MAN CITY 2, LIVERPOOL 2
Manchester City lost more ground in the defence of their Barclays Premier League title after being held at home by Liverpool.
They remain in second spot but are now nine points adrift of their neighbours from the red half of Manchester with 13 league games left.
City manager Roberto Mancini refused to concede defeat in the race to retain their title.
He said: “The championship race is not over – absolutely not.
“Two years ago Chelsea won it when they were nine points behind and last season we recovered eight points with six games left.
“I think it only takes two games for the championship to repen. It is not over, though we will probably have to win all our remaining games, certainly 11 or 12.”
Mancini added he was disappointed with his side’s display saying they didn’t play well.
He conceded Liverpool were the better side in the opening period and overall a draw was the correct result.
And looking further ahead, Mancini said it is important they hang in and go into April’s derby with a deficit of no more than two or three points.
City once again found Liverpool, beaten at npower League One last Sunday in the FA Cup, troublesome opponents. They have registered only one win against the Merseysiders in their last seven matches.
In a pulsating game, Edin Dzeko put City ahead before Liverpool hit back through goals from Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard to snatch a 2-1 lead before Sergio Aguero rescued a point with a late leveller.
City would have gone ahead inside 60 seconds but for an athletic save from Pepe Reina to turn over a shot from David Silva.
Liverpool carved out two decent chances as Sturridge’s goal-bound shot was blocked by Pablo Zabaleta while Luis Suarez saw a drive flash narrowly wide.
City took the lead midway through the opening period when James Milner carved open the Liverpool defence before squaring the ball across the face of goal for Dzeko to fire home his 12th goal of the season from inside the six-yard box.
Liverpool equalised just short of the half hour with City fans calling for play to be halted after claims Dzeko had been fouled.
Referee Anthony Taylor waved play on and in the ensuing move Gerrard squared a pass for Sturridge to find the net with a low drive from outside the box low to the left of Joe Hart. It was the first goal City have conceded in 2013.
Liverpool could conceivably have snatched the lead at the end of the half when Zabaleta’s back pass beat Hart and rolled agonisingly wide while an angled shot from Suarez forced a diving save from City’s keeper.
The start to the second period remained as pulsating as the opening half, though neither side looked like seizing the advantage.
Suarez curled a shot narrowly wide for Liverpool while Gareth Barry’s header for City looped on to the roof of the net.
City were dealt a blow when Liverpool went ahead in the 73rd minute. Jose Enrique’s left-wing cross was only cleared as far as Gerrard who chested the ball down and walloped a half volley from 30 yards low to the right of Hart’s despairing dive.
Liverpool’s joy was short lived as five minutes later City made it 2-2 thanks to a piece of individual brilliance from Aguero.
Reina chased out of his box to try and clear the ball as Aguerro broke away. The striker beat the keeper to the ball and curled in a peach of a shot from the narrowest of angles, his 11th goal of the season.
Liverpool came close to snatching victory in the 90th minute when Sturridge’s shot from outside the box was well kept out by Hart.