LONDON — Manchester City stormed to the top of the Premier League as Sergio Aguero’s hat-trick inspired a 6-0 demolition of Watford, while Philippe Coutinho’s return couldn’t lift Liverpool in a 1-1 draw against Burnley on Saturday.
With previous leaders Manchester United not in action until Sunday’s clash with Everton, City had a chance to move three points clear of their title rivals.
Aguero ensured they did just that as the Argentine forward maintained his mastery of Watford at Vicarage Road.
Pep Guardiola’s side took the lead in the 27th minute when Aguero headed in from Kevin de Bruyne’s free-kick for his seventh goal in five games against the Hornets.
Aguero wasn’t finished inflicting pain on Marco Silva’s men and he struck again four minutes later, tapping in after Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes couldn’t hold David Silva’s cross-shot.
Having notched his fifth goal of the season, Aguero turned provider in the 38th minute, slipping in Gabriel Jesus for a nonchalant finish.
It was City’s 12th goal of a memorable week that also included a 5-0 thrashing of Liverpool and a 4-0 win at Feyenoord.
Nicolas Otamendi added to that tally when he headed in the fourth from Silva’s cross in the 63rd minute before Aguero completed his 10th City treble with nine minutes left.
There was still time for Raheem Sterling to win and convert an 89th-minute penalty to cap City’s swaggering display.
“It was so good. Especially after an away game in the Champions League. The way we played as a team, we are so happy,” Guardiola said.
“I was lucky to manage Barcelona with many outstanding performances but this week has been a lot of goals. We have found our game.”
At Anfield, with Sadio Mane suspended, Coutinho made his first Liverpool start since his failed attempt to force a move to Barcelona.
Brazil forward Coutinho missed the first five games of the season with a back injury before coming on in Wednesday’s 2-2 Champions League draw against Sevilla.
But despite his return, Jurgen Klopp’s team were rocked when Scott Arfield put Burnley in front in the 27th minute.
Liverpool drew level three minutes later through Mohamed Salah’s cool finish from Emre Can’s pass, but the Reds couldn’t find a winner with Coutinho substituted in the closing stages.
“I’m not happy, I’m angry with the result but pleased with the performance,” Klopp said.
“It’s our fault. We were dominant but only scored one goal.”
Tottenham Hotspur failed to win for a third successive league match at Wembley as Swansea City held on for a 0-0 draw.
After a midweek Champions League victory over Borussia Dortmund at Wembley, which serves as Tottenham’s home while White Hart Lane is rebuilt, Mauricio Pochettino’s team were frustrated as Harry Kane hit the woodwork, while the hosts also had three penalty appeals turned down.
– Historic low –
Roy Hodgson was unable to stop Crystal Palace hitting a historic low as Steven Davis sealed Southampton’s 1-0 win at Selhurst Park.
Former England boss Hodgson was taking charge of Palace for the first time following his appointment on Tuesday as successor to the sacked Frank de Boer.
But Hodgson couldn’t inspire an immediate upturn in Palace’s fortunes, with Davis’s goal condemning the Eagles to a piece of unwanted history.
Palace sit bottom of the table after becoming the first English top-tier team to lose their opening five fixtures without scoring a single goal.
Jamie Vardy rescued Leicester City as his second half penalty secured a 1-1 draw at Huddersfield Town, who took the lead through Laurent Depoitre in the 47th minute.
Jamaal Lascelles was Newcastle United’s hero again as he clinched a 2-1 win over Stoke City at St James’ Park.
Rafael Benitez’s side took the lead through Christian Atsu and Xherdan Shaqiri equalised for Stoke.
Newcastle captain Lascelles, who also bagged the winner at Swansea City last weekend, earned the hosts’ third successive victory with a 68th minute header.
West Bromwich Albion midfielder Gareth Barry equalled the Premier League appearance record in a 0-0 draw against West Ham at the Hawthorns.
Barry, 36, is now level with Ryan Giggs’ mark of 632 games, having made his top-flight debut in 1998.
© Agence France-Presse
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