A 4-0 defeat at Everton a year ago, shortly after losing 1-0 at Anfield, ended City’s title hopes. As they visit Liverpool, the transformation has been remarkable
Almost exactly a year ago, Pep Guardiola was on Merseyside conceding defeat in the title race, a comprehensive 4-0 mauling at Everton having confirmed the widespread suspicion that Manchester City were not in any shape to catch Chelsea at the top of the table. A great deal can change in 12 months though. Just ask Everton, whose day could scarcely have gone any better, with Tom Davies grabbing his first goal for the club and Ademola Lookman completing the rout by scoring on his debut.
Yet even that version of Everton, confident and compact, willing to soak up pressure before striking quickly on the break, would have struggled to prevail against the present incarnation of Manchester City. The draw at the Etihad in August turned out to be another false dawn. While Ronald Koeman’s plans were disintegrating through autumn, Guardiola’s players began stringing together a record-breaking sequence of 18 consecutive wins, putting themselves in an even stronger position than Chelsea had occupied at the turn of the year.