Certainly if teams play against them like Chelsea did here then Liverpool should cease to fret and instead begin to congratulate themselves on a creditable and hard fought second place.
City played like champions here. Energetic, decisive, merciless and, of course, devastatingly attractive to watch. They scored six – four within the first half an hour – and could have had seven or eight. When they play like this, it is hard to think of a side in England or indeed Europe that could live with them.
But what of Chelsea? Just what was this? Was it just a bad day at work or was it a deliberate attempt to rid themselves of the unstinting demands of their coach Maurizio Sarri?
It is hard to really believe it was the latter. Chelsea have an FA Cup tie at home to Manchester United a week on Tuesday and then a League Cup Final against City the following weekend. If they really are to cut their coach off at the knees then surely they would wait until after those two season-defining moments?
So we have to put this down to incompetence then. We have to presume this was one of this disastrously perfect footballing storms when eleven abysmal performances all arrive at once to form one enormous thunderclap of horror.
It has happened to them before, of course. In their last away game at Bournemouth they had succumbed 4-0. So maybe we should not have been surprised at how awful they were. Even so, it was hard to fathom and if Sarri is to survive this debut season at Stamford Bridge then there is going to have to be one hell of an upturn between now and the middle of May.
MATCH FACTS AND STATS
MANCHESTER CITY: Ederson, Walker, Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko, Gundogan, Fernandinho (Silva 75′), De Bruyne (Mahrez 68′), Bernardo Silva, Aguero (Gabriel Jesus 65′), Sterling
Subs not used: Danilo, Sane, Otamendi, Muric
Goals: Sterling 4, 80, Aguero 13, 19, 56 (pen), Gundogan 25
Manager: Pep Guardiola
CHELSEA: Arrizabalaga, Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso (Emerson 73′), Kante, Jorginho, Barkley (Kovacic 52′), Pedro (Loftus-Cheek 65′), Higuain, Hazard
Subs not used: Caballero, Giroud, Willian, Christensen
Booked: Jorginho, Alonso
Manager: Maurizio Sarri
Referee: Mike Dean
Of the five goals scored by City here, four of them were coloured by Chelsea mistakes. They were big ones, too. Eden Hazard started it and then Ross Barkley joined in. In the second half, it was Cesar Azpilicueta’s turn.
All City could do was go back to the well and keep drinking. Sergio Aguero scored a hat-trick – his first an absolute howitzer – and is now City’s all-time leading league goal scorer with 160 goals. He has now scored as many home league goals – six – in the last eight days as Huddersfield Town have all season.
So City are back on top of the Premier League and it is where they deserve to be. Despite the horror that greeted their recent defeat by Newcastle, Pep Guardiola’s team have now won eleven of their last twelve games in all competitions. That is irresistible form.