Tevez claims two as City cream Reds

City flexed their enormous financial muscles to delight the man who

made it all possible and deliver their biggest beating of Liverpool

since 1937. Sheikh Mansour could not have picked a better night to

watch the team he has spent £1billion on in a league game for

the first time. With James Milner enjoying an outstanding debut,

City were far too good for a Liverpool side who have a week to get

themselves into some sort of shape given Javier Mascherano’s

absence seems like the next step in a big-money move to Barcelona.

Milner set up Gareth Barry for City’s opener before Tevez claimed

to have got a touch to Micah Richards’ goalbound header just after

half-time. A brilliant double save from Joe Hart snuffed out any

chance of a revival before Tevez sent Pepe Reina the wrong way from

the spot after Martin Skrtel had fouled Adam Johnson. It capped a

performance that proves City have the credentials and the talent to

win the biggest prize they can this season, if manager Roberto

Mancini can keep his vast squad happy. Had he so wished, Manchester

City’s immensely rich owner could have had his pre-match meal at

the new ‘City Square’ on Joe Mercer Way, part of the

£20million stadium revamp that has taken place since he took

control from the discredited former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin

Shinawatra. Rather more costly were the players he has helped

assemble. Nine of them were part of Roberto Mancini’s starting

line-up – Richards and Hart the two exceptions – a sign of the

revolution that has taken place in the past two years.

Long-standing City fans are still pinching themselves at having the

opportunity to watch the likes of Yaya Toure and Tevez. But down

the years, they have taken a huge amount of pride in their academy,

which has produced so many first-team players, Richards among them.

The level City are operating at now means continuing that work is

going to be tough. Instead, pleasure has to be derived in different

ways. So to have the stamp “Made in England” embossed on their

first Premier League goal of the season was an achievement to be

noted. That the goal came about because of a momentary failure from

Steven Gerrard just brought added poignancy. Johnson spotted Milner

advancing just beyond the Liverpool skipper and found him with a

smart pass. Milner delivered the perfect cut-back into an area he

hoped a team-mate had filled. Barry obliged and did the business

from 10 yards with a neat side-footed finish. It was the high point

of a one-sided first-half. Tevez and Johnson both found the

side-netting from an acute angle. Johnson had earlier driven a

fierce shot wide and Milner’s running was intelligent and incisive.

Liverpool could certainly not have complained if they had been

further adrift. Roy Hodgson’s men struggled to retain any source of

possession, which just confirmed the gaping hole Mascherano will

leave should he get his wish to start another phase of his career

away from Anfield. Liverpool appear too deficient in too many areas

for Hodgson to waste much time persuading someone intent on leaving

that his future remains on Merseyside. In a meagre first-half, the

visitors created just a single chance, which the returning Fernando

Torres set up for Gerrard, who wasted it. The only time Liverpool

got any nearer after half-time was in the flurry of activity that

followed Gerrard’s explosive free-kick that thudded against the

post. Hart was beaten on that occasion but not when David Ngog had

a go. England’s new number one palmed that away, straight into

Torres’ path. It seemed a certain goal but Hart stood firm again,

repelling the Spain striker with a magnificent save with his left

hand. That this all came after a second City goal, which Tevez

claimed even though any touch to a Richards header from Milner’s

corner was so faint as to render it impossible to spot. Reina could

not keep it out anyway. Nor did the goalkeeper do any better when

Tevez sent him the wrong way from the spot after Johnson had been

fouled by Skrtel. All summer, the football talk around these two

clubs has centred around breaking into that top four. On this

evidence, only City are capable of that. And, thanks to Sheikh

Mansour’s largesse, they are capable of much more besides too.