Grealish bags first City goal as champs crush Norwich, while Liverpool beat Burnley
LONDON (AFP) – Jack Grealish scored his first goal for Manchester City as the English Premier League champions thrashed Norwich 5-0, while title rivals Liverpool extended their perfect start with a 2-0 victory against Burnley on Saturday (Aug 21).
Grealish marked his home debut following his British record £100 million (S$185.6 million) move from Aston Villa with a close-range effort to double City’s lead in the first half.
Tim Krul’s own goal had given City the lead at the Etihad Stadium.
Aymeric Laporte, Raheem Sterling, and Riyad Mahrez netted in the second half to ensure City bounced back from last weekend’s defeat at Tottenham.
The city had been beaten in both of Grealish’s previous appearances, losing the Community Shield against Leicester and then slumping in their Premier League opener.
But Grealish’s first goal since January helped show Pep Guardiola’s side they can cope without Harry Kane if their prolonged pursuit of the Tottenham striker ends in failure.
With the injured Kevin de Bruyne absent for City, Gabriel Jesus, Bernardo Silva and Laporte all started amid reports they are looking to leave after growing unhappy with their reduced roles last season.
Jesus took the chance to remind Guardiola of his qualities with a virtuoso display.
It was Brazilian forward’s volleyed cross in the seventh minute that brought City’s opener.
Grant Hanley attempted to clear but instead hit Norwich goalkeeper Krul as the ball looped into the net.
Grealish got off the mark in a slightly fortuitous fashion in the 22nd minute.
Jesus’s cross reached Grealish at the far post and bounced in off the England midfielder.
Laporte scored in the 64th minute with a close-range finish after Norwich failed to clear a corner.
Jesus provided his third assist of the afternoon as Sterling tapped in after 71 minutes before Mahrez grabbed City’s fifth with a simple finish in the 84th minute.
In the early game at Anfield, Liverpool earned a second successive wins thanks to goals from Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane, but Red’s boss Jurgen Klopp was angry with Burnley’s aggressive tackling.
Jota scored Liverpool’s first goal in the 3-0 win at Norwich last weekend and Portugal forward gave Klopp’s men the lead again with an 18th-minute header from Kostas Tsimikas’ cross.
Senegal winger Mane opened his account for the season in the 69th minute.
Teenage midfielder Harvey Elliott, making his first Premier League start, picked out Trent Alexander-Arnold, and the defender’s deft pass to Mane was slammed past Nick Pope from 12 yards.
However, Klopp was frustrated that Sean Dyche’s side, renowned for their physical approach, we’re able to get away with some thunderous challenges due to lenient refereeing.
“You saw these challenges of (Ashley) Barnes and (Chris) Wood on Virgil (van Dijk) and Joel (Matip),” Klopp said.
“I am not 100 percent sure if we are going in the right direction with these decisions if we go 10 years back.
“It is too dangerous. It is just hard. The rules are how they are but you cannot defend these situations.”
Rafinha’s rocket rescued Leeds in their 2-2 draw against Everton at Elland Road.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin put Everton ahead in the 30th minute, converting a penalty after Liam Cooper’s challenge on the England striker.
Mateusz Klich hauled Leeds level four minutes before half-time with a composed finish from just inside the area.
Demarai Gray restored Everton’s lead in the 50th minute as the winger drilled home for his first goal since signing from Bayer Leverkusen in the close season.
But Leeds equalized through a blistering strike from Brazilian winger Raphinha in the 72nd minute.
Danny Ings scored a spectacular bicycle kick as Aston Villa beat Newcastle 2-0 to claim their first win of the season.
Former Southampton striker Ings’ moment of magic came in first-half stoppage-time, making it two goals in as many appearances for his new club.
Anwar El Ghazi got Villa’s second from the penalty spot after Jamal Lascelles handled in the 62nd minute.
Patrick Vieira is still waiting for his first win as Crystal Palace manager, after a 0-0 draw against Brentford in the first meeting between the London clubs for 44 years.
Brighton host promoted Watford in Saturday’s late game.