Quickfire goals from Gabriel Jesus and David Silva set up a comfortable 2-0 win for Manchester City over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park as the Premier League champions closed the gap on leaders Liverpool to five points.
With Jurgen Klopp's side not playing until Sunday, Pep Guardiola sought to keep up the pressure by making four changes after two City defeats in four league games.
Two of the newcomers, Bernardo Silva and Jesus, combined beautifully for the first which the Brazilian headed in off the post from close range on 39 minutes -- his 50th goal for the club.
City doubled their lead within 30 seconds of the restart when David Silva got on the end of a delightfully dinked pass from Raheem Sterling.
After the break, Palace keeper Wayne Hennessey excelled to keep out both Jesus and Bernardo Silva as Sterling continued to find space and City, with Kevin De Bruyne outstanding, looked capable of scoring with every move.
"Hopefully, we can start from here and continue our good performance," Guardiola said. "Their keeper made a lot of saves but hopefully we can be more clinical."
City's manager was delighted his makeshift centre-back pairing of Fernandinho and Rodri did not concede a goal.
"Our build-up was quicker because they have more intelligence and they pass the ball so well because they are central midfielders," he said.
Guradiola's defensive crisis has been eased by the return of John Stones, who played the final 10 minutes after recovering from his thigh injury.
Palace manager Roy Hodgson said: "I was proud of the way we kept going and didn't give up. We gave them as good a game as we were capable of."