Raheem Sterling sends Manchester City top and turns heat up on Liverpool

It's a massive European night for Porto Liverpool Tottenham and Manchester City.                     Image PA

It's a massive European night for Porto Liverpool Tottenham and Manchester City. Image PA

Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City will have to win their remaining five Premier League games if they are to retain the title next month after watching his team maintain the pressure on Liverpool with a ninth successive victory.

Against Spurs in midweek they compromised some of their principles, aiming for a tight game that was as much about restricting Mauricio Pochettino's men as getting the best out of Pep Guardiola's.

"We have to focus on Wednesday, because it's coming quickly again, and try to play a good game", said De Bruyne. Those two old foes should make far tougher demands of City; Guardiola believes they can not afford to drop another point, and City may be thankful they have been able to keep so much in reserve, so often.

Raheem Sterling's two goals, both excellently taken, bear rewatching, and Kevin De Bruyne is showing signs of returning to his exhilarating best. They have scored a lot of late goals recently.

Palace introduced Max Meyer for Andros Townsend - and they found a route back into the game when James McArthur was fouled and Milivojevic thumped the free kick home.

Cue a nervous finale. That is some boost at this stage of the campaign, and Guardiola was effusive in his praise of a player who, even in such a richly talented squad, noticeably raises City's level when on song.

Sterling showed the other side of his game, tracking back to help Walker deal with Wilfried Zaha, and Aguero fired over as City maintained their control. We've played with incredible personality in all the games, including the Champions League games.

They put in the right performance, and got the right result, exactly when they needed it. They showed no intention of taking any initiative, and City exerted a level of domination that suffocated the game as a spectacle. If they keep on winning, it does not matter what happens elsewhere and right now City are finding it hard not to keep on winning.

Over to Liverpool. Again.

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