A Stevan Jovetic double and a third to Sergio Aguero helped Manchester City send out an ominous warning to those with designs on their Premier League crown, routing Liverpool 3-1 in the first heavyweight clash of the new season on Monday.
With new signing Mario Balotelli watching from the stands, last season's runners-up Liverpool looked lively in miserable conditions at Etihad Stadium, but an error from debutant Alberto Moreno allowed the Montenegro international to smash the ball home on 41 minutes.
He grabbed his second 10 minutes after the restart, putting away Samir Nasri's low cross, while Aguero scored 23 seconds after coming on as a substitute as Manuel Pellegrini's side put down an early-season statement of intent.
After going agonisingly close to winning their first league title in 24 years last season, Liverpool are desperate to mount another creditable challenge, but despite nine new arrivals they are still looking to adjust to life without Luis Suarez.
The Merseysiders failing to seriously trouble Joe Hart despite having plenty of ball, earning a consolation through a Pablo Zabaleta own goal when they result was already sealed.