MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – Manchester City’s relentless march towards reclaiming the Premier League title continued with a 3-0 romp over Tottenham Hotspur after champions Liverpool capitulated at Leicester City to suffer a third consecutive defeat on Saturday.
In-form Ilkay Gundogan scored twice for City who have now won 11 Premier League games in a row.
The German took his tally to 11 league goals this season as he struck twice in the second half after Rodri’s first-half penalty, following a foul on Gundogan by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, had given Pep Guardiola’s side the lead.
Victory put City on 53 points, seven clear of second-placed Leicester, and with a game in hand.
The only slight worry for Guardiola, whose side have won 16 times in a row in all competitions, was that Gundogan was substituted in the 69th because of a tight groin.
Although with striker Sergio Aguero among the City substitutes after an 11-game absence due to COVID-19 it left Guardiola a happy man.
“It was well deserved, they hit the post and that can turn the game but the way we wanted to play was there,” Guardiola, said. “Tottenham have special quality, we have played well against them in the past and lost 2-0.”
That 2-0 defeat at Tottenham in November put Jose Mourinho’s side top of the league but the north London club’s form has disappeared and they were outplayed on Saturday despite Harry Kane hitting the post with a free kick when it was 0-0.
Tottenham are ninth after losing four of their last five league games and Mourinho was left grasping at straws.
“We were punished by what I call the modern penalty,” Mourinho said. “The penalty you cannot deny there was a contact but now in modern football every contact is a penalty.”
Fourth-placed Liverpool’s defeat left them 13 points behind City having played a game more and they are now in danger of dropping out of the top four.
Mohamed Salah gave Liverpool the lead at Leicester in the 68th minute but Juergen Klopp’s side then imploded again, conceding three times in seven minutes, having conceded four times in the second half against City last week.
After VAR had overturned a penalty awarded to Leicester, James Maddison equalised from the subsequent free kick then keeper Alisson, who made two glaring errors in Liverpool’s loss to City last weekend, cost his side again.
The Brazilian raced out of his goal to meet a long ball over the top but collided with debutant Ozan Kabak and Jamie Vardy walked the ball into an open goal.
Harvey Barnes made sure of the win four minutes later as Liverpool lost three league games in a row for the first time since 2014 when Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers was in charge.
“I don’t think we can close that gap this year, to be honest,” Klopp said of the gap to City.
“The situation is not easy, that’s clear, but it’s our situation and how it always is with your own situation, you have to sort it yourself and that’s what we will do.”
Burnley’s 3-0 win at Crystal Palace moved them 11 points above the relegation places.
Johann Berg Gudmundsson put the Clarets in front and Jay Rodriguez headed in his first Premier League goal of the season to double their lead. Matt Lowton added a third after the break.
Aston Villa moved up to eighth place after a 0-0 draw at Brighton and Hove Albion.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis)