LIVERPOOL, England – Manchester City climbed back into the Premier League’s top four as second-half goals by Phil Foden, Julian Alvarez and Bernardo Silva sealed a comeback 3-1 victory at Everton on Wednesday.
Pep Guardiola’s newly-crowned FIFA World Club champions had lost ground in the title race after a run of one win in six league games, but they returned to domestic action to send out a warning to their rivals.
Everton took the lead against the run of play through Jack Harrison’s close-range finish in the 29th minute.
But Foden drilled in a superb low shot after 53 minutes and Alvarez converted a penalty after a handball awarded against Everton’s Amadou Onana.
Silva wrapped up the points four minutes from time with a sublime finish after a mistake by Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford although the win came at a cost with defender John Stones forced off due to a leg injury.
Champions City moved above Tottenham Hotspur into fourth place with 37 points from 18 games, five behind leaders Liverpool having played a game less.
Everton’s second successive defeat after four straight wins left them one place and one point above the relegation zone, a position skewed by their 10-point deduction.
City’s quest for an unprecedented fourth successive Premier League title hit turbulence before Christmas with defeat by Aston Villa, draws against Tottenham Hotspur and Crystal Palace and an injury to Norwegian goal machine Erling Haaland.
They were not in Premier League action last weekend as they headed back from Saudi Arabia having become world champions so victory was essential to close the gap on Liverpool.
When Harrison stunned them by turning in Dwight McNeil’s low ball across the area in a rare Everton attack it seemed more trouble was in store. Harrison was denied a second as City’s keeper Ederson made a superb one-handed save but City recovered their poise thereafter to take control.
“I thought we played really well in the first half and it seems to have been the same story as previous games,” Foden told Amazon Prime. “The manager just said to believe in ourselves at half-time because we’re a top team.
“In the second half, wow. I think we blew them away with the way they played.”
Foden produced a dazzling display and equalised with a sweetly-struck left-foot shot that flew low past the dive of Pickford.
City went ahead when Onana attempted to block a shot by Nathan Ake and the ball struck his arm from point-blank range — the penalty being awarded by referee John Brooks after frenzied appeals by City’s players and then confirmed by VAR.
“It’s a farce where the laws are at the moment, it’s bizarre decision in my world, but maybe I’m from a different planet,” Everton manager Sean Dyche said.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin spurned a great chance to equalise when he stabbed a shot wide from close range.
City made sure of the win as Pickford took too long to make a clearance and his kick was deflected to Silva who curled the ball into the top corner of the empty goal.
“We know after six games with just one win, the people were asking, which is normal because it is all about results but we are close to Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool and Aston Villa. We want to be there,” Guardiola said.