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Jack Grealish and Guardiola react after Man City trash Liverpool at the Etihad.

Pep Guardiola's reigning champions revealed their full force by coming from a goal down to beat Liverpool, despite the absence of Erling Haaland.

Manchester City thrashed Liverpool 4-1 at the Etihad to keep up the pressure on Premier League table toppers Arsenal, and a delighted Jack Grealish labelled the vital victory as brilliant.

The Cityzens came from behind to run riot over Jurgen Klopp’s Reds at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday despite the absence of the injured Erling Haaland, who has found the net 42 times this season.

Liverpool drew the first blood following a counter-attack in the 17th minute as Mohamed Salah hit the target with a thumping left-foot finish.

But the reigning champions responded in style when Jack Grealish made a crucial interception on Salah, who was close to doubling Liverpool’s lead, before crossing the ball for City forward Julian Alvarez to make it 1-1 in the 27th minute.

In the second half, Guardiola’s boys stepped up a notch and took the lead just after 53 seconds as Alvarez provided a superb pass that found Riyad Mahrez, who crossed the ball for Kevin de Bruyne to fire home from close range.

City took total control of the game and midfield ace Ilkay Gundogan added the third before Jack Grealish wrapped up the win in the 74th minute when he turned in De Bruyne's cross to put the tie to bed.

The result leaves City just five points behind league leaders Arsenal, who play Leeds this afternoon at the Emirates Stadium.

Man City were excellent

Following the victory, City's Jack Grealish told BT Sport: "Brilliant, we knew it would be a tough game playing Liverpool and the first after the international break is always difficult. We wanted to start this last period right, Liverpool are so dangerous with the players they have up front and then you, not fear the worst, but think it's going to be a tough game to get back into it. We were excellent, especially in the second half."

When asked what changed about their approach in the second half, the Englishman replied: "I don't know - we had a chat between ourselves and with the manager and he said we have to stay in the game. I thought we were good first half apart from the goal. I was in the toilet at half-time, I felt sick all morning but am fine now, I feel buzzing.

"I love it - I love playing, training. When it's going well there's nothing better, I feel back to my normal self, feel fit, and back to confidence. Scoring and getting the assist, I'm buzzing.

"Arsenal are a great team, it's in their hands so we've just got to keep doing what we can to chase them down. I'm going to love you and leave you now I need to see how many days off I've got!"

Guardiola - 'One of the best performances in my seven years'

City boss Guardiola added: "Minute one to minute 93 was a perfect performance - even though we concede a goal we played really well. They [Liverpool] always have a threat on transition but we played really well. One of the best performances in my seven years.

"The players knew we weren't playing badly. One goal down and we continued to do it and had just a bit of chat at halftime and were lucky to score the second goal. But then at 2-1, the game was stable."

When quizzed about Grealish's fine display against the Merseyside club, the ex-Barca, and Bayern boss replied: "I think this season is the Jack we thought could help us. He saved us from conceding a second goal, and the chance for Mo Salah and Jack helped us. Riyad [Mahrez] was exceptional too, I cannot name one player better than another they were all exceptional."

And finally, on Julian Alvarez, the Spaniard said: "Not just the goal, the assist in the second and third. He was so clever with the ball, he's an exceptional player. The club made an exceptional signing with him - he's a world champion alongside Lionel Messi because he has something."

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