Two weeks ago, we argued that Liverpool needs to go all-in on winning the Premier League.
Manchester City offered compelling evidence to that point on Saturday.
City won 2-0 at Crystal Palace in the nightcap, and the second goal was a stunner of teamwork. Two minutes after Gabriel Jesus’ opener, Raheem Sterling and David Silva combined to do this:
As patient and smooth as Sterling was, and for all of Silva’s clinical expertise on the finish, perhaps what’s best about this goal is all the times it almost didn’t happen.
Crystal Palace defender James Tomkins stepped up and forced Kevin de Bruyne to play Jesus earlier than he wanted, which held up the counter. Jesus regrouped and switched fields to Benjamin Mendy’s run forward from fullback, and even Mendy’s touch was a bit careless.
Fortunately it fell right to Sterling, and as Mendy bent his run around Sterling to keep Palace honest, Silva — who was near midfield when Jesus played his pass — bulldozed in and gave Sterling the option to cut right over the defense.
The volley was vintage Silva skill. The goal was vintage City.
At their best, Pep Guardiola’s charges are creative, instinctive, tireless and ruthless. That they doubled the lead with such immediacy is not surprising, given how they’ve dominated the league the last two seasons.
The win brings City within five points of Liverpool, which faces Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday. Even if City’s early stumbles handed the Reds a leg up, they have to keep their foot on the gas. They did all last season, and it still wasn’t enough. Let’s see if it is this season.
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