There was something in the air at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday that felt very 2018/19 indeed.

The 2-2 draw at Anfield before the international break had also left a similar scent in Manchester City’s nostrils.

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are back at the top of their game and another Mohamed Salah special was the standout moment as they dismantled Watford 5-0 in this weekend’s early kick-off.

It was over to Pep Guardiola’s side, as it was throughout that memorable battle when City eventually won out by 98 points to 97. European champions Chelsea could yet prove to be an added complication, but Liverpool and City once again feel like they’re a cut above.

Klopp’s irritable Friday press conference was another small indication that we might be heading back to that place of peak footballing combat, while Bernardo Silva’s insatiable form in Guardiola’s midfield really rams home the point.

City began their 2-0 win over Burnley with a verve they were unable to maintain over the course of the contest. The outcome remained in the balance until Kevin De Bruyne produced a trademark “Angry Kevin” finish 20 minutes from time.

In the early stages, Bernardo was at the heart of everything and another 5-0 hiding for the Clarets seemed eminently possible. The Portugal star linked well with his countryman Joao Cancelo to craft a 12th-minute opening for Phil Foden.

Nick Pope got down superbly to keep out his fellow England international’s shot but there was Bernardo, scampering in to snaffle the rebound. He wheeled away towards the South Stand - a picture of delight as he was after scoring the winner at Leicester last month.

The 27-year-old was named by Guardiola as one of the first-team players who wished to leave City during the summer. It seems like a trick of the mind that it almost came to that, given Bernardo is now the heartbeat of the Premier League champions’ midfield.

Manchester City's Bernardo Silva celebrates scoring the opening goal vs Burnley

He created three chances - more than any other City player - against Burnley and completed 60 of 67 passes overall. However, this selflessness did lead to him passing up an opportunity to make it 3-0 during the closing stages, an incident that still appeared to have Bernardo riled when he made way for Cole Palmer and received a standing ovation in stoppage time.

“Bernardo is an incredible person and he thought, ‘I scored a goal and I am going to give another one for my mate’,” Guardiola told his post-match news conference.

“He is so generous in his effort and the way he played. He has to shoot, he knows it, but it shows how he is as a person that he wanted another one to score.

“We are incredibly lucky to have him, he was an incredible signing for us. All I want is his happiness. This type of person deserves the best. He is a joy to have with us.

“He is in his top level right now. He is playing at an incredibly top level.”

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That top level is back to the 2018/19 form that saw him named City’s player of the season. Like all elite sportspeople, there will be numerous factors behind his resurgence.

But an on-form Liverpool, for whatever reason, seem to be the Batsignal for City’s midfield superhero.

Look at the logic-defying, lung-bursting shift he put in during the pivotal January 2019 win over the Reds, or the slaloming brilliance that turned Anfield into his own personal playground a couple of weeks ago. Or even the dishevelled, truculent, coffee-sipping guard of honour participation he produced in 2020.

Liverpool being on top of their game should excite fans hoping for a gripping title race, not least because it seems to get Bernardo Silva going like nothing else.