Guardiola sticks to his word

Pep Guardiola was clear in his pre-match press conference that a good performance in defence will see someone retain their place in his Manchester City side.

That's arguably a change in approach from previous seasons, where he's rotated his centre-backs to try and find the best combination. Now, with everyone fit, it was interesting to see John Stones retained in the side alongside Ruben Dias, with Aymeric Laporte rested competely.

It was a show of faith in Stones, who appears to be climbing back up the hierarchy in defence to be third choice behind Dias and Laporte. It's something of a redemption for the England defender, whose City career was at a turning point when Dias and Nathan Ake arrived in the summer. He's given Guardiola the perfect response, and the boss has rewarded him in return.

A favour from Liverpool

Liverpool's draw in the early kick-off gave City the chance to claw two points back on the champions. With Tottenham, who are second, playing third-placed Chelsea on Sunday, City were given a welcome opportunity to gain ground back on two of the top three. If City win their game in hand, they'd move three points behind Liverpool.

And Liverpool's makeshift side suffered another setback with James Milner limping off, serving as a timely reminder that all sides are capable of dropping points this season. Jurgen Klopp's viral interview with BT's Des Kelly was also a reminder that every side is wrestling with the same fixture pressures. This season looks more and more like being decided on who can cope better with the schedule, and not necessarily who is the best team. With City's injury issues clearing up, they can't pass up the chance to get a run together and get back towards the top four.

The wait goes on

Nathan Ake's return this week gave City a fully-fit squad for the first time this season. A closer look, though, actually uncovered that Guardiola has never managed a City game without at least one injured player. Any hopes of ending that run, though, was hampered when Sergio Aguero picked up a new 'disturbance' in his knee on Saturday morning to rule him out against Burnley as a precaution.

So Guardiola's wait for a full complement of players goes on, although this game was a landmark in itself as he surpassed the 247 games he managed with Barcelona. This was his 248th game as City boss, with three points sealed in as characteristic a way as you could imagine from a Guardiola side. City were comfortable throughout, making their slick football overcome a physical, defensive opposition.

Mendy and Mahrez back with a mission

Benjamin Mendy has returned from injury like a man who knows his place is at risk. In Mendy's injury absence, Joao Cancelo looked to make the left-back spot his own, but Mendy has now put in two impressive performances in as many games to show Guardiola why he deserves the chance to finally lock down the position. In the last two games, Mendy has sent a reminder of the form that prompted Guardiola to sign him in the first place, and his well-taken debut goal for the club could be one of the most popular goals City have scored in a while.

As for Riyad Mahrez, that's another mature performance from a player left out of the squad to face Liverpool before the international break. Since then, he has five goals and an assist in 325 minutes since that blow, giving Guardiola no choice but to recall him.

De Bruyne back on track

Harry Kane looks to be a surprise contender to Kevin De Bruyne's Playmaker of the Year award - and possibly his Premier League assists record. But two first-half assists for the Belgian against Burnley took him to five in eight league appearances.

He's still four behind Kane, who has nine assists as Spurs have started well, but he remains on track to at least get close to his own record of 20 assists. Now he just needs Kane to slow down, but this was De Bruyne at his casual, brilliant best, as he dictated the play with ease.