Manchester: Manchester City generously applauded new champion Liverpool onto the field before its Premier League match on Thursday, and promptly showed no mercy by thrashing it 4-0 at the Etihad Stadium.
With the title secured a week back, there was little at stake for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, which showed far from its usual levels of intensity. But the loss, just its second of the league campaign, was an emphatic reminder that Pep Guardiola-managed City will be desperate to regain its crown next season.
After the guard of honour, the visitor started brightly and Ederson had to be alert to keep out a fourth-minute effort from Mohamed Salah. The Egyptian also struck the post after a clever pass from striker Roberto Firmino.
Then, Joe Gomez could not cope with Raheem Sterling’s twisting and turning in the box, pulling him to the ground before Kevin De Bruyne converted the penalty in the 25th minute.
Sterling doubled the lead 10 minutes later after a quick break. Phil Foden found him inside the box and the ex-Liverpool forward cut inside Gomez and slid the ball home.
The 20-year-old Foden made it 3-0, firing past Alisson after a swift exchange with De Bruyne. City showed an unusual willingness to play long balls and after Rodri launched a pass deep to De Bruyne, the Belgian found Sterling inside the box.
The England international slipped the ball goalwards, with Liverpool substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s outstretched touch only turning it into his own net.
It could have been even worse for Liverpool with Riyad Mahrez’s fine solo effort in the final moments, but VAR spotted a handball by Foden in the buildup. The loss was the joint-heaviest defeat by a side already crowned PL champion.
Arsenal was beaten 0-4 at Liverpool in 1997-98 in the game after it clinched the title.
VAR once again took centre stage as Tottenham Hotspur suffered a 1-3 defeat at Sheffield United and remained nine points adrift of a place in the top four.
The host took the lead in the 31st minute as Sander Berge finished off a fine flowing move, slotting the ball into the bottom corner for his first goal in English football.
Less than two minutes later, Kane fired past goalkeeper Dean Henderson, but his equaliser was ruled out by VAR. Lucas Moura was adjudged to have used his arm to inadvertently nudge the ball in Kane’s direction after being pushed to the ground.
Spurs boss Jose Mourinho was furious with the decision and his mood worsened in the 69th minute when Sheffield carved his team open again to set up substitute Lys Mousset.
Oli McBurnie rubbed salt in the wounds with a third goal six minutes from time, before Kane scored a 90th-minute consolation.