Premier League - Pellegrini hails Jovetic while Rodgers has no doubts about 'world class' Balotelli

In-depth: Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini was delighted with Stevan Jovetic's brace, but his Liverpool counterpart has big problems to deal with.

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Premier League - Pellegrini hails Jovetic while Rodgers has no doubts about 'world class' Balotelli
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Manuel Pellegrini and Brendan Rodgers (AFP)

WHAT HAPPENED?

Champions Manchester City made an ominous statement of intent by dismantling Liverpool 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium, with Stevan Jovetic notching two goals before substitute Sergio Aguero added a third.

The result was made even worse for Liverpool as they suffered more injuries, finishing the game with ten men as Glen Johnson limped off after Brendan Rodgers had already used all three substitutes, followed by Alberto Moreno turning his ankle.

[PITCHSIDE EUROPE: BALOTELLI WATCHES HELPLESSLY AS CITY TEACH LIVERPOOL A LESSON]

WHAT PELLEGRINI SAID

"[Jovetic] was working the whole game, without the ball too. He was very unlucky last season but we never had any doubt about this quality. To start the season in this way after an unlucky new season is good but I don't think it is like a new signing.

"We need four strikers. At this moment Stevan is doing very well but you cannot forget Negredo is injured. Edin Dzeko and Jovetic and Aguero are working well. It is important that they continue playing the way they did.

"For me these are games of six points - especially when you play at home. Liverpool are an important team and one that will be fighting for the title. We have had a hard start to the season so it is important for us to win the second game."

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Stevan Jovetic

WHAT RODGERS SAID

"I think that in the market to get someone in at that quality, the [Balotelli] deal for us was very good. He is a world-class talent and it is an area we need to strengthen.

"It is a calculated risk but on where we believe can help him as a player and to mature as a young man. I don't have any concerns, at all to be honest. It's that culture that has allowed me to have confidence that if he comes in it won't be affected.

"He comes in with a reputation but we hope at our club we can curb that behaviour. He knows he is part of a team. There are no egos and 'big time Charlies' in our squad. This is a group that's got to the Champions League because they are a team. I think there's excitement with them (about him) coming in. I'm certainly looking forward to it.

"One thing he doesn't lack is confidence. He has that belief and football arrogance and the best teams have that.

"The [Manchester City] goals we're disappointed with, of course. The first goal we were not alert in the box so that was disappointing. The second goal they have worked quite well but sometimes you have to compliment the quality."

WHAT THE MEDIA SAID

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The Sun 26/08/2014

Daniel Taylor, The Guardian: "Pellegrini’s team have started the season as if they mean business and it must be ominous for their rivals that he admitted afterwards the champions had not fully clicked."

Tony Cascarino, The Times: "Stevan Jovetic’s two goals last night makes it seem that it is the Montenegrin — who struggled with injury for so much of his first season in England — who has the golden touch at the moment, but should his form dip, then there is always Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko, Yaya Toure, David Silva and Samir Nasri to chip in. It is never clear where the goal is coming from, or precisely who will get it, in the best possible way. What is clear — even at this early stage — is that City will average not far off three goals a game over the course of this season."

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Sergio Aguero and Jesus Navas celebrate (Reuters)

Martin Samuel, Daily Mail: "Liverpool are now trying to prove that selling Elvis and buying The Beatles can work, but while the first-half showed signs of a tunefulness emerging, there was little melody beyond half-time. Losing your best players, no matter the fee, is rarely successful – not for Tottenham with Gareth Bale, and maybe not for Liverpool with Luis Suarez, although he would have been banned from this match anyway. Liverpool had good possession but lacked the magic that happened when City got close to goal. Suarez was a magician."

OUR VIEW

What can you say about Manchester City's strike force? Jovetic was excellent against Liverpool, showing pace and instinct to grab his two goals - and then Sergio Aguero casually jogged on and took less than half a minute to score his second Premier League goal of the season (in a collated 13 and a bit minutes on the pitch).

[MATCH REPORT: Jovetic stars as Manchester City dismiss Liverpool]

Pellegrini has every right to be pleased, but Rodgers may have some serious problems. He seems very confident that he'll be able to tame Balotelli, which he may be able to, but that treatment room at Anfield is pretty much packed out. He has five days to get his squad together and regrouped ready to face Tottenham on Sunday.

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