In a match of movement and style, the ceaseless to and fro of passages of play was at times mesmerising. Although the red card delivered to Sadio Mane at the end of the first half had an obvious bearing on what happened thereafter, nobody can deny this was City at their clinical best. To put five goals past Liverpool is not to be sniffed at under any circumstances. For City, it has not happened since 1925.
City recovered from a strong Liverpool start to take command of the game. Liverpool’s oft-praised high press was worked excellently against them, with Kevin De Bruyne, Gabriel Jesus and David Silva constantly picking the pockets of the Liverpool backline to set up a frequent flow of chances. To beat Liverpool so majestically with so-called bête noires Eliaquim Mangala and Claudio Bravo in the side made it even better.
The damage done to Ederson by Mane’s high foot brought to an end the best 45 minutes of goalkeeping by a City player for over a year. It remains to be seen how long the Brazilian will be sidelined, but his appearance at the end suggests not too long. His confident presence will make a significant difference this term.
Manager rating out of 10
7 — Chose to field a back three with the flying Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy pushed up on the flanks, which worked an absolute treat. Unleashed Leroy Sane at just the right moment to inflict the final damage on a by then ragged Liverpool side.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating.)
GK Ederson, 8 — Was playing brilliantly when taken out by Mane´s flying boot. Had safely gathered several low shots, a swirling corner and was out quickly to smother Mohamed Salah’s shot when the Egyptian seemed set to equalise.
DF John Stones, 7 — Slow start inviting forwards onto him and getting caught in possession, but his passing was sharp and he managed to dispossess oncoming forwards on several occasions. Assured and accurate in the second half.
DF Nicolas Otamendi, 6 — Hectic lunchtime trying and failing to keep up with Salah down the left. Looked like a race between a chest of drawers and a whippet for most of the time. Yellow carded for a typically late tackle on the same player after he had been nutmegged.
DF Danilo, 7 — Calm and assured, he was seldom asked to do more than play safe square passes and feed the wide midfielders.
MF Fernandinho, 8 — Had an early, low shot touched round the post by Simon Mignolet. Quietly effective in front of the back three. Absolutely bossed midfield with clever positioning and short passing.
MF Kyle Walker, 7 — First cross in by Liverpool left him isolated with two attackers, but his main job was to stretch them down the flank, which he did to good effect, especially in a second half with more space to advance.
MF Benjamin Mendy, 9 — Fascinating link-up with De Bruyne down the left for City. One peach of a ball curved low to the back post for Walker to run onto was the prelude to a succession of lethal crosses in the second half. Extremely nimble for such a muscular figure.
MF David Silva, 8 — Always ready and available to play the crucial pass through the middle or slide rule to the advanced wing-backs out wide. Calm and collected throughout, although slightly outshone by De Bruyne on this occasion.
MF Kevin De Bruyne, 9 — Bossed a hectic midfield with sharp passing and good feet. Pass of the season so far to put Sergio Aguero in for the first goal. Every touch inch perfect until he skied Sane’s ball in from the left. Little quieter after switching to right wing.
FW Sergio Aguero, 8 — Excellent, selfless game, spent closing down Liverpool’s defenders and playing in his colleagues. Never better illustrated than when he unselfishly squared to Jesus for the Brazilian to score the third goal.
FW, Gabriel Jesus, 8 — A real confidence booster, if it was needed. Two well-taken goals and a host of other chances. Good link-up with Aguero and one unbelievable run after he had dispossessed Ragnar Kavan on the touchline and worked his way in to get a shot on goal with three men in his wake.
GK, Claudio Bravo 7 — Arrived as a 40th minute replacement for the damaged Ederson and had little more to do than shepherd the ball across from one defender to the other.
DF, Eliaquim Mangala 7 — Little of note to do after replacing the yellow-carded Otamendi. Nice to see him back in the mix after so long on the sidelines.
MF Leroy Sane, 8 — Replaced Gabriel Jesus on 57 minutes and immediately played De Bruyne in for what should have been the fourth. Beautiful link with Mendy for the 4-0 goal and an absolute peach of a left-footer for the fifth.
Simon is one of ESPN FC’s Manchester City bloggers. Follow him on Twitter @bifana_bifana.