LONDON: Stevan Jovetic struck twice as champions Manchester City beat last season’s Premier League runners-up Liverpool 3-1 in a match Manuel Pellegrini had defined as a six-pointer.
City thus moved up to third in the fledgling league table with maximum points from their opening two matches.
Jovetic gave City the lead five minutes before half-time when he pounced on hesitation by Liverpool debutant Alberto Moreno in the penalty box. The Montenegro forward scored his and City’s second 10 minutes into the second half to convert a Samir Nasri assist.
Martin Skrtel collided with Edin Dzeko with just over 20 minutes left which saw the Bosnia international replaced by Sergio Aguero, who made it three after just 23 seconds on the pitch.
Liverpool pulled one back in the final 10 minutes as Pablo Zabaleta got the last touch on the ball following a Rickie Lambert header, denying the former Southampton striker his first goal for last season’s runners-up.
City manager Pellegrini said: “He (Jovetic) was very unlucky last year as he had so many injuries, it was difficult to place three games in a row, but he was patient and worked a lot to come back and I’m very happy for him – he deserves it.
“I told Sergio before the game that he wasn’t playing from the beginning, but every time he come on he makes a difference and in the last game against Newcastle also.”
Jovetic said: “Liverpool are one of the teams (aiming to) win the Premier League and we knew that and I think today we played very well and at the end we won and it was an important victory for us.
“There are so many beautiful moments now – after so many problems last year – but I don’t want to think about that as it’s the past but I just want to enjoy with this team with these players and to win as many titles as we can.”
Disappointed Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said: “Until 40 minutes we were the best team and we just switched off in that final period of the half and didn’t defend well enough and all over a sudden we’re 1-0 down.
“The message at half-time was we were playing well and we looked the most threatening team and some of our work was very good, but the second goal goes in and it killed us a bit.
“Credit to the players, they kept going. We’re disappointed with the third one, we need to get tight – the winger can’t get turned and slide the ball in and it was too easy. But we had a good reaction, Daniel Sturridge has a goal that’s just marginally offside but we were still creating the chances.
“We look at two games we’ve had to start the season against Southampton (Liverpool won 2-1) and Manchester City and we’re the same place we were last season with the corresponding fixtures – and of course this is a difficult place to come, and they won the game – but there’s no psychological blow.”