Manchester City beat Liverpool 3-0 to end a two-match winless run in English soccer’s Premier League and establish a three-point lead atop the standings.
Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure and James Milner, with a penalty, scored at the Etihad Stadium last night to maintain 10-man City’s perfect home record in the league this season. City midfielder Gareth Barry was red-carded in the 73rd minute for a second bookable offense.
“This is massive for us,” City defender Vincent Kompany told Sky Sports. “We were incredibly efficient and it’s a great win.”
Third-place Tottenham defeated West Bromwich Albion 1-0, while Sunderland beat Wigan 4-1.
City has 48 points, Manchester United is on 45, while Tottenham moves to 42 points. Chelsea has 37 points, Arsenal 36 with Liverpool remaining on 34. United can move level on points at the top if it beats Newcastle today.
City, which had failed to score in its past two matches, took 10 minutes to get the opening goal yesterday.
David Silva passed to Aguero, who ran forward before striking a shot from 20 yards (18 meters) that slipped under the dive of goalkeeper Pepe Reina.
City keeper Joe Hart had blocked a shot from Liverpool’s Stewart Downing two minutes earlier.
Edin Dzeko came close to his first goal since November when a shot deflected off Liverpool’s Glen Johnson and just past the post with Reina wrong-footed. At the other end, Hart was able to stop a Charlie Adam free kick.
Midfielder Toure, who is set to play for Ivory Coast in the African Nations Cup this month, then headed in from a corner on 33 minutes.
Liverpool played without striker Luis Suarez after the club yesterday opted not to appeal against his eight-match ban for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra during a Premier League match in October. In his absence, lone forward Andy Carroll had few opportunities to score as the Reds failed to extend a run of five games unbeaten.
City scored its third goal after Barry was ejected 17 minutes from the end. Toure broke forward before being brought down by Martin Skrtel and Milner fired the resulting penalty kick into the top corner of the net.
City substitute Adam Johnson hit a post on 80 minutes, while Hart dived to stop a low shot from Liverpool’s Craig Bellamy as the game entered injury time.
The teams will meet again twice this month in the two-leg semifinals of the Carling Cup.
“If you want to be a successful team, and they are, then you’ve got to be clinical,” Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish told Sky Sports. “We’ve got to get that into our make-up.”
At White Hart Lane, Jermain Defoe’s goal after 63 minutes extended Tottenham’s unbeaten league run to five games. West Brom had won its past two away games.
Defoe, starting a league game for the first time in a month, struck a low effort into the net from close range.
Sunderland maintained its upturn in form since the arrival of Martin O’Neill as manager, winning for a fourth time in six matches.
Craig Gardner, James McClean, Stephane Sessegnon and David Vaughan scored for the Black Cats at Wigan, with Hugo Rodallega replying for the home team. Sunderland climbs to 10th, with Wigan remaining 18th in the 20-team league.
In today’s other game, Everton hosts last-place Bolton.
Two days ago, Chelsea beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1, Arsenal lost 2-1 at Fulham, Stoke defeated Blackburn 2-1, Swansea won 2-0 at Aston Villa and Norwich beat Queens Park Rangers 2-1.