reflected the narrative. Yet for long spells they discovered here why Liverpool had the best defensive statistics in the league, why the team in red had conceded eight goals from their previous 20 fixtures and why Virgil van Dijk has been attracting so much acclaim for his performances.