Manchester City leapfrogged Liverpool back to the Premier League summit thanks to three second-half goals against Brighton and Hove Albion.
After struggling to break down Graham Potter’s Brighton men in a frustrating opening period, Kevin de Bruyne was inspiring as Man City restored their one-point advantage.
Second-half goals from Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva put Man City back on top of the Premier League as Brighton and Hove Albion were consigned to a 3-0 defeat.
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Liverpool had moved to the summit with a 4-0 thrashing of Manchester United on Tuesday, but Pep Guardiola’s side responded 24 hours later to keep their fate in their own hands in the title race as the manager secured the 250th win of his City tenure.
Deflected strikes from Mahrez and Foden put the champions in command at the Etihad Stadium and Silva added a third as they moved a point ahead of the Reds with six games to play after losing to Jurgen Klopp’s men in an FA Cup semi-final last Saturday.
Man City had been without a win in three matches, but normal service was resumed in their quest for a Premier League and Champions League double.
Moises Caicedo spared Robert Sanchez’s blushes when he produced a brilliant challenge on Mahrez after the Seagulls goalkeeper gifted the Man City winger a chance to open the scoring early on with a terrible pass.
The hosts were not at their devastating best in the first half, but Brighton had another let-off when they made a mess of trying to play out from the back again and this time Lewis Dunk came to the rescue by blocking Ilkay Gundogan’s strike.
The fit-again Ruben Dias replaced Nathan Ake at the break to make his first appearance since March 1 and the Man City defender was fortunate to get away with a late challenge on Alexis Mac Allister soon after his introduction.
Kevin De Bruyne was the architect for the opening goal eight minutes into the second half, bursting forward from inside his half before picking out Mahrez, who benefited from a couple of fortunate deflections before his finish struck Dunk and beat Sanchez.
Foden doubled Man City’s lead 12 minutes later, this time Enock Mwepu sticking out a leg in an attempt to keep out the midfielder’s drive from outside the box but seeing the ball flash past a helpless Sanchez.
John Stones was withdrawn late on after sustaining an injury, but Silva put the icing on the cake with a clinical left-foot finish in the 82nd minute as Brighton shot themselves in the foot again trying to play out from the back.
Man City will play lowly rated Watford at home on Saturday, while Brighton welcome Southampton on Sunday.