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Premier League: Manchester City 2 Liverpool 2

Manchester City lost ground in the title race after being held to a 2-2 draw by Liverpool in a thriller in the English Premier League on Sunday.

Two thunderbolt strikes in either half from Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard had cancelled out Edin Dzeko’s 23rd-minute opener.

But Sergio Aguero took advantage of a Pepe Reina mistake with 12 minutes left to score a brilliant equaliser from an almost impossible angle.

It leaves Roberto Mancini’s team, outplayed for much of the game, nine points behind pace-setters Manchester United after letting four points slip in five days.

Liverpool controlled the opening quarter of the match as they tried to take advantage of the absence of Vincent Kompany and Yaya Toure.

Only a wonderful block from Pablo Zabaleta stopped Sturridge giving the visitors the lead in the 14th minute following a Joe Hart misjudgement, while Luis Suarez was unable to take advantage of two clear sights of goal.

Against the run of play, City took the lead in the 23rd minute with a beautifully-worked counter-attack.

The home side worked some space on the left flank, James Milner drove the ball into the box and Dzeko tapped in his 11th league goal of the season.

There was an element of controversy to the equaliser five minutes later, even though Sturridge’s strike against his old club was delightfully struck.

City were furious referee Anthony Taylor had not stopped play when Dzeko fell down in a heap in the Liverpool half at the start of the move.

The goal – struck from outside the area – was the first City had conceded since the third of Norwich’s strikes in the seven-goal thriller at Carrow Road on December 29.

Going a goal ahead in the 73rd minute was the least Liverpool deserved.

Receiving the ball in a central area around 30 yards from goal, Gerrard controlled it with his chest and arrowed a magnificent strike low to Hart’s right.

It was vintage Gerrard and reward for an outstanding display by the skipper, who had also set up the opening goal.

The Englishman’s technique and impudence was soon matched by Aguero.

After Reina had rushed out of his goal to try and shepherd the Argentine away from danger, the striker took possession and finished from a near-impossible angle close to the by-line.

City finished the stronger of the two sides but Liverpool managed to hold on to claim their second straight 2-2 draw.

Sun 3 February, 2013
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