Video: Liverpool 3 Manchester City 0

Only in his worst nightmares could Roberto Mancini have imagined anything as bad as this. Balancing Manchester City's quest for a Champions League place with the opportunity for FA Cup glory has been an awkward juggling act for the Italian, but he could never have foreseen both ambitions taking such a savage hit on the same night. There is no doubt City can recover from a comprehensive defeat at Anfield to claim a top-four place. Whether they can make up for the loss of Carlos Tevez to beat Manchester United in Saturday's titanic FA Cup semi-final at Wembley is another matter all together.

Andy Carroll scored his first goals for Liverpool since becoming Britain's most expensive player, striking twice in a 3-0 win over Manchester City on Monday that keeps alive his team's hopes of European football next season. The England striker, who joined on a 35 million pound transfer in January, smashed a powerful shot on his favored left foot to make it 1-0 in the 13th minute and hit the third goal with a glancing header in the 35th minute of the Premier League match. Dirk Kuyt found the net in the 34th in a slick and vibrant display from Liverpool that extended its run against Man City at Anfield to nine straight victories

Liverpool stayed sixth in the standings but moved within five points of Tottenham in the sole Europa League qualifying position, albeit having played one more match. Fourth-place City has also played one more game than Tottenham and is only three points above Spurs in the final Champions League berth. Worse still for City, captain Tevez was replaced early in the match with an apparent hamstring injury only five days before the FA Cup semifinal against Manchester United.

As hapless as Mancini's side were in defence, they were equally poor in attack. Indeed, Liverpool may have raised a few eyebrows with their £35million purchase of Carroll in January but, on this evidence, it was a positive bargain compared to the combined £50m City paid out for Edin Dzeko and Tevez's early replacement, Mario Balotelli. Another miserable night for Balotelli was complete seven minutes from time when the substitute himself made way for Nigel de Jong to a chorus of 'What a waste of money' from Liverpool fans.

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