Manchester City maintained their narrow lead at the Premier League summit as the tough clash with title rivals Liverpool ended in a thrilling 2-2 draw.
Evin De Bruyne gave the champions a fifth-minute lead at the Etihad Stadium but Diogo Jota equalized for the second-placed Reds eight minutes later.
Gabriel Jesus restored City’s advantage before the break but Sadio Mane marked his 30th birthday with a second equalizer for Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Raheem Sterling thought he had put City ahead for the third time against his former club but VAR ruled against him in a narrow decision for offside and substitute Riyad Mahrez hit the post late on.
The result ended Liverpool’s 10-game win in the league and left City a point clear with just seven games left of the season.
The much-touted competition lived up to expectations as the game started at a frenetic pace and barely let up.
City were the first to make their move when Jesus Sterling scored from a glorious chance in the opening minutes after a De Bruyne break.
Sterling seemed safe, but Alisson Becker came out to meet him and blocked his shot.
City didn’t linger on the miss as De Bruyne fired them forward just moments later.
The Belgian dodged a tackle from outside the box and hit a fierce shot that deflected off Joel Matip and hit the post.
Liverpool had seen little of the ball up to this point but their reaction was quick as they equalized immediately.
The Reds patiently built and Mohamed Salah spread the game wide to Andrew Robertson. The Scot selected Trent Alexander-Arnold with a deep cross at the far post and Jota’s first handball from the right-back was clinically shot home with the side foot.
City looked to hit back quickly as Jesus tested Alisson and Rodri had to deflect a try.
City goalkeeper Ederson then gave the home fans a scare when he stumbled trying to clear a back pass, but he scrambled back to sweep off the line while Jota lurked.
The hosts had another opportunity when Rodri headed over the goal from a free kick but John Stones couldn’t find the finish. De Bruyne and Joao Cancelo also had attempts to deflect wide, but Jesus restored City’s lead in the 36th minute.
The Brazilian got behind Liverpool’s defense when Cancelo whipped in a cross and deflected a shot past Alisson and off the bar. Sterling could have added a third soon after but failed to find a Phil Foden cross.
Jota missed a chance to equalize just before the break when he took too long to shoot and was dispossessed by Aymeric Laporte but Mane was more decisive after the restart.
Just 47 seconds of the second half had elapsed as Salah scored his fellow striker and Mane made no mistake.
Salah then nearly fielded Jota for another, but Ederson saved.
The advantage appeared to swing back into City’s path just after the hour when Sterling sped through to get home, but his celebrations were cut short when VAR narrowly ruled him offside.
The atmosphere was tense and soared even further when referee Anthony Taylor did not award Liverpool a corner despite a Salah shot that deflected a City defender.
City then almost rubbed salt in the wound when Jesus fired a shot into the side netting.
Both sides pressed to the end and Mahrez almost clinched victory when his long-range free-kick grazed the outside of the post. The Algerian had another chance in stoppage time but his attempted chip flew wide.
https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/premier-league/premier-league-title-race-remains-on-a-knife-edge-as-man-city-and-liverpool-play-out-thrilling-draw-41539633.html The Premier League title race remains in the balance as Man City and Liverpool play a thrilling draw