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Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2010

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Comprehensive victory: Manchester City's James Milner (left) vies for the ball with Liverpool's Lucas during Premier League action on Monday night. Man City won 3-0. AP PHOTO

Man City routs Liverpool in front of wealthy owner

MANCHESTER, England (AP) Manchester City recorded its biggest victory over Liverpool in 73 years on Monday, winning 3-0 in the Premier League as the owner who funded the team's massive spending spree watched his investment live for the first time.

Gareth Barry put Man City ahead in the 13th minute at Eastlands after being set up by fellow England midfielder James Milner, whose arrival last week took the team's spending to about $180 million since it finished fifth last season.

City led 2-0 when Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina failed to stop Micah Richards' header from a corner in the 52nd that Carlos Tevez tried to divert in.

Tevez converted a penalty in the 68th after Martin Skrtel had fouled Adam Johnson.

Roberto Mancini's side now has four points from two matches and the win came at a good time, with Abu Dhabi owner Sheikh Mansour attending his first match since buying the club in September 2008 and subsequently spending huge sums on players.

"It's the first time the Sheikh has been here and he witnessed a fantastic night," Mancini said. "I was pleased to show him a good game, that was important. The mentality was the most important thing for us, not the formation or anything else, the mentality can win us games.

"We need time to jell and improve because we were missing four or five important players. But the team played with a good mentality. If they play with a good mentality, I think we can beat every team."

In stark contrast, Liverpool is searching for new owners to clear its debts and strengthen the squad.

Liverpool, which last won the title in 1990, appears no closer to winning championship No. 19.

The visitors created one first-half chance but Steven Gerrard fired wide after being set up by Fernando Torres. City goalkeeper Joe Hart thwarted Torres in the second half with a superb left-handed save.

"I didn't think we were under the cosh to the extent 3-0 might suggest," Hodgson said. "But we defended poorly for the goals and they took their chances well, and I thought they played solidly and strongly throughout.

"They took charge of the game and we were always fighting to get back into it. You just have to accept on a night like tonight that we were unable to produce the level of performance necessary to get a good result."

Liverpool has one point after drawing with Arsenal last week. Liverpool is targeting a return to the four Champions League places after last year's seventh-place finish.

Barca's offer too low

MANCHESTER , England (AP) Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson says the difference between Barcelona's offer for Javier Mascherano and the Premier League club's valuation of the Argentina captain is significant, and indicated a transfer may not occur.

Mascherano wants to leave Liverpool and wasn't on the team that lost 3-0 at Manchester City in the Premier League on Monday.

"Javier isn't in the right frame of mind at the moment to play — his head has obviously been turned by the offer from Barcelona," Hodgson said. "But unfortunately, at the moment, the fee that the club thinks is the correct fee and the fee that is being offered is very far apart. Unless that can be resolved he might be unhappy for a long time to come . . .

"We have quite a lot of clubs at the moment suffering from players being courted by other clubs and players therefore being unhappy at being required to fulfill their contracts. It has happened to us now. This matter has developed over the last three days."

Hodgson said he doesn't want Mascherano to be sold.

Liverpool is searching for a new owner to clear its debts, but says it doesn't need to sell its star players to raise funds.

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