Manchester United are nine points clear at the Premier League summit after unlucky Liverpool hold City.
Manchester City hit back to draw 2-2 at home to Liverpool in an exhilarating game but the result left Manchester United with a formidable nine-point lead at the top of the Premier League.
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After City old boy Daniel Sturridge cancelled out Edin Dzeko’s opener for the hosts, a 73rd-minute Steven Gerrard thunderbolt gave Liverpool a glimpse of victory, only for Sergio Aguero to level moments later.
While Liverpool can take heart from a bold display at the Etihad Stadium that followed their 2-2 draw at Arsenal in mid-week, City are left to contemplate the unenviable task of reeling in United.
“We didn’t play well. In the last month we played well in all the games, but we were so nervous in this game and I don’t know why,” said City manager Roberto Mancini, who refused to concede defeat in the title race.
“Is the title race over? No. Seven or nine points (deficit) don’t change. I think we can recover it,” he said.
Liverpool took the game to City in the early stages, with Pablo Zabaleta sliding in to thwart Sturridge after he had rounded Joe Hart and Luis Suarez shooting wide, but it was the hosts who took the lead in the 23rd minute.
David Silva found James Milner motoring down the left flank and his low cross was turned home from close range by Dzeko.
It was the Bosnian striker’s 11th league goal of the campaign but he was to play an unwitting role in Liverpool’s equaliser six minutes later.
Believing he had been fouled by Daniel Agger, Dzeko stayed down on the pitch but play continued and a Liverpool attack culminated in Sturridge beating Hart with a crisp low strike to peg back his former club.
Gerrard put Liverpool ahead with the kind of goal upon which he has built his reputation, chesting down a high ball 30 yards out and letting rip with a stunning half-volley that flashed past Hart into the bottom-left corner.
It was fitting reward for the visitors’ enterprise, but a rush of blood to the head from Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina helped Aguero to equalise just five minutes later.
The Spaniard raced out to the left-hand edge of his area to challenge the City striker but Aguero neatly eluded him before brilliantly curving a shot into the empty net from a prohibitive angle.
“It should have been a win for ourselves,” said Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers.
“I thought we played terrific and were the dominant team. We scored two wonderful goals and I am disappointed with the goals we conceded.”
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