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Manchester City eases past Liverpool in Premier League

updated 5:35 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Stevan Jovetic scored twice for Manchester City in its 3-1 win over Liverpool.
Stevan Jovetic scored twice for Manchester City in its 3-1 win over Liverpool.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Manchester City beats Liverpool 3-1 in the Premier League on Monday
  • Forgotten man Stevan Jovetic scores twice for the defending champions
  • Rickie Lambert gets Liverpool's consolation in the dying minutes in Manchester
  • City, Chelsea, Tottenham and Swansea lead the standings with maximum points

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(CNN) -- Mario Balotelli made most of the headlines prior to Liverpool's game against Manchester City in the Premier League, but it was another striker -- a forgotten one -- who ended up as the star attraction hours later.

That was Stevan Jovetic.

Jovetic was signed with much fanfare from Fiorentina a year ago for about $36 million, but injuries and the form of other strikers at City meant he only made two league starts in 2013/2014.

Inserted into the starting lineup by manager Manuel Pellegrini, Jovetic netted twice in City's 3-1 win in the showdown between teams that finished 1-2 last season.

"It wasn't so many beautiful moments until now because I had so many problems last year," Jovetic told Sky. "But I don't want to think about that. That's past.

"Now I just want to enjoy with this team, these players to win more titles."

Substitute Sergio Aguero got City's third, with Liverpool replying through Pablo Zabaleta's own goal with less than 10 minutes remaining.

Indeed, only when falling behind by three goals did Liverpool -- which capitulated to give City the title in May -- come to life.

It was a far cry from the corresponding fixture last term, when Liverpool largely ran the show in an entertaining contest -- a 2-1 City win -- on Boxing Day.

Liverpool opted for a more defensive approach Monday and couldn't call on the flair of Balotelli, the flamboyant, controversial -- though not as controversial as the man he is replacing, Luis Suarez -- Italian international. He signed from Milan earlier Monday.

The result left City with two wins from two games, identical to the side expected to challenge Pellegrini's men for the title, Chelsea. Tottenham and Swansea are the only two other teams with perfect records.

Jovetic pounced from close range after Dejan Lovren's poor clearance to give City a 1-0 lead at the break.

And shortly after the break, in the 55th minute, Jovetic converted Samir Nasri's pass.

"Last year unfortunately (Jovetic) was injured a couple of times," Nasri told Sky. "We saw that in pre-season he was on fire. I think it's just the start of a big season for him."

Aguero, on the pitch for a shade under 30 seconds, increased the lead after a perfectly weighted ball from Jesus Navas in the 69th before Liverpool's consolation effort in the 83rd.

Simeone banned

In Spain, Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone received an eight-match ban for his conduct in the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup against Real Madrid on Saturday.

Mourinho on the enigma of Balotelli
Balotelli: I'm glad I left England

Among his infractions was protesting with the fourth official and patting him on the head.

He has since apologized for his actions, but it wasn't enough to prevent the lengthy suspension. Simeone, whose side won the trophy, will now miss, among other matches, Atletico's derby against Real on Sept. 13.

Getting into trouble with the authorities is nothing new for Simeone, who guided Atletico to the league title last spring. He also missed Atletico's La Liga opener on Monday due to a ban stemming from last season.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a long-range effort for Real Madrid in its 2-0 win over newly promoted Cordoba in Real's first game in the league.

Barcelona began its season with a 3-0 win over Elche on the weekend.

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