Manchester City delivered a reminder of their devastating quality with a ruthless evisceration of newly-crowned champions, Liverpool, at an empty Etihad Stadium on Thursday.
Pep Guardiola’s side might have given their title up without much of a fight this season, but they delivered a statement and provided an intriguing glimpse of what awaits Liverpool next season with a 4-0 victory.
City close the gap to the champions to 20 points and more importantly strengthen their hold on second place.
Kevin de Bruyne opened the scoring from the spot after Joe Gomez wrestled Raheem Sterling to the ground in the box. Sterling added another ten minutes later and youngster Phil Foden scored on the stroke of halftime to put City 3-0 up at the interval.
An own goal from second-half substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain summed up Liverpool’s day as City ran out 4-0 winners.
Perhaps peeved by having to give the Reds a guard of honour, City showed more intent and were clearly the hungrier side as Liverpool solely lacking their usual intensity and sharpness looked to be suffering from the after-effects of their title celebrations.
Liverpool were actually on top in the opening moments but the tide turned immediately the home side took the lead.
While Jurgen Klopp can write off the loss to their exertions, the fact that Liverpool have now failed to score in five consecutive away games in all competitions will surely be a point of concern.
The Reds have lost two of their last three away from home in the league, conceding seven goals in those losses without scoring.
Having wrapped up the title with a record seven games left, Liverpool can also set the record for the most points in a season (100) most wins in a season (the record is 32), most home wins (18) and biggest winning margin (19 points) but will have to perform much better than this to have any chance of rewriting the history books.