Not too many years ago an exciting 2-2 draw against North-West giants Liverpool would have been a positive result for Manchester City and its supporters. However, after today’s stalemate at the Etihad Stadium the blue half of Manchester is staring down the wrong side of a nine point gap to city rivals Manchester United.
After United’s typically robust and professional performance down in the Capital at the picturesque Craven Cottage, City knew that nothing else but victory would keep them firmly in the title race. Having started off well with fox in the box Dzeko simply finishing past Pepe Reina after James Milner had whipped in an inviting cross it looked like City could press home the advantage and claim yet another home victory. However, Liverpool had other ideas, especially City old boy Daniel Sturridge, who fired home the equaliser half way through the first half from 20 yards. The young England international has looked hugely impressive and hungry since moving from Chelsea at the beginning of the January Window and todays performance was yet another feather in his cap (despite his inexcusable dive at the beginning of the second half).
After getting back on level terms Liverpool pressed forward throughout the second 45 and created a number of openings. They managed to take the lead in the 73rd minute, with captain Steven Gerard picking up the ball 25 yards from goal, setting himself up with a suburb first touch and lashing home past the diving Joe Hart. It was going to take something special for City to come back with only 15 minutes remaining and their attempt to break down the Liverpool defence, which has looked much stronger since the introduction of stalwart Jamie Carragher, was proving a hard task.
However, their persistence was regarded in the 80th minute when Sergio Aguero won a race for possession with keeper Reina outside the area before defying logic and finding the net from the most improbable of angles. From that point on it was anyone’s game with both sides chasing a winner, ultimately in vein.
The result leaves Liverpool 7th in the table, still to beat a top ten side this season. City will see this as a massive opportunity missed. No one will be willing to completely write off the champions just yet, who will be boosted with the news that Yaya and Kolo Toure are back next week from the ACoN’s, but the ball is firmly in United’s court.