Manchester City had to come from behind to beat Everton as the champions kept pace with Premier League leaders Liverpool.
Pep Guardiola’s side are aiming to lift the trophy for the fourth consecutive season and had looked like falling eight points behind the Reds, but recovered with three second-half goals to lift themselves to fourth in the table.
In blustery conditions, Everton weathered an early storm from City as Jordan Pickford made crucial saves to twice thwart Julian Alvarez, as well a keeping out Jack Grealish’s poked effort at full stretch.
The hosts took the lead with their first meaningful attack of the game when Jack Harrison slotted in from close range and he could have had a second against his former club but was denied by Ederson’s stunning save.
But City responded like champions after the break through Phil Foden, who picked the ball up outside the area and smashed in a low finish past the reach of Pickford.
The visitors turned it around on 64 minutes courtesy of Julian Alvarez’s penalty after Amadou Onana handled in the box and Bernardo Silva curled into an open net after Pickford’s miscued clearance to leave Everton hovering just one point above the relegation zone.
Welcome win for City
Last season’s Treble winners City lifted their fifth trophy in a stellar 2023 with victory at the Club World Cup in Saudi Arabia on Friday.
They are looking to become the first side to win the Premier League title for four seasons in a row but the faltering champions have work to do to achieve that unprecedented feat.
City are chasing Liverpool and Arsenal but Guardiola’s team is a winning machine that becomes dangerous the longer the season goes on. They were eight points adrift of top spot on this day last year.
They had to do it the difficult way on Merseyside, being kept at bay by the inspired Pickford, before breaching the England number one’s goal after the interval.
Foden’s finish was magnificent, smacked in at the near post from 20 yards out, while Alvarez’s spot-kick doubled their advantage and Silva’s fine finish punished Pickford’s mistake.
City’s winning margin should have been an even greater one, with Alvarez’s free-kick from range brilliantly tipped over the bar by Pickford and Foden rattling the post in injury time.
After a run of one win in their past six games, this was a welcome victory for the visitors, but concerns remain in defence where they have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last eight league games.
The injuries are stacking up too, with Guardiola saying star duo Erling Haaland and Kevin de Bruyne will be unavailable until sometime in January and John Stones limping off against his old club with a foot issue.
Everton looking over their shoulders again
At half-time, Everton manager Sean Dyche looked like he was on the way to securing his first victory over Guardiola in any competition, but that wretched record continues.
The former Burnley boss’ copybook against the Spaniard now reads: played 18, won zero, drawn one, lost 17.
In those meetings, Dyche’s sides have conceded 52 goals and scored five, including Harrison’s here.
Their best chance to score a second was when Harrison’s curled effort with the outside of his foot was superbly saved by Ederson.
Having initially recovered from their 10-point deduction for for financial rule breaches, Everton have now lost back-to-back games and relegation rivals Luton Town are closing in on the Blues having hit form in recent games to move to within a point in the table.
Everton are now winless in their past 22 meetings against the reigning champions and travel to in-form Wolves on Saturday, who thrashed Brentfordearlier on Wednesday.