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Wednesday January 4, 2012Manchester City 3 - 0 Liverpool

By William Wood | In Match Reports - Home Games

Manchester City restored a three point lead at the top of the Premier League after they saw off Liverpool courtesy of a 3-0 win at the Etihad Stadium.

Goals from Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure and James Milner sealed an impressive win, though Gareth Barry was sent-off for two bookable offences in the only negative for Roberto Mancini.

A point from two games had allowed rivals Manchester United to haul themselves level with City at the top of the table, and it was little surprise that the hosts started cagily as Stewart Downing forced Joe Hart into a save early on.

However, a timely intervention settled the home side’s nerves, Aguero working a yard of space and firing in a shot that bounced just in front of Pep Reina and ended up in the back of the net to make it 1-0.

The difficult conditions encouraged both sides to shoot on site, and a tame effort by Aguero not long after his opener was saved comfortably by Reina, whilst Vincent Kompany – a rock at the back for City throughout – saw his flicked header superbly tipped over by the Liverpool stopper.

If Liverpool were buoyed by their solid response to City’s first goal, they were to find themselves two down moments later as Yaya Toure glanced the ball home to make it 2-0.

As half-time approached Kompany had to be on hand to make a vital block as Dirk Kuyt teed up a shot from close range, whilst Micah similarly had to dive in to block a Downing effort minutes after the re-start.

Mancini’s men were looking comfortable, but life was to be made slightly more difficult for them as Barry was handed his marching orders for two yellow cards with 18 minutes of normal time remaining.

Any hope of a late comeback were, though, dampened as another powerful charge by Yaya Toure drew a penalty from the Reds, with Milner stepping up to confidently curl the spot-kick past Reina.

Substitute Adam Johnson had sufficient playing time to strike the post with a well-struck left footed shot, whilst Hart was alert enough to make a double block to deny Maxi Rodriguez in the dyng seconds.

The win is a welcome one to restore City’s charge for the title, whilst Kenny Dalglish will be left to reflect on a missed opportunity.

Man City: Hart, Richards, Kompany, Toure, Clichy, Yaya Toure, Barry, Aguero, Silva, Milner, Dzeko. Subs: Pantilimon, Zabaleta,Lescott, Johnson, Kolarov, Savic, De Jong.

Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Agger, Skrtel, Jose Enrique, Adam, Kuyt, Henderson, Spearing, Downing, Carroll. Subs: Doni, Gerrard, Maxi, Carragher, Shelvey, Kelly, Bellamy