LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Two days into the English Premier League season and there is a familiar sight at the top of the standings.
Manchester City began the defense of its title with a 2-0 away victory over Newcastle on Sunday, with star forwards David Silva and Sergio Aguero scoring at St. James' Park.
Liverpool — the runner-up last season — was less convincing against Southampton at Anfield but still took the three points, with Daniel Sturridge's 79th-minute goal clinching a 2-1 win in the team's first match of the post-Luis Suarez era.
Raheem Sterling put Liverpool ahead in the 23rd, but Brendan Rodgers' side struggled for fluency and Nathaniel Clyne deservedly equalized for Southampton in the 56th.
With Burnley-Chelsea wrapping up the first round of fixtures Monday, City is the only team to have won by more than a one-goal margin.
"We have talked to the squad about the two 'H's — hungry and humble," City manager Manuel Pellegrini said. "We need both if want to continue winning titles and improve on what we did last season."
Bidding for a third English league title in four years, City began the season in ominous fashion with a clean sheet and a professional performance, sprinkled with opportunistic goals.
Spain playmaker Silva raced on to an impudent back-heel from Edin Dzeko to open the scoring with a low finish in the 38th minute.
Newcastle applied pressure in the final 15 minutes, only for Aguero to add a second on a counter-attack in stoppage time, the Argentina striker slotting into the far corner after his first shot was parried out to him by goalkeeper Tim Krul.
Aguero came on as a late substitute along with Brazil midfielder Fernandinho, showing the strength in depth in the champions' squad after a low-key summer when Pellegrini has focused on bolstering his defense and midfield.
Chelsea is the favorite with British bookmakers after improving its attack by signing Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas, but City still could be the team to beat.
"We were brave and we went for it," Newcastle manager Alan Pardew said. "In the end, the quality won."