Manchester City put the pressure back on Liverpool with 3-1 win away to Crystal Palace

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Manchester City kept the pressure on Liverpool at the top of the table with a 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

The Reds will begin their 16:30 game against Chelsea a point behind Pep Guardiola's side thanks to Raheem Sterling's brace and Gabriel Jesus' late strike. 

The England international went from villain to hero after missing a sitter in the first 10 minutes.

Guardiola had restored Kevin de Bruyne and Leroy Sane to the starting line-up following City's 1-0 midweek defeat to Tottenham in the Champions League.

Fernandinho was absent with a minor knock and is now a doubt for Wednesday's return leg at the Etihad.

Nobody will have forgotten the impact the Brazilian's absence had back in City's worst run of the season in December, but De Bruyne in particular made sure it wasn't felt in south London.

The Belgian trickled his way through Palace's defence time and again and it took the visitors just 15 minutes to get the breakthrough, Sterling finishing from a tight angle.

The champions ought to have put the game beyond doubt on the stroke of half-time.

Ilkay Gundogan floated a superbly-weighted ball into the box that pinged around both Sane and De Bruyne, eventually to be cleared by Martin Kelly.

Instead, they waited until just after the hour mark to produce one of their classic team goals.

Crystal Palace v Manchester City - Premier League

Kyle Walker raced down the right before involving Sergio Aguero, David Silva, and Sane, who sliced the ball into a waiting Sterling, who hit it first time into the bottom corner.

Even then, when it looked over, Palace threatened to make things interesting through Luka Milivojevic's free-kick.

Operating in a more central role, Wilfried Zaha was brought down on the edge of the box and his Serbian team-mate slotted the resulting set-piece through the wall to set up a nervous finish until Jesus' cool injury-time finish. 

Despite that, it was ultimately a fairly routine victory for City and their supporters, many of whom were evidently looking ahead to the later kick-off as songs about Steven Gerrard's infamous slip bellowed from the away end.

The only question mark against Guardiola was his decision to rest some of his key men against Spurs instead of against Palace has left his side with work to do in three days' time, but he could not afford to take any chances in a title race that is going right down to the wire.

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