The Manchester City players celebrate the fourth goal, an own goal by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian/NMC Pool

Liverpool were brought crashing down to earth with a thud as they kicked off life as the newly-crowned champions with an emphatic 4-0 defeat at the home of the team they have displaced at the summit of English football.

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City paid tribute to the side that wrestled the title from their grasp with a guard of honour ahead of kick off, before tearing Jurgen Klopp’s men to shreds with a clinical first half showing.

The magnificent Kevin De Bruyne was allowed far too much space to carve the visitors open with an exquisite repertoire of passing, and it was the Belgian who opened the scoring with a clinical spot kick on 25 minutes.

Raheem Sterling had won the penalty for the hosts when he was tugged back by Joe Gomez and he followed the assist up with a first league goal against his former club 10 minutes later to double the advantage.

De Bruyne then played in the impressive Phil Foden to make it three on the stroke of half time as Liverpool’s defending showed more than a few signs of a hangover from their title-winning celebrations.

The Reds had actually started brightly with Mohamed Salah striking the post when the game was still goalless. However, the visitors looked a shadow of the side that have taken the league by storm this term and conceded again past the hour when substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain diverted Sterling’s shot into his own net.

The defeat was only Liverpool’s second of the league campaign and means City cut the gap to the top to 20 points. The Merseysiders will now dust themselves down ahead of Sunday’s clash at home to Aston Villa as they continue their pursuit of the Premier League record points tally. City travel to Southampton.