Erling Haaland marked his return to action with a customary goal from Kevin de Bruyne’s cross before Fabio Carvalho equalised for the visitors.
There was a crazy start to the second half as Riyad Mahrez curled in a wonderful goal to make it 2-1 before Mohamed Salah pegged City back just a minute later.
However, Nathan Ake was on hand to head in the winner from another world-class De Bruyne cross, with Pep Guardiola‘s side now set to face Southampton in the quarter-finals next month.
While it was a promising return to domestic action for the Citizens, with many looking like they’d never been away, one man who disappointed was Manuel Akanji.
As per Sofascore, the summer signing would earn a shocking 6.0/10 rating for his performance at the Etihad, which was the worst of any player in blue, with City looking far more defensively secure once the Swiss defender was taken off just after the hour mark.
During his time on the pitch, the former Borussia Dortmund man was tormented by Liverpool’s attackers, as he failed to win a single ground or aerial duel, while he also failed to contribute a single tackle, clearance or interception.
Considering he has averaged 1.6 tackles, 0.6 interceptions and one clearance per game in the top flight this season, it was surprising that he didn’t register any of these in what was an end-to-end game at the Etihad.
His passing was also slightly poorer than usual, as he lost possession on five occasions and registered an 89% success rate, compared to the 94% he has averaged in the Premier League so far this campaign.
After an impressive performance earlier in the season, Guardiola dubbed Akanji “absolutely perfect” but if he continues to play as he did against Liverpool on Thursday evening, he will soon slip below City’s other centre-back options in the pecking order at the Etihad, as he nearly cost the Citizens with a woeful display in the Carabao Cup.