Manchester City failed to win for only a second time in soccer’s Premier League this season, tying 1-1 at Liverpool to take a five-point lead in the standings.
Vincent Kompany gave City a 31st-minute lead at Anfield yesterday, with an own goal from Joleon Lescott two minutes later ensuring that both teams got a point. City striker Mario Balotelli was dismissed in the 83rd minute after receiving two yellow cards.
“Fortunate for us we got the equalizer as soon as we did, it kept our spirits up,” Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish told Sky Sports. “We tried our very best to win it but we couldn’t get it over the line.”
City, which remains unbeaten in the league, has 35 points, Manchester United 30, Tottenham 28, Newcastle 26, with Chelsea on 25. Liverpool is another point back in sixth spot, with Arsenal on 23.
In yesterday’s other match, Swansea drew 0-0 at home to Aston Villa.
At Anfield, City captain Kompany made the breakthrough as he headed into the net from a David Silva corner.
Liverpool, though, was level soon after. A clearance by Kompany was intercepted by Dirk Kuyt who set up Charlie Adam for a long-range shot. City’s Joleon Lescott inadvertently deflected it away from goalkeeper Joe Hart and into the bottom corner.
The Reds had a period of pressure as they looked for a second goal and Hart managed to stop another effort by Adam with an outstretched foot as he dived the other way.
Fullback Glen Johnson curled a shot just wide, then at the other end Sergio Aguero was denied by a block from Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina.
Both teams had chances in the second half, with Hart making a number of saves to maintain City’s unbeaten run, especially in the closing stages as the visitors were down to 10 men.
Balotelli, a substitute during the second half, was first booked for pulling back Johnson. He then caught Martin Skrtel in the face with a flailing arm to earn a second yellow card.
The Italian striker had words with his manager as he walked off the field but was backed by Roberto Mancini after the match.
“He is young, I think he was disappointed for the yellow card,” Mancini told Sky Sports. “For me the second was not a yellow card.”
Liverpool pressed for a winning goal. Hart blocked from Suarez late on, then produced a one-handed save to keep an Andy Carroll header out of the net.
City also had a late chance, with Silva managing to get past Reina only to see an effort blocked on the line by Skrtel.
“Manchester City are a top side and have top players and we knew it would be difficult,” Adam told Sky Sports. “But we stuck to our guns and we played well.”
Swansea and Villa both climbed the standings after a scoreless draw at the Liberty Stadium.
Villa rose two spots to eighth, ahead of Everton on goals scored and Norwich on goal difference, with Swansea up one place to 13th, ahead of West Bromwich Albion on goal difference.
Two days ago, Manchester United was held to a 1-1 draw by Newcastle, Tottenham won 3-1 at West Brom, Chelsea beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-0, and Arsenal drew 1-1 against Fulham.
Wigan beat Sunderland 2-1, Stoke defeated Blackburn 3-1, Norwich won 2-1 against Queens Park Rangers, and Everton won 2-0 at Bolton.