City held 2-2 by Liverpool to dent EPL title hopes
(AP Photo/Jon Super)
MANCHESTER, England (AP) Sergio Aguero rescued Manchester City with a late goal in a 2-2 draw with Liverpool on Sunday, but two more dropped points further dented the champions' hopes of reeling in Manchester United in the Premier League title race.
Steven Gerrard's dipping volley in the 73rd minute looked like earning Liverpool all three points at the Etihad Stadium, only for Aguero to conjure up a stunning goal of his own from an acute angle six minutes later.
City had earlier seen Edin Dzeko's opening goal canceled out by a long-range strike by its former striker Daniel Sturridge.
United now holds a nine-point advantage over second-place City with 13 matches remaining, with the champions having dropped four points this week after a 0-0 draw at Queens Park Rangers on Tuesday.
Liverpool still hasn't beaten a team in the top half of the league this season but its lively front two of Sturridge and Suarez gave City's defense - still missing injured captain Vincent Komapny - all sorts of problems throughout.
Dzeko's 11th goal of the campaign came against the run of play, with David Silva releasing Milner with a short pass and the England midfielder crossing low for Dzeko to tap in from inside the six-yard box.
Dzeko also indirectly played a central role in Liverpool's goal. A tackle on him from behind by Daniel Agger went unpunished, sparking loud protestation from City players and fans.
Liverpool continued upfield and when Javi Garcia failed to clear, Sturridge collected a pass from Steven Gerrard and drilled a low shot from outside the area. Out of courtesy for his old club, which he left in 2009 after letting his contract run down, Sturridge didn't celebrate his goal.
City was far from comfortable and a defensive mix-up between Pablo Zabaleta and Hart almost saw the right back's back-pass creep into his own net. Instead, the ball rolled against the side-netting.
Liverpool also looked more dangerous in the second half, even more so when City went to three in defense in search of a winner.
Suarez curled a shot just wide before Gerrard chested down Gael Clichy's weak clearance and sent a looping volley from 30 yards (meters) into the bottom corner in the 73rd.
Aguero salvaged a draw by running onto Gareth Barry's cross, rounding goalkeeper Pepe Reina and finding the net, but it won't stop United celebrating.
Updated February 3, 2013