Manchester City vs Liverpool: Win is 'worth six points' says Manuel Pellegrini

Jovetic’s superb two-goal display underlines his potential as a new attacking dimension after an injury-hit season last time out

The Etihad Stadium

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini declared that victory over Liverpool was worth “six points” and laid down a title marker, as the side’s clinical strike force delivered them an emphatic 3-1 win.

Though the triumph came too early in the season to create a serious impression of title prospects, Stevan Jovetic’s superb two-goal display underlined his potential as a new attacking dimension after an injury-hit season last time out. “He was very unlucky last season but we never had any doubt about this quality,” Pellegrini insisted. “To start the season in this way after an unlucky new season is good.”

The symmetry between the 24-year-old Montenegrin’s contribution for City, while Liverpool hope that an altogether more unpredictable 24-year-old – Mario Balotelli – can provide something similar, was unmissable.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insisted that the Liverpool dressing room culture would not allow Balotelli to get away with the kind of behaviour which characterised his time at the Etihad Stadium. “It’s that culture that has allowed me to have confidence that if he comes in it won’t be affected,” he said. “He comes in with a reputation but we hope at our club we can curb that behaviour. He knows he is part of a team. There are no egos and big-time charlies in our squad. This is a group that’s got to the Champions League because they are a team.”

He insisted that the Italian’s arrival would not affect the equilibrium of the dressing room. “I think there’s excitement with them [about him] coming in,” he said. “I‘m certainly looking forward to playing with him. One thing he doesn’t lack is confidence. He has that belief and football arrogance and the best teams have that. Luis was brilliant for me for two years but he has moved on and now we like.”

Rodgers said had not spoken to Jose Mourinho, his own mentor, about the challenges of managing Balotelli, who was under the Portuguese’s wing at Internazionale. “I didn’t actually because if you speak to too many people you get all sorts of stories. I’ve been very [impressed] by the man himself because he is very honest. He knows his flaws and he is looking for someone to help him with it. He has already sampled as we work as a team and a club. Of course it was a risk. We are not going to say it isn’t; he is a big talent.”

The Liverpool manager rued errors by Alberto Moreno, which allowed City their opener, and Dejan Lovren, who was pushed aside by Sergio Aguero for the Premier League champions’ third.

“If you buy players it doesn’t guarantee you anything,” Rodgers said. “You can spend as much money as you want but it doesn’t guarantee you anything. I’m only confident that they are going to get better. The goals were disappointed with, of course. The first goal we were not alert in the box so that was disappointing. The second goal they have worked quite well but sometimes you have to compliment the quality. With the second goal they have worked the ball well. The first and third we can do better with.”

Mario Balotelli was at the Etihad stadium to watch his new employers beat Liverpool Mario Balotelli was at the Etihad stadium to watch his new employers beat Liverpool (Getty)

 Liverpool were impressive in the first half, though faded in the second. “In all fairness, up until we scored we were arguably the better side,” Rodgers insisted. “We looked a threat going forward, defended and we were very good. We switched off before half time, started the second half well and gave away two good goals. The third goal we’ve got to get tighter than that, get up to people and stop people turning. We’ve got to get our fitness but we got to 3-1.” Glen Johnson’s injury which saw his departure when Liverpool had used all their substitutes affected the away side’s momentum. “It’s 11 v 10 in the last ten minutes. We didn’t play so well in the second half but it’s not going to hurt us.”

Pellegrini said the kick that had forced Edin Dzeko to limp out of the game late in the second half was not serious, though would be assessed in the morning.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn