Draw Specialists City Hold Liverpool
Saturday 21st November 2009, 12.45pm
Liverpool and Manchester City went head-to-head in a bid to sort the men from the boys and determine which would be the side to snatch the much coveted fourth position.
The home side opened the scoring just five minutes after the restart after a goaless first-half, Martin Skrtyl toe-poking a Gerrard free-kick past Given at the near post.
City levelled through Adebayor before taking the lead themselves through a supurb move finished by Stephen Ireland.
Mark Hughes' side was celebrating for barely a minute before Yossi Benayoun put the Reds on level terms and earned Benitez another week of breathing space.
A point-a-piece will be of little reward for either side who desperately needed all three.
Liverpool stormed out of the blocks as they looked to establish themselves back in the top four against their closest premier league rivals.
In the fourth minute Liverpool won a free-kick courtesy of Dirk Kuyt going to ground very easily under a Gareth Barry challenge, Gerrard whipped it in and Skrtel`s subsequent header was spectacularly saved by City`s aggrieved Irish international keeper, Shay Given.
Agger was taken off due to a clash of heads during the set-piece as the visitors back four stood firm. City were now seeing more of the ball as the substitution disrupted Livepool`s flow.
The home side was becoming increasingly sloppy, giving the ball away far too easily, Wright -Phillips also guilty of the same offence for City on occasion.
In the 11th minute Barry somehow found himself in acres of space as he got in behind the Merseysiders back four, leaving his marker for dead. The England internationals soft header was beaten away by Jose Reina, shaky times for Liverpool`s makeshift defense.
Just two minutes later, Rafa Benitez was looking a worried man after Ryan Babel needed medical attention after clashing with team-mate Steven Gerrard.
Although the Dutchman played on, Benitez was forced to make his second substitution of the night after only 18 mins, the recently injured Benayoun his replacement.
Liverpool continued to press but City`s shape was resolute and there was no way through for the home side. Mark Hughes will have been happy that his side had weathered the early storm and were now looking to get a goal on the break.
In the 36th minute, a nice flowing move saw City`s best chance of the half. Stephen Ireland dummied the in swinging cross but Wright-Phillips` shot was sliced wide, a poor effort from the diminutive winger.
Half-time: Liverpool 0 Manchester City 0
More to follow...
Full-time: Liverpool 2 Manchester City 2
Goals: Skrtyl 50' Benayoun 77' (Liverpool) Adebayor 69' Ireland 76' (Manchester City)
Referee: Phil Dowd